HOPKINTON — Lisa Macaruso is taking a nonconventional route back to the Chariho School Committee, through a write-in campaign.
Macaruso is one of three Hopkinton candidates for the regional school committee, which includes representatives from Richmond and Charlestown as well. She is unaffiliated and because of a missed deadline is running as a write-in candidate.
The candidate, who is the assistant director of disability services at the University of Rhode Island, said she wasn’t able to leave her job during work hours to personally file the campaign papers that were required for her to appear on the ballot.
Hopkinton has three open seats, with only two candidates listed on the ballot: Republican George Abbott and Sylvia Stanley, who is unaffiliated.
Macaruso and Stanley are incumbents on the School Committee.
“I’ve been encouraged by multiple constituents to pursue the write-in campaign,” she said. “There’s a lot of support and encouragement to do that.”
Barring a last-minute write-in challenger who might gain momentum, Macaruso seems poised to return to the committee.
As chairwoman of the RYSE Building Committee (Reaching Youth through Support and Education), which steered construction of Chariho’s new Alternative Learning Academy, Macaruso said she’s “comfortable bringing multiple stakeholders to the table to have really difficult conversations and compromise.”
“I was really able to see firsthand how elected officials, school administrators and taxpayers can work together for the benefit of our most vulnerable students, which is my heartsong,” she said. “I know what can be done in our community when there’s a unified voice.”
Macaruso, 39, has twin daughters in the middle school. She is a member of the safety teams at Chariho Middle School and Ashaway Elementary School. She’s also the School Committee liaison to the Special Education Advisory Committee, Transportation Subcommittee and Superintendent’s Goals Committee.
Having helped to steer and oversee a large capital construction project, Macaruso said it’s a good time to turn more attention to the mental health and wellness of students.
“That’s including things like bullying, mental health disorders, even down to bus rides and what set our students up for a successful day,” she said.
Macaruso also wants to take a comprehensive look at the district’s transportation system: “Both the costs and the transition it provides for our students’ mental health and safety.”
Her “pie-in-the-sky” goal would be to strengthen programs such as swimming, cross-country and performing arts, she said.
“The whole idea of encouraging students toward programs that have less risk for concussive injuries is something that, in four years’ time, I’d like to look into,” she said.
Macaruso is proud of where Chariho’s students are academically, and wants that to continue.
“Many of our schools are commended, among the top in the state,” she said. “Globally speaking, we’re doing an outstanding job of educating.”