School Committee candidate profile: Shannon Jenkins
When Cushman Elementary School closed in 2007 after a failed override vote, Shannon Jenkins knew she wanted to get involved in town politics.
With a career in education, a family of teachers, and school-age kids of her own - Quinlan and Berkley Roscoe - she first volunteered on budget and policy subcommittees. After a stint on the Finance Committee, she was appointed to the School Committee in 2014, and won her first election in 2015.
“Given that I teach classes on education policy and state and local government, I have a certain degree of expertise in this area,” Jenkins said. “I think I have some skills from my professional life I can bring to bear on the questions that we deal with here on the School Committee.”
She said her top accomplishment is moving the district forward despite limited state aid. Other accomplishments she highlighted include exploring alternative funding sources like the School Choice program, bringing iSTEM and new technology teachers to elementary schools, and the new high school schedule which provides more educational pathways.
“We’ve had to be creative and look for ways to support new endeavors because we are a fairly low-tax community,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins' goal is to keep the momentum going amid challenging financial times, as new growth and revenue are slowing down. She also hopes to address aging school buildings.
“They’re aging and they are not 21st century learning spaces,” Jenkins said. “We have a master plan, so we need to figure out ways to get the community on board with that.”
Jenkins is chair of UMass Dartmouth’s political science department and a professor.