Haugland is seeking re-election to the Natick School Committee for the 5th term

Editor’s Note: In accordance with SOURCE Election Policy, each candidate is permitted to submit an advertisement in their own words for the election. The election for the town of Natick will take place on March 29.

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NATICK – My name is Henry Haugland and I am running for re-election to the Natick School Committee. I have the passion and a mix of unique experiences that will allow me to continue to make a difference for
The Natick children and their families.

I am completing my fourth term on the Natick School Board, having served from 1998 to 2007 and again beginning in 2019. I have also served on the board of the Advanced Math and Science Charter School from 2006 to 2012. I spent decades in senior management positions and am currently the CEO of a Natick-based company.

I understand the challenges of managing a large, complex organization such as Natick Public Schools, with its 1,000 employees, 5,200 students, 3,500 families and an $80 million budget. We have a wide range of constituencies and issues. The school board needs to focus on improving outcomes in the classrooms while being sensitive to our constituencies.

My priorities are to provide support to the superintendent, management team, teachers and
staff must:
 Ensure that every child receives an effective and personalized education
 Minimize pandemic-related learning losses and increased socio-emotional challenges
 Manage budget growth to maintain affordability for city residents
 Attracting and retaining exemplary teachers
 Foster a culture of excellence within our schools

Natick became a model for Massachusetts school systems. A vital objective for the next three years is to fulfill the promise contained in our profile of a graduate, to all children. This means that each child receives an effective and personalized education and that each family receives the support and help they need. A key ingredient is to improve efficiency while limiting cost growth.

About 500 students, or just under 10% of our enrollment, are academically behind pre-pandemic benchmarks. Many of our students present with social and emotional problems that require academic support. Our staff works hard to help these children and their families.

Attracting and retaining exemplary teachers is mandatory. Our six collective agreements expire this year and are being renegotiated by the school committee. Nearly 60% of our teaching staff are experienced teachers whose training, experience and willingness to mentor young teachers have been essential in helping our children succeed over the past two years. We need to keep these examples. They are the foundation of the next generation of Natick excellence.

The most important element in a school system, as in a business organization, is culture. A culture fueled by excellence can overcome seemingly overwhelming obstacles. This is exactly what has allowed Natick Public Schools to navigate effectively through the past two years of COVID-related challenges.

We are fortunate to have an outstanding superintendent and her leadership team. Teachers and staff consistently demonstrate professionalism, ability, compassion and dedication to our children and families.

New explorations
Process improvement

A Lean Six Sigma review can help identify ways to improve operational efficiency and potentially reduce costs. Although widely implemented in companies, it is not common in schools. I believe we could receive grants to carry out such an effort.

NHS Five-Year Program
I would like to explore the possibility of offering a five-year program in conjunction with one or more community colleges such as Mass Bay. A student choosing this route would receive an associate degree as well as their NHS degree at the end of a five-year programme. This could significantly reduce tuition fees for families. Implementing this scenario would require state support for at least a 4-year pilot.

Universal preschool
There is interest at the federal level as well as at the state level in implementing preschool education for all 4-year-olds. The state is currently funding pilot projects. One possible approach would be to create a partnership between the NPS and private pre-K providers. An ideal program could reduce costs for families, provide a quality child care alternative, and ensure that all students are well prepared for kindergarten.

The candidate’s journey
I grew up in Laramie, Wyoming and moved to Natick with my wife, Linda Wollschlager, in 1989. I have seven children, including 2008 and 2013 graduates of Natick High School. Co-founder and
CEO of WebReply, Inc., based in Natick.

Chairman of the Board of Kids Connect, a non-profit organization in Natick offering tutoring
services, for 20 years

Member of the Natick Municipal Assembly since 1998

Mentor of the Natick High Robotics (RoboNatick) team for 8 years

Board member of The Education Collaborative (TEC) since 2021

Member of the Natick Historical Commission since 2021

Graduated from the University of Colorado, Mathematics and Chemistry

United States Marine Corps Veteran