Q&A: Greenfield School Committee candidate Elizabeth Ann Deneeve


Published: 10/27/2021 4:28:39 PM

Editor’s note: This questionnaire was completed by Elizabeth Ann Deneeve, one of five candidates on the ballot for three School Committee seats with four-year terms in the Nov. 2 election. (Deneeve is running as part of a slate of candidates with Glenn Johnson-Mussad and Kathryn Lynn Martini.) Look for more questionnaires from City Council and School Committee candidates throughout the week.

Work experience (past/present): I have been a full-time costume designer since 2005. As an artisan, designer and owner, I run my own international dancewear brand.

Education: I graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, Calif. My education in fashion design consisted of internships and study programs that transitioned into costume design work in Hollywood. I worked extensively at NBC and on sets for film, TV, commercials and my favorite — opera productions.

Political experience: I am running for my first publicly elected position.

How long have you lived in Greenfield? I moved to Greenfield in August 2020.

What qualities would you bring to the School Committee? I bring an abundance of energy, a strong work ethic and an unwavering moral compass; a promise to be consistent and diligent, and the ability to think outside the box and embrace new ideas.

I have been a Girl Scout leader in Massachusetts and California, the secretary of a PTO and a teacher of costume design arts. I am ready to bring those skills to another level of responsibility.

Which subcommittees would you be interested in serving on and why? I am interested in serving on the Racial Justice Advisory Subcommittee because I feel that racial justice is especially important at this time and that we must be vigilant and forward-thinking in order to protect our youth.

I am also interested in the Policy and Program Subcommittee. This committee would give me the opportunity to communicate and interact with parents and families, which is one of my top priorities.

What are the biggest challenges facing Greenfield’s public schools, and how would you aim to address them? One of our largest challenges is retaining students due to School Choice. Many parents choose other districts because their interaction with GPS is abysmal. Before deciding to run for School Committee and make a change, I was on the verge of choosing another district because my daughter’s school didn’t return phone calls or emails.

We cannot fix our problems without a budget, and our budget is dissipating because parents and students are left in the dust.

Another huge challenge is the lack of teacher’s aides. More than one Greenfield teacher has told me that they cannot teach effectively because they spend most of their day helping students with behavioral issues.

I hope that the superintendent’s search for a behavioral specialist will help these issues. However, the specialist is district-wide. What we really need are more teacher’s assistants to help in classrooms on a daily basis and more support for our special education teachers so that they can do the work they need to do. These educators are stretched very thin.

How would you balance economic constraints with providing quality programming for students? Greenfield has wonderful resources for our young people that our district doesn’t take full advantage of. I hope to involve local organizations in GPS programming and work to access state grants and programs.

I have never been to a town so full of passionate and capable residents who are so eager to get involved. I believe that if the School Committee takes full advantage of these resources, we can provide excellent support to our students in an affordable way.


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