Aida Neary is the current Vice Chair of the Newport School Committee, the Assistant Director of the Office of International Programs in charge of International Students & Exchange Partners at Salve Regina University, and mother to two children who attend Newport public schools. In 2018, as a first-time candidate, Aida was the top vote-getter in the Newport School Committee race. Her focus is on serving the children of Newport as her primary constituency and improving the future of Newport’s schools. She has advocated strongly for the passage of Newport’s school bond because she knows that investing in schools means investments in Newport’s future.
I grew up in Newport and graduated from Rogers High School in 1981. My wife Karen Conway and I moved to Newport in 2010, after Karen fell in love with the city. We have two children, one of whom will be a 7th grader at Thompson and another who will be a 9 th grader at Rogers, this fall. I support the bond for a number of reasons. The most important, even though it is a cliché, is that investing in all our children is one of the most important responsibilities we have as a community. It is critical that every child receive the best, most well rounded and flexible education possible, and having kids in a broken down, obsolete building is a disgrace. We owe it to our children and ourselves as community to fix this. We endlessly tell our children how important it is “to get a good education”. Indeed, working for an international company that is aggressive, fast paced and demanding, I see firsthand how important it is for people to be able to think, be creative, work collaboratively in teams and solve problems in a variety of ways. It is also hyper-competitive and merciless. As we move along deeper into the 21 st century young adults will need all the skills they can acquire if they are to thrive. Therefore, it is paramount we have a high school that begins to prepare our children for the world as it will be, and not as it was in 1957.
Amy currently serves on the board of the Newport Public Education Foundation. She is the mother of a Thompson Middle schooler and the daughter of two retired public school teachers. Amy is an IT analyst, focusing on printing and packaging technologies. In her spare time, Amy plays tennis at the Hall of Fame and designs/sews cross-stitch projects for her friends.
Kendra Muenter, Kendra is a 28 year resident of Newport. Originally from Pennsylvania, like many, Kendra fell in love with Newport and knew this was the city she wanted to make her life in. She serves on the School Building Committee, was past co-President of the Pell PTO and is the current president of the Thompson Middle School PTO. Kendra lives in Newport with her husband Mark, their daughter Grace and dog Bear.
This bond sends a clear message to young parents of all backgrounds that Newport is still a wonderful place for your kids to grow up. The opportunity to raise a child in a safe, high quality learning environment that embraces diversity is a treasure that is increasingly rare. It is not unreasonable as a community to recognize and appreciate all of the merits of regionalization, while also accepting that it has no immediate potential as a politically viable option. The Newport Public School community has nothing to gain from passing up this opportunity to wait for a partner. In a few short years, Newport will be a community with a resurgent primary and secondary education program, or just another Coastal New England summer playground with accelerating socioeconomic disparity and no public high school. This is the very real choice before us.
Peter Gee is a Thompson Middle School student who loves to read, draw, and play soccer. He has lots of big dreams for his future. Jennifer Gee is his proud mom. She is also a committed PTO Board member, a local small business owner, and has called Newport “home” for 25 years. Jennifer was a teacher in the DC Public Schools and holds an MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Catholic University.
October 4: Voter registration deadline for the November 3 election (go to vote.ri.gov to check your voter registration)
October 13: Mail Ballot application due for the November 3 election
October 14 – November 2: Emergency voting period
November 3: Election Day