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Four candidates apply for vacant Portsmouth school board seat

Town Council expected to make appointment Monday night

By Jim McGaw
Posted 11/20/20

PORTSMOUTH — Four residents have applied for the vacant seat on the School Committee, and the Town Council will decide who it will be on Monday, Nov. 23.

The seat is open because …

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Four candidates apply for vacant Portsmouth school board seat

Town Council expected to make appointment Monday night

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Four residents have applied for the vacant seat on the School Committee, and the Town Council is expected to select one on Monday, Nov. 23.

The seat is open because Catherine Holtman, who was elected to the School Committee in 2018, resigned from the board effective Sept. 1. She decided to step down, she said, due to the challenges of dealing with the pandemic while juggling work along with having two young children at home.

This will be the third appointment by the council to fill vacant school board seats in under two years. 

In December 2018, the council appointed Karen M. McDaid and Juan Carlos Payero. The two seats became vacant due to the resignations of former School Committee Chairwoman Terri Cortvriend, who was elected that November to the District 72 seat in the R.I. House of Representatives; and another member, Andrew Kelly, who was elected to the Town Council. 

Here are the four candidates for the open seat:

Sandra Blank, of 100 Emmanuel Drive — Ms. Blank is a project manager, deputy program manager and engineering section manager at Raytheon Technologies, where she’s also a site representative for Raytheon Women’s Network. She has a son in seventh grade as well as 2- and 1-year-olds at home. “I am looking to provide the best education for all students in Portsmouth and support faculty and staff within the town budget,” she stated in her application.

Isabelle Kelly, of 71 Child St. — Ms. Kelly is self-employed and said she has many years of experience in higher education and in various financial and project coordinator positions. She’s the parent of three young children, the oldest of which started kindergarten this year. “I am very interested in doing everything that I can do to make the school experience a positive and enriching one for my children as well as others, and the School Committee seems to offer an excellent opportunity for this,” she stated.

Jennifer Mosier, of 61 Pine Tree Road — Ms. Mosier is employed by Netsimco in Middletown, managing people, confidential information, facility training programs and compliance backgrounds. She has two children who graduated from the Portsmouth school system. “One of my children was in the Portsmouth Special Education Program during the time Portsmouth separated successfully for Newport County Special Ed. I feel I can bring a new perspective to the Portsmouth School Committee,” she stated.

Michele Pope, of 174 Lepes Road — Ms. Pope is vice president of technology services at Citizens Bank in Johnston and has 35 years of experience in management consulting, technology development, and financial services. She has lived in Portsmouth since 2004 and has three children attending schools in town. “I want to serve and support our Portsmouth school community as I strongly believe that I can help influence the overall quality of the educational operating model and supporting policies used by our district,” she stated.

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