Editor’s Note: Per the SOURCE election policy, each candidate is allowed to submit an announcement in their own words for the election. Town of Ashland election is May 16. (photo also submitted to SOURCE).
ASHLAND _ My name is Claudia Bennett and I am running for the Ashland Select Board.
I am a wife, mother and Mimi (grandmother). When I met my husband Dick Bennett, I learned of a family with Ashland roots that reach back over 160 years. It was soon clear to me that Ashland would become my hometown too. And so it is here that we grew our family. It is here that we have raised our two daughters and where they have both married and brought their Framingham boys to Ashland to grow their families. So far, I have two grandchildren who are benefitting from an education in the Ashland Public Schools. Ashland is just one of those special places it is easy to call home for so many reasons.
Like many others, perhaps often mothers, I built my community connections by volunteering in and on behalf of our schools. I started with the simple things like classroom and PTO volunteer, School Site Council member and a member of the Ashland Education Foundation when we were meeting in kitchens. Eventually I was elected to and served on the Ashland School Committee for almost 9 years. Those were years when Ashland was among 15 fastest growing communities in Massachusetts. That growth and the changes it brought, are still evolving in our community today.
During that period I also served on the new high school building committee. Today I proudly serve as the secretary of the Mindess Building Committee. The new Mindess will offer our students a tremendous space to learn and grow long into the future. In keeping with our community goal to be net-zero by 2040, the New Mindess is a green net-zero ready building. The Public Safety building and the New Mindess are testaments to a community that values our future.
Eventually, life dictated that I return to the workforce, and within a few years I began working in the Ashland Public Schools. I have spent my final nine years as the assistant and then principal of the David Mindess School, retiring in August of 2022. Professionally, it was the most rewarding experience of my life. The extraordinary thing about working in education is that you can use all your energy and passion for good. It has been my honor to be able to do this in my hometown and I will always be humbled and grateful for that.
I grew up in a family whose dinner table discourse was energetic, but respectful. It was a family that valued the keeping of an open mind and the expectation of doing the right thing.
The skills I bring to the position of select board member have been shaped by those simple values and a lifetime lived in Ashland.
A spirit of respectful collaboration with the ability to hear and learn from others
Experience in policy creation to guide strategic direction
Experience in working with individuals and departments in building budgets
Insight into the workings of town government from the perspectives of citizen, elected official and employee
Ashland has given me and my family a lifetime filled with things to be grateful for. Ashland educators have nurtured the minds of my children and grandchildren. The police and fire departments have been there to support me in my professional work and they, along with this entire community, have been there when my own family has needed help.
As I begin to experience my community as a retired citizen, it is time for me to give back.. Thank you for your consideration.