The purpose of this letter is to provide people with specific examples to illustrate the public school service that Dr. Marianne Nardone brings with her as a candidate for the Westerly School Committee. From first grade teacher to assistant superintendent of schools, Dr. Nardone has the necessary background to provide insights into the decision-making process that will help the town provide the best possible education for its students.
As I write this letter, I can recall, as an elementary schoolteacher, how approachable Dr. Nardone was when I worked under her administration. One day, while teaching my third-grade class, I remember calling her office in a panic because some disturbing symptoms of a recurring health issue had returned. Within moments, Marianne was in my classroom, telling me to go to the doctor, while she stayed with my students. In later years, our paths crossed again when she became principal of the school where I taught during the last 17 years of my career. Dr. Nardone was my principal for 14 of those years. During that time, I was able to see the warmth with which she embraced students and families from varying backgrounds. Our school was well known for its incredible attendance and parent involvement at PTO meetings. Under Dr. Nardone, we began to start the school year with Open House as a meet-and-greet in the classrooms, followed by a potluck supper in the gym. We are still amazed recalling that one child had 17 family members attending that event! We always had hundreds of people at our monthly PTO meetings.
In addition, Dr. Nardone enjoyed helping students understand the importance of trying your best no matter what your ability. During our annual award ceremony in June, she would bring out her own childhood memory box. She would talk about not being strong in every subject, but cherishing an award she had received when she tried really hard and exceeded her own expectations. Her office door was always open to parents with their concerns, and she even made home visits with teachers when parents were unable to make it in for a conference at the school. It was under the direction of Dr. Nardone, and due to her connection with the mayor of the city, that the Read to Ride program was initiated. The mayor himself donated the first bikes earned by students who were reading every night as part of their homework. That program has grown and continues to inspire young readers to READ, READ, READ.
In closing, I hope this letter has helped you understand the breadth of experience that will benefit Westerly if Dr. Marianne Nardone receives your support in the coming election.