FM - What is your Franklin story?
Bergen – My story begins 41 years ago when I started teaching at Davis Thayer. I began as a sixth grade teacher, then reading specialist, and finally as principal for about 13 years. I was asked to move to what was then Franklin Junior High School and transform it into a middle school, making it more developmentally appropriate for students at that age. It was the first of the three middle schools we have now.
I was involved with the renovation at Horace Mann and at the same time began planning for the Annie Sullivan Middle School. I opened that school as its first principal. We stayed there longer than planned as the renovation at Horace Mann was delayed. My time at the middle level spanned 16 rewarding and challenging years. In that time I also taught graduate level courses and spoke at many educational conferences.
I retired not to leave education, but to find new challenges. Shortly after retirement, the superintendent asked me to be the acting head of the English Department at Franklin High School. In the six months there, I was able to visit classrooms, talk with students and teachers and learn more about the high school curriculum.
After that, I joined the board of directors of our local cable access television station. I created and am hosting two shows. One show’s purpose is to increase public awareness about the innovative and creative initiatives in our schools. The public needs to know how we are spending tax dollars, that we are worth investing in! The focus of the second program, “It Takes a Village….” is on how we can come together as community members to guide our young people to lives of meaning and purpose. The latest series of programs has focused on the opioid crisis.
I moved to Franklin 25 years ago because I wanted my daughter to attend the Franklin Public Schools. It was a great decision.
FM - What do you see as the challenge(s) for the School Committee?
Bergen – I believe that all public schools are facing the same challenge. Keeping testing in proper perspective. Testing does serve a purpose, highlighting student strengths and weaknesses, to inform instruction. But when testing takes on too much importance, we tend to neglect all that isn’t tested: the lessons of history, art, music, health and fitness. Tests don’t measure potential, grit, work ethic, humor and emotional intelligence.
As evidenced by the substance abuse crisis, there are too many young people who are struggling to find their way. Our challenge is to use our resources to address not only the academic needs but also the social and emotional needs of our students. We need to find the right balance as we create our mission and vision for our schools.
FM - What do you bring to the position that would set you apart from the other candidates?
Bergen – Because I have worked at every level (K-12), I am able to see issues from the perspective of the students parents, educators and community members. I have hired staff, developed budgets, implemented policy, dealt with safety issues and managed facilities.
In the last two years I have been writing about and speaking to parents and teachers about the latest research on motivation, learning and achievement. The expertise I have gained in this area may help to inform my work on the school committee.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity of serving this community which has given so much to me.
If you have any follow up questions for Anne, you can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Noteworthy: This information is intended to help the Franklin voters when we all head to the ballot box on November 3rd. The interview candidates have had an opportunity to review the text before publishing to ensure the accuracy of our discussion.
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