The Recorder – Q&A: Greenfield School Committee Candidate Elizabeth Ann Deneeve

Posted: 27/10/2021 16:28:39

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

Professional 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 the Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, CA. My fashion design education consisted of internships and study programs that turned into costume design work in Hollywood. I’ve worked extensively at NBC and on sets for movies, 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’ve been a Girl Scout leader in Massachusetts and California, a PTO secretary, and a costume design arts teacher. I am ready to take these skills to another level of responsibility.

What sub-committees would you be interested in serving on and why? I am interested in serving on the Racial Justice Advisory Subcommittee because I believe racial justice is especially important right now and we need to be vigilant and forward thinking in order to protect our young people.

I’m 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 main priorities.

What are the biggest challenges facing Greenfield Public Schools and how would you plan to address them? One of our biggest challenges is retaining students because of School Choice. Many parents choose other neighborhoods because their interaction with GPS is abysmal. Before I decided to run for the school board and make a change, I was about to choose another district because my daughter’s school wasn’t responding to phone calls or emails.

We cannot solve our problems without a budget, and our budget dissipates because parents and students are left behind.

Another major challenge is the lack of teaching assistants. More than one Greenfield teacher has told me that he cannot teach effectively because he spends most of his day helping students with behavioral problems.

I hope the superintendent’s search for a behavioral specialist will help with these issues. However, the specialist is district-wide. What we really need are more teacher aides to help out in the classrooms every day and more support for our special education teachers so they can do the job they need to do. These educators are very thin.

How would you reconcile economic constraints while offering quality programming to students? Greenfield has wonderful resources for our youth that our district is not taking 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 city so full of passionate, knowledgeable 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.