After serving her first term on the Mashpee School Committee, Nicole D. Bartlett emphasizes her success creating connections between the Mashpee school district and other communities as well as her readiness to take on new challenges in her second term.
Ms. Bartlett was recognized with all-state honors for her work on the school committee by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, in which she is the director of the Cape and islands district. She is also the northeast director of the Native American and Alaskan Native Council, a chapter of the National Association of School Boards.
She has worked as the north Atlantic regional coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association for eleven years. Trained as a social scientist, she does strategic planning, data analysis, and policy planning in her professional work, skills that she said make a good match for her work on the school committee.
Ms. Bartlett said that her professional work requires her to be a “connector” and she feels as though she has also played the role as connector for the school committee as well.
She said that one of her goals when she began her work on the committee three years ago was to increase connections between the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the school district.
In her first year on the committee, Ms. Bartlett was appointed the liaison between the school committee and the tribe. Within the first six months of her time as liaison, Ms. Bartlett said, the committee had held meetings at the tribe’s Community and Government Center.
Out of the collaboration came a certification that Mashpee teachers could earn a 10-week culture-based certification taught by tribal leaders, as well as a Wampanoag language program. In addition, some Mashpee athletics events began taking place at the tribal center.
The ideas emerged from ongoing discussions and opportunities to build trust and increase transparency in an effort to connect Mashpee school administrators and tribal leaders, Ms. Bartlett said.
“Getting those relationships on track is something that I’m really proud of,” she said. “The connections with the tribe has been just a great advantage for all of our students.”
Ms. Bartlett said that she also focused on boosting community outreach and communication from the school district.
During her first term on the school committee, the committee added a full-time outreach and volunteer coordinator to help maintain the school’s communication and outreach. Ms. Bartlett also helped implement the distribution of family surveys to help the district better understand what has been working and what hasn’t as well as get feedback from families.
Ms. Bartlett said that the major challenges facing the district in near future are the development of a new strategic plan and managing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the district’s budget.
Ms. Bartlett said that she would be excited at the opportunity to continue the work that she has started in a second term.
“I feel like I still have more to offer and certainly more to learn, I’m very excited about the trajectory that that district is on.”
Looking ahead, Ms. Bartlett said that, in the face of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, her experience from her first term will prove valuable.
“I think experience at this time matters,” she said, “to have the foundation that I have and understanding of what’s going on in Mashpee public schools and a firm grasp of where Mashpee wants to go.”
“I feel invested in the success of this district. I don’t want to walk away until I give it everything I have,” she said.