WESTERLY — Mary Mercurio Adams is one of four candidates vying to fill three seats on Westerly’s School Committee.
Adams is a familiar face at School Committee meetings, and is a member of the policy subcommittee. She ran for a committee seat in 2012 and currently is running as an unaffiliated candidate.
Adams wants to join the committee because, she said, she’s willing to boldly advocate for Westerly’s students.
“I ask questions, expect answers and have the will to make decisions that put the students in our community first,” she said. “I can immediately contribute to the major initiatives currently before the committee while exercising respect for the funding resources provided by Westerly taxpayers.”
Adams, 54, who owns a screen printing business, said the most pressing issue facing the committee is securing funding from the state for the redesign of the town’s elementary schools.
She said she supports the plan recently selected by the School Committee, which would move fifth-graders from the middle school to State Street School. That plan best serves students and their families, she said.
“I will strongly advocate for maximum financial reimbursements allowed by state law to ensure Westerly’s schools are equipped for the future,” she said.
Adams also said she’s ready to dive into the district’s budget process. A close watcher of school budgets, Adams said administrators and the committee finally have reliable data to analyze spending.
“It is essential to have elected officials willing to take an in-depth look at this data to be sure school spending is serving the best interest of students,” she said. “The funding must make its way into the classroom in the form of supplies, technology, equipment and staff training, with the expectation of meaningful results and gains in student outcomes.”
The schools also must assess what class choices are available to students before they head to college or into the working world, she added.
She called for curriculum offerings to be “rigorous, relevant, and add value to their adult lives.”
“Quality instructors, student engagement and respect for a student’s selected course of study are crucial components of a student’s long-term success,” she said. “Westerly Public Schools must be relentless in its pursuit to prepare all students for the next stage of their lives and be unwilling to settle for anything that falls short of that responsibility.”
In addition to her educational interests, Adams has been active in the League of Women Voters of South County, and was the Bricks and Murals housing coordinator and a WARM Center volunteer.