If we haven’t already met, my name is Erin West Earle, and I’m a candidate for North Kingstown School Committee. I’m a mom of two school-aged children who attend Forest Park and Fishing Cove Elementary. I grew up in North Kingstown, attended Quidnessett Elementary and Davisville Middle School, and proudly graduated from North Kingstown High School.
I will never forget the first school committee meeting I attended last year. My oldest had just started in-person learning for the first grade, and I wanted to be informed about what was happening with the schools, so I headed to the high school auditorium after a long day of work at URI. As the meeting progressed, I became saddened by the overall frustration of those in the room and dismayed by the challenges facing the district.
Honestly, it was uncomfortable to sit through that meeting (and many to follow) and even a little intense. For some, a meeting like that might deter them from ever returning, but I went home convinced that I had to do something to help and have regularly attended the meetings since then. Although it would be months before I decided to run for School Committee, I knew my professional background could be an asset in giving back and helping my hometown.
For over fifteen years, I have worked in public higher education serving Rhode Island students and families. As a leader at a publicly funded institution, I understand the nuances and challenges of working in a complex system governed by many policies and procedures. Often, my role requires bringing people together to ensure varied interests are heard. I also confirm that data is utilized in decision-making so that students and their families are supported. If elected, my educational background, years of professional experience, doctorate in educational leadership, and collaborative leadership style will help me be an effective member of the School Committee.
My professional accomplishments and the lessons I have learned working on them make me well-suited to help North Kingstown School Department at this exact moment. North Kingstown is searching for new administrators, including a new superintendent. I have been on search committees for educational leadership and have worked with search firms. A new educational facility is needed to replace our aging middle schools. I oversaw the design and construction of a new facility at URI, working closely with the architects and builders to ensure we came in on time and on budget. NKSD needs to take the results from its equity audit and determine actions that need to be taken. I was on the committee that oversaw URI’s Campus Climate Survey and know how to transform data into action. North Kingstown will be negotiating a new contract for its teachers. I formerly served on the leadership team of a professional education union and understand the importance of a mutually beneficial contract. These past experiences and many more will allow me to be an effective and efficient member of the school committee.
My newcomer status to local politics and my longstanding history with our beautiful town allows me to have a fresh but informed perspective. I am not running for the school committee to maintain the status quo. Some changes need to be made to allow our schools to thrive. As I have been going door to door in our town, listening to the residents of North Kingstown, I am hearing stories of opportunities for improvements alongside stories of amazing things happening in our schools. I am committed to working with the administrators and teachers to improve areas that need change while maintaining the amazing things that result in award-winning schools. I am also committed to listening to our biggest stakeholders- the students. My life work has been dedicated to serving students and setting them up for success. I would bring this passion and energy to my work on the school committee as I work alongside the other elected officials to establish a vision for the future of NKSD schools.
As parents, guardians, and supporters of school-age children, we all want our students to feel safe at school. This means being able to drop them off at school feeling confident they are in the care of dedicated teachers and administrators. It is vital that our teachers feel valued and can connect with struggling students. Administrators must listen and take action when issues arise. It is necessary for our school district to meet students where they are to provide them with the support and rigor needed to grow into their best selves.
Good schools benefit an entire community, and students make memories and friendships they will hold with them for the rest of their lives. We must provide every opportunity for our children to reflect on their time at NK schools and know they received an excellent education in a town that cared about them. I want to work toward building a school district we can be proud of not just for academic achievement but also for our amazing athletic games, captivating music and theatre productions, and art exhibits. I am committed to supporting our school and helping our town restore its educational reputation.
On November 8th, I hope to earn your vote.
With NK Pride,
Erin West Earle
PS. Early voting has begun. You can now vote at Town Hall (100 Fairway Dr, North Kingstown, RI 02852) through November 7th or on November 8th at your assigned polling location. Find voter information and your polling place at erin4nk.com/voter-information.
William S. Neal Award
Distinguished Member Award
Diversity Inclusion Excellence Staff Award,URI
My name is Erin West Earle. I am a born and bred North Kingstown resident who personally experienced our public school district. When it was time to purchase a home as our children were approaching elementary school age, we told our real estate agent to only look in this town. Now as the proud mom of a first grader and pre-k student, watching them start their own educational journeys with the amazing faculty, staff, nurses, and administrators at Forest Park and Fishing Cove Elementary, I am even more confident we have made the right choice.
The importance of education was ingrained in me at a young age. Being a daughter and daughter-in-law to educators, I have a deep respect and admiration for K-12 teachers. My formative years were influenced by witnessing my mother's career in special education in the North Kingstown School district, as I saw firsthand the critical impact of individual educational plans on a child's learning outcomes. I have also witnessed the result of tragedy from gun violence through my mother-in-law's time spent in the Newtown School District in CT and the need for school safety. These close relationships with teachers have led me to be very passionate about ensuring all students have the opportunity to be successful at school, and our responsibility to create a safe environment.
The entirety of my eighteen-year career has been spent serving the citizens of Rhode Island at the University of Rhode Island (a proud Rhody Ram!) As an educator at a public higher education institution, I have seen the immense influence a strong K-12 education can have on a person. I am very familiar with leading complex bureaucratic systems that impact policies, budgets, purchasing, and personnel. I have experience with employee unions and the NEARI. I also have knowledge of what it takes to create successful capital projects and build academic facilities as a lead for such construction at URI.
As a lifelong resident of North Kingstown, public education provided me with the foundation and pillars of who I am today. Starting with a childhood spent at Quidnessett Elementary and Davisville Middle Schools and later young adulthood at North Kingstown High School I have experienced all aspects of what this town has to offer its students. Below are a couple of fun (and a little embarrassing) pictures from my school years.