TO THE MASSACHUSETTS BOARD OF EDUCATION:
January 25, 2018
Re: Selecting a new Commissioner of Education
My name is Eloiza Mussenden and I am very passionate about education. I am a single mother of 4 children and I raised my family in Springfield, MA. Two of my children are currently in high school, while my oldest are enrolled at Springfield Technical Community College and Westfield State University. It was not an easy journey to say the least. Our neighborhood was dominated by poverty and it was obvious that so many children in cities like Springfield are not taught to value their education. I wouldn’t allow my children to fall victim to that mindset and now they are thriving.
I wanted to make a difference in my community, so I became a parent facilitator at Brightwood Elementary school. I spent 8 incredible years communicating with diverse families and community leaders and I am proud of the work that we accomplished together. My job allowed me to engage parents and support their volunteer work wide within a variety of causes and events. I am a true believer in parent engagement because we need our families to stay involved in the development of their children’s education, along with many other critical issues that impact their lives. And no issue is more important that education.
I am excited at the potential of a new Commissioner of Education, but I recognize that it comes with big challenges. I sincerely hope this person will also support and encourage strong parent engagement in the decision-making process and keep the voices of parents included when considering changes to education in Massachusetts. Too many times it feels as if parents are left behind, when in reality we should be partners with all the stakeholders at the table. We should foster an environment of collaboration that puts the interests of children ahead of anyone else’s agenda, and get politics out of the way.
Thank you for reviewing my testimony.