Catherine West Lewis is making her second run for a seat on the Mashpee School Committee as a candidate who can offer communication skills and a history of engagement with the public schools as a parent.
Ms. Lewis grew up in Mashpee and attended Mashpee Public Schools until the 8th grade, after which she went to Falmouth High School because Mashpee didn’t yet have one. Ms. Lewis said she wants to give back to the town what she gained from her time in the public schools.
“I want to give back to this town because I really do think that having a strong education sets your base in life,” she said. “Mashpee schools did it for me.”
Ms. Lewis has been involved in the public schools as a parent at both the K.C. Coombs and Quashnet schools.
Ms. Lewis currently serves as the recording secretary for the parent-teacher organization at the Quashnet School and is in her third year as a member of the school council at the K.C. Coombs School. The school council is a group of parents and teachers who help the principal with the school’s immediate issues, an experience she said has given her insight into the issues. She also served on a team that was developing a three-year district improvement plan until the team’s work was stalled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms. Lewis said that after spending so much time volunteering in the schools, “the next logical step” is to seek a seat on the school committee.
She said she would bring strong communication and engagement skills to her work on the committee, an area where she thinks the committee could improve.
Drawing from her work as a communications manager, Ms. Lewis said that she would help to improve communication and engagement with the entire Mashpee community, not just with families and staff in the district.
Ms. Lewis said that with the school budget making up a significant portion of the town’s budget, it is important for the whole community to understand what is happening in the schools.
“Community members may not be aware that we have a budding robotics program and a culinary arts program as well,” Ms. Lewis said, adding that the schools are offering students the opportunity to “explore, expand and see what’s out there” in terms of both academics and trades.
Ms. Lewis acknowledged that the school committee has made improvements to the district’s communication with the creation of an app and the addition of a community outreach coordinator.
“There is always room for improvement,” Ms. Lewis said. “I think we can go even further.”