Much of my time these days is spent prying information from the tight grip of the Timberlane School District. On March 11, 2014, I was elected to serve as a member of the Timberlane Regional School Board to represent Sandown, NH. While I very much value education for personal enrichment and the general good of the country, numerous home renovations have taught me that money does not necessarily buy quality. Unfortunately too many people in education believe money fixes problems when sound management responsive to parents and transparent to the public is the solution.
My fight for Timberlane budget and salary information led all the way to the state Supreme Court. On April 19, 2016 I won a Right to Know case in the New Hampshire Supreme Court against SAU 55 and the Timberlane School District. Because of this case, public bodies in New Hampshire must now provide public information in useful electronic form if it is requested and so available.
Recognizing the importance of this decision to the citizens of New Hampshire and their ability to effectively petition their government for grievances, the Nackey Loeb School of Communications bestowed on me their First Amendment Award in November 2016. I was proud to share 2016’s award with David Pearl, a Right to Know advocate who passed away suddenly in 2016. The New England First Amendment Coalition bestowed on me their Antonia Orfield Citizenship award in February 2017 in recognition of attorney Richard Lehmann’s successful action on my behalf in Green v. SAU 55, et al.
My experiences with SAU55 and my fellow board and budget committee members spurred me to found, with my husband, Arthur, and a group of committed others, the School District Governance Association of New Hampshire. We began in August 2016 and announced ourselves to the world in December 2016. Our aim is to be an independent resource devoted entirely to educating and empowering elected school district officials to assert their lawful authority and be responsive to their electorate.
The people of Sandown re-elected me to the school board in March 2015 following a heated and closely contested race. In August 2014, I was honored to be awarded the title of Sandown Citizen of the Year (2014) for my public service. (Thank you to the kind and appreciative people of Sandown! The sash is fabulous!) Four months later, the New Hampshire Press Association awarded this blog a Better Media Award for best blog in the non-daily category. It is a most appreciated award from a group of professional journalists.
Before being elected to the School Board, I served on the Timberlane School District Budget Committee (from 3/2012), service which was preceded by four years on the Sandown Planning Board. The Sandown Zoning Board of Adjustments graciously accepted my contribution as an alternate from 2012 to September 2015.
I was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and raised in Tiverton, R.I. My husband, Arthur, and I met while attending McGill University. We were married in Winnipeg where I earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba. After 13 years of arctic winters and Northern Lights, we moved to Oakville, Ontario where we raised three accomplished children, saw them off, changed the locks on the doors then moved to New Hampshire in 2007, just to be sure. Somewhere in between, I was a financial planner and a very busy personal finance freelance writer. My most recent book, not all that recent anymore, is Dream Job Profiles, a non-fiction title for young adults published by what was then Houghton Mifflin – proving that education is no impediment to a dream job , and that a good book can be sunk by a struggling publisher.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.” I firmly believe that participation in local politics is a duty of citizens who are able, except, perhaps, for those who disagree with me.
My opinions on this blog are fully my own and are no indication of the opinions of the school board, the school district, the School Administrative Unit (SAU55), or SDGA NH.
- Here is a video by Brendan McQuaid to introduce me at the Nackey Loeb First Amendment Awards evening:
- The NH Supreme Court’s unanimous decision can be read here: Green Wins Supreme Court Case
- The oral arguments at the Supreme Court took place on Jan. 7, 2016. You can hear the arguments by going to the NH Supreme Court’s website and scrolling down to Jan. 7, 2016 Donna Green v. School Administrative Unit #55 (http://www.courts.nh.gov/cstream/index.asp)
- My acceptance speech for the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award kindly bestowed by the New England First Amendment Coalition is here:
- In August, 2014 the Timberlane Regional School Board’s censured me solely for the opinions I expressed on this blog. You can watch the Chairman, Nancy Steenson, read the letter of censure and then see my response.
- The entire story of Timberlane’s inglorious action in censuring me can be found in the August 2014 archives on this blog.