Meet Lynne Turner
The race is on for two open seats on the Dartmouth School Committee, and five local residents have declared their candidacy for the posts. Among those running is Lynne Turner, a second-time candidate and former elementary school teacher.
Turner ran for the first time last year, supporting the Dartmouth Indian logo while campaigning against mask and vaccine mandates as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in their current form. She ultimately lost to incumbents Chris Oliver and John Nunes.
Turner has a degree in education from New Mexico State University and has experience as an elementary school teacher in both New Mexico and in Westport. She has also been a soccer and tennis coach and Cub Scout leader.
This time around, Turner’s top priorities include advocating for more robust personal finance classes for high school students, a factual and unbiased curriculum, and greater transparency for parents and taxpayers.
“We really need to be careful as educators not to be projecting our own bias on the children,” she said, advocating for the use of sources such as Allsides.com, which brings together articles from both left- and right-leaning news organizations.
In her vision for more transparent schools, Turner explained, the district would make parents aware of, and allow them to weigh-in on, anything that “might conflict with their backgrounds or belief systems” — including the books available at school libraries.
“Parents need to feel comfortable with their students going to learn at school,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to worry that they’re going to fall into something that is inappropriate in their mind.”
In terms of the greatest challenges facing the district, Turner cited bullying, Covid-related learning loss, depression in students, and striking teachers.
Her prescriptions for solving these issues include creating positive learning environments and increasing school spirit in the wake of last year’s debate around the Indian logo, as well as reinforcing basic education.
On the subject of teacher pay, she advocated for better compensation but said she would not support raising taxes to make it happen. Instead, she argued the money could be found through “smart budgeting” and, potentially, through the creation of an “insurance consortium,” which would allow teachers from Dartmouth and other towns would negotiate insurance rates collectively to try and get a better rate.
Turner said that, given the challenges that lie ahead, she is the best person for the job because she is the only candidate with a teaching background, has had five kids go through Dartmouth Schools, and is a “common-sense candidate.”