Statement: School board candidate Garcia will focus on student wellness, cultural competence and improving communications

Annemarie Garcia

Editor’s note: This candidate statement was provided by school board candidate Annemarie Garcia. The Pelham Examiner publishes statements in the form received as a service to the community.

My name is Annemarie Garcia and I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy for Board of Education Trustee. I am running because every child in our community deserves the best possible education and support to flourish and succeed, and I’m dedicated to advancing these goals. I hope I can count on your vote on May 16th.

Having raised my family in Pelham for the past 16 years, I can confidently say there is no other place I’d rather call home. My husband José and I moved here for the welcoming community and exceptional schools. Seeing my children thrive at Hutchinson Elementary and the middle and high schools only affirms my love for this town. My daughter’s enrollment at the University of Michigan is a testament to the quality education our schools provide, and as my son completes 10th grade, I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunities Pelham has offered my family.

My commitment, backed up by experience and community leadership

As a skilled communicator, collaborator, and problem solver, I am well-qualified to serve effectively as a Trustee. Since my children started kindergarten, I have demonstrated my commitment to the success of Pelham Schools. I am currently president of the PTA Council where I am honored to work closely with all six school PTA leadership teams across the District and SEPTA, as well as our District’s administration.

As PTA Council President, I have focused on bringing people together to achieve real improvements in PTA Unit collaboration and shared communications. I am incredibly proud of new initiatives that will benefit families and students now and in the coming years, including a district-wide read-a-thon, family fun night for Black History Month, revitalization of the Pedestrian Safety Committee, Earth Day School and Neighborhood Cleanup, and District/PTA-led changes in the timing of our annual Spelling Bee, giving students new and valuable opportunities to compete beyond Pelham, regionally and at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition.

As a way of finding common ground across our community, I have worked hard to advocate alongside families on district-wide issues of importance to them, like effective communication and community engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, improved facilities, enhanced safety and security, and educationally-aligned student enrichment.

Beyond my current position, I’ve enjoyed serving our community through the following elected and appointed roles:

  • PMHS PTA Vice President
  • Hutchinson PTA President
  • Chair of a variety of Hutchinson PTA committees
  • Member of Hutchinson’s Site-Based Council
  • BOE/District Wellness Committee Member
  • BOE/District Cultural Competence Committee Member

I’ve also volunteered for organizations that not only support the excellence of our schools, but also the well-being of our children and adolescents. These include:

  • Pelham Together Advisory Board
  • Pelham Together Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
  • Pelham Education Foundation Board Member

Priorities as a BOE Trustee

If elected as a Trustee, I will prioritize three key areas where I would make distinctive and meaningful contributions: promoting student wellness, advancing cultural competence, and improving communications between the Board, the District, and the community. All of these areas will form important parts of the District’s next strategic planning process, where my longstanding experience with and knowledge of our schools will be valuable.

Our public schools exist for the purpose of educating and supporting our community’s children so they can succeed and flourish across a range of pathways following graduation. As a Trustee, I will uplift their voices and keep their needs always at the forefront of our discussions and decisions. This means listening carefully, learning, and prioritizing students’ academic pursuits and personal growth, as well as mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I will work to foster a safe, inclusive, and nurturing learning environment that promotes curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. I will also advocate for policies and programs that address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by our increasingly diverse student population. By centering these conversations around our children, we can create a school system that truly serves the aspirations of our community.

Thank you for your consideration – I am excited to meet with you in the coming weeks to share more about my vision and learn more about what matters most to you about our School District.