FALMOUTH — Three people are running for a trio of unchallenged seats on the School Board – including a pair of residents who are campaigning together as write-in candidates.

Jennifer Libby returned papers for one of three vacancies on the board, while Matthew Pines and Chris Hickey are working as a team on their write-in campaigns to help the town avoid a special election and aid the schools as they respond to the pandemic.

Chairwoman Danielle Tracy and incumbents Julie Fraser and Julia Lucas decided not to run. The election will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 14 at the Falmouth High School.

Libby, who is a teacher, describes herself as student-focused and wants to advocate for the needs of both students and teachers. 

“I have a passion for education and a unique understanding of what teachers need, especially with these drastic changes in the educational landscape right now,” Libby said.

Libby, who served on the School Board from 2016-19, took a year off as her children were in middle and high school, but said she is now ready to return to the board and continue working.

“The Intercultural Awareness and Inclusion Committee was something I really enjoyed working on, especially where Falmouth is over 91% white. I was thinking, ‘How do we prepare our students for a global future that doesn’t look like Falmouth?'” Libby said. 

Libby also wants to make sure the students are well adjusted as they return from distanced learning.

“We will see social and emotional needs from students that’ll be increased like we’ve never seen,” she said. “Navigating the response to COVID-19 will be ongoing.”

Libby also hopes to develop an alumni network to connect with students and bring the adults’ “expertise back into the area.”

I have a strong work ethic which is centered on volunteerism. I understand other people’s point of view,” Libby said. “We may not always agree, but I am going to listen and hear what other people say and I love when someone can change my thoughtsI’m always learning and the board offers perpetual growth.”

Hickey and Pines, who said their focus is on school facilities and economics, respectively, are running as a team to fill the vacancies that remained after Libby was the only one to pull papers.

“We all talk about how great the schools are, but we need to make sure those kindergartners coming in in the future are still having those excellent schools,” Hickey said. “We need to be adaptable, forward thinking and understanding that our decisions will affect these students.”

“The schools are going to have a tough time with coming back from the pandemic, so it’s a bad time to have those empty seats on the board,” Pines said. “It also makes sense to run now; my son is entering fourth grade. For his sake and his classmates’ sake I want to make sure Falmouth schools stay the pacesetter in the state.” 

Pines and Hickey believe they make a good team because they have different specialties and would bring a “fresh perspective to the board,” Hickey said.

“Matt has a strong background in education and he’s interested in the policy side of things. For me, my background to this point professionally and with the town has been land use, and I’m interested in conversations on the facility side,” Hickey said. “There’s a risk as a write-in you could be misunderstood as a sub-par candidate, so running as a team also blends some more seriousness into it.”

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