NORTH SMITHFIELD – Chris Simpkins, a candidate for the North Smithfield School Committee, outlined his reasons for running and commitment to the district as a parent of two boys who attend North Smithfield Middle School.
“Being deeply involved with our school community through scouts, youth sports and other extracurriculars has helped me to understand that we have a pretty great school system, but we also face some opportunities for improvement,” Simpkins said.
“My children have grown up in an evolving school district through challenging and uncertain times. Having started in pre-school at the elementary school, my older son was in the last class at Halliwell, the first class of fifth graders at the middle school, and now looks forward to attending the high school as a freshman next year.”
“They both experienced the COVID years, virtual learning, and the unfortunate new reality of lockdown drills.Through all of this, we were fortunate to have a school committee that cooperates and puts the kids first. I applaud them for taking common sense measures to keep our schools operating safely through unprecedented pandemic related challenges, for being proactive in difficult situations, and for working collaboratively with the Town Council to keep our schools funded appropriately. As a school committee member, my hope is to continue building on that work and to help our students get back on track after the hardships imposed by the pandemic over the last two years.”
“My campaign can be boiled down to one word – support. Support for our children and a post-pandemic return to academic excellence through increased social and emotional resources. Support for marginalized students through a focus on individualized learning and stronger policies on bullying. Support for additional Career & Technical Education opportunities. Support for parents through open discussions and new engagement channels. Support for our exceptional teachers, administration and staff through appropriate funding, responsible budgeting, and out of the box thinking. Support for smooth governance through teamwork.”
“As increasingly negative and divisive discourse has emerged, it’s more important than ever that we stay
focused on what really matters – providing our kids with a quality education and giving them the support they need to succeed. We can’t do that unless we have some basic respect for each other and a willingness to have honest conversations.”
“I started my professional career 20 years ago when I built RIScholarships.com with the Rhode Island
Student Loan Authority, a non-profit agency. It was the first local website that helped students afford college by matching them up with scholarship opportunities. I still believe strongly in that mission of providing kids with opportunities to advance – through higher education, vocational training, or by fostering other interests.”
“Throughout my career, I worked with a number of area colleges, helping to discover data management
efficiencies and solutions to their administrative challenges.”
“As vice chairman of the Halliwell Review Committee, I helped to spearhead a unique process of community involvement and would like to see more opportunities for meaningful engagement and open dialogue at all levels of local government.”
“Currently, I lead an international team of employees and contractors as the Chief Product Architect for a media research company based in Massachusetts. I understand the importance of relationship building, and the challenges of contracts and negotiations.”
“Families are more tuned in than ever before and it’s important that they feel both heard and reassured that their children are in good hands. With two boys in our schools, I’m invested in our district’s success. I’m ready to put in the hard work the position demands, ready to listen to and consider all opinions, and ready to make sure that North Smithfield continues to be an educational leader in Rhode Island.”