This is one in a series of candidate questionnaires with local candidates being published leading up to the Nov. 2 elections.
Name: Matthew Hanlon
Address: 30 Victoria Drive
Occupation: Logistics for CompuCom Systems Inc.
Education: Attended New Hampshire College
Civic experience: 10 years on Somersworth School Board (Last 2 as Board Chair, and Vice-Chair for 4 years prior); SAU Board Chair. Over the past decade I have served on the following committees: Policy Committee, Budget & Revenue Committee; Legislative Advocacy Committee, Curriculum & Activities Committee, Joint Commission, Somersworth Rollinsford Withdrawal Committee, Somersworth SAU Withdrawal Committee,
I have also served as the NH School Board Delegate for Somersworth and the Chair of Vision 2020 Committee during Master Plan Review
Favorite movie, book or television show: I am an avid comic book reader and have been since I was young. I love the DC and Marvel universe and the lessons they provide. I truly believe that “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
What do you see as the top three issues facing the district, and how can the board address them?
The top three issues I see facing the district are funding, long-term planning, and continuing to provide 21st-century opportunities for our students.
The school board and administration need to continue to create lines of communication with our state and national representation and with our partners at the NH School Board Association to lobby for the funding needs of Somersworth. We need to ensure that our district is actively seeking every funding opportunity to continue to provide the best education and opportunities possible for the children of Somersworth.
Long-term planning is needed to identify areas that need improvement and to adequately plan and implement future improvements. By creating a Schoolwide Master Plan, the district would create a road map to guide us to what we believe the future education of Somersworth should be. This would include technology plans, infrastructure, curriculum planning and goals, further career tech opportunities, and partnerships with higher education.
Lastly, as a district, we need to continue to offer our students opportunities for co-curricular and extension activities. This includes identifying barriers to participation and promoting emerging programs such as Esports.
How do you feel about the district’s COVID-19 policies, including masks and vaccines? Would you make any changes?
Our district has established the Covid Response Management team consisting of the superintendent, school administration, school nurses, emergency services, members of the public health network, and union representatives; they have worked diligently to create a comprehensive plan that ensures the safety of our staff and students while allowing for in-person learning. The team meets weekly to ensure that the district is meeting the recommended protocols and actively monitoring the situation. As a board member, I support these efforts and will continue to support the recommendations of this team.
How, if at all, would you work to strengthen the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts?
I am very proud of our district’s continued efforts to be one of the most diverse and inclusive communities. Each of our schools works on continued efforts to strengthen their education and practices in these areas and as a board member, I have supported all of these efforts. As a board and a district, we need to continue to ensure equity in our schools by providing our students with as many resources and supports as possible.
How, if at all, would you work to strengthen the district’s mental health and wellness efforts for students?
As a district, we have partnered with Goodwin Community Health to establish a school-based health clinic in order to provide health and wellness services to students. We have also partnered with outside organizations to provide education and services such as in-school counseling for students, training for staff on mental health first aid, and crisis intervention, and training for students on healthy strategies. All of these efforts need to continue in order to best meet the needs of our students and families.