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Lessons learned: Among 19 letters supporting Martyn for School Committee

Elizabeth Dray of Jason Street, a member of Arlington Fights Racism, submitted this letter, with the suggested headline "Advice for new, outsider candidates in Arlington town politics":

Lynette Martyn, School Committee candidate, 2020 photoMartyn

Lessons I have learned this campaign season:

1. Do not dare challenge the status quo or establishment candidates. Who do you think you are?

2. Don’t campaign on difficult issues, especially if they are hard to talk about, even if they are backed by hard data. Some in the political establishment will do anything to avoid these conversations. They will lock arms and attack, launch false accusations that you violated campaign-finance laws while at the same time calling for civility, patronize you and misogynize [sic]. Or worse, they will remain silent, leaving you out there, alone, to take the blows. They will not apologize.

3. Don’t attempt to collaborate with other like-minded candidates across town. The establishment finds that threatening. They will repeatedly file complaints to the Office of Campaign Finance. You will repeatedly be cleared.

4. Don’t listen to, validate or give voice to APS students and families of color, especially when they share that they are worried about the social and emotional safety of their children in APS or that they are leaving Arlington because they don’t feel welcome in APS. Nobody wants to hear that.

5. Don’t acknowledge or apologize for any mistakes; just ignore and deflect, like the establishment candidate. And, for goodness sakes, don't try to defend yourself.

6. Don't cite state data to show areas where our town could improve. That is not how your are supposed to campaign here. It's not polite. Also, did I mention that you should wait your turn?

7. DO be part of the establishment. You will get endorsed by establishment players and not have to actively campaign or hold any public events. You won’t need to give families any public opportunities to talk to you during an unprecedented health and education crisis. After a lackluster debate performance, you can launch personal attacks on the new candidate and accuse her of making false accusations, using state data that has been previously acknowledged by the very committee you sit on. When the director of SEPAC and 34 parents of special-education students publish a letter in rebuttal, you can ignore it. When the president of the Black Student Union asks you to see her, you can look away. When the parents of 40 students of color post a letter to contest your statement, you don't need to respond. You won't need to acknowledge or apologize; the establishment has your back.

Lessons learned: The mere idea of losing power makes some people act unethically. Double standards are alive and kicking in Arlington politics. We would rather attack each other than talk about hard topics and race, and Arlington desperately needs Lynette Martyn’s brave, data-driven and collaborative leadership.

This letter was published Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Dr. Zarina G. Memon of Sunset Road, a Precinct 21 Town Meeting member, submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing to endorse Lynette Martyn in our town election for the School Committee.  I respectfully ask you to vote for her. This letter supports her character.

I first met Lynette at a house party, a “Democratic Swing Maine to Blue” fund-raiser in the summer of 2018. She was highly organized and hospitable to me, my ailing mom and my sister from Cambridge.  I found the gathering informative and motivational.

After this, when Arlington police officer Rick Pedrini’s controversial columns railing against criminal justice reform and progressive policing practice ideas surfaced, Martyn was among those leading the efforts, which led to forming Arlington Fights Racism, and she contacted me for my involvement.  I was reluctant for many reasons but primarily because of health issues.  She did well in her initiatives.  I am grateful for Lynette’s hard work and visions for Arlington.

As one of the few women of color on Town Meeting, I was encouraged by Lynette to get further involved in town governance.  However, because of my family obligations, I have been reluctant to do so, but I genuinely appreciate her encouragement and support.

I have found Lynette to be respectful, cooperative and a great listener.

Additionally, during this election campaign cycle, I find value in her ideas for School Committee and
see her as a great asset to the smart and hard-working committee, which has a lot of work still to do in the future. Therefore, it is without hesitation that Martyn has my vote. I encourage you to vote for her as well.

This letter was published Saturday, May 30, 2020.

Sandra Mostajo of Park Avenue, a Precinct 16 candidate for Town Meeting, submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing to voice my support for Lynette Martyn's candidacy for the School Committee. I wholeheartedly hope she gets the position and that others will join me in the effort to make that a reality.

One need only to look at her extensive and impressive list of accomplishments in the few short years she has become locally active in politics and social issues to know that she would be an invaluable
asset in the School Committee. She is determined and gets things done. Lynette helped foster a vision and bring to fruition the Diversity & Inclusion Groups, or DIGs, at the schools.

The DIGs helped strengthen collaboration and understanding between educators and parents. In particular, the DIGs helped bring parents of students in demographics often overlooked or underserved into the fold of consideration: those with disabilities, children of color, those of lower income, etc.

Lynette was a prominent figure working both upfront and behind the scenes to get the Trust Act bill passed to help make our town a sanctuary to our undocumented neighbors and ensure their safety in a national atmosphere that is often dangerous for them. As an active member of the Diversity Taskforce Group, she has been a voice for those often not represented.

Reviewing these achievements, you can see that Lynette will also apply her organizational skills, her smarts and her incredible drive in the School Committee and earnestly work to help address outstanding issues affecting our student population and their parents. It's very clear she really cares about these issues, that injustices don't sit well with her and that she does not give herself a pass to pretend they don't exist or pass the buck to someone else. It seems she takes to heart the saying that one needs to be the change they wish for the world.

Lynette Martyn is the candidate we need to move the dial in the right direction to help make Arlington Public Schools the best they can be.

This letter was published Saturday, May 30, 2020.

Kaspar Kasparian, a Precinct 18 Town Meeting member, submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing to voice my unequivocal support for Lynette Martyn for School Committee. I've known Lynette for a little over a year, when we first became acquainted through the work of the Diversity Taskforce Group (of which she is part) in advocating for a successful waiver for low-income and disabled residents to our town's overnight on-street parking ban. 

We've since worked together on several other issues that all have the common goal of advancing equality, justice and fairness in Arlington and beyond. Martyn is compassionate, dedicated and hard-working. Many times when we speak about being collaborative and reaching across the aisle, we don't really give a lot of thought to what that means. Usually, it means privileged people mainly reaching out to and working with other privileged people, regardless of core values. Sometimes it even means
a willingness to compromise on issues for the sake of political expediency or financial gains even if those end decisions arrived at disproportionately harm vulnerable populations.

But in Lynette's case, collaboration explicitly means reaching out to and including those usually not given priority or often even overlooked altogether in policy decisions: low-income individuals, the disabled, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks.

Unlike many who seek or are in office, Lynette wants to truly democratize our government and expand accessibility to it for all. This no doubt makes many uncomfortable. Anyone speaking truth to power in ways that challenge the status quo inevitably will experience [usually vocal and overwhelming] resistance – especially when that person is a woman openly discussing sensitive issues such as race, class and ableism.

Our schools are the places where our children – our future – will get their first experiences that will set the course of the rest of their lives. All children deserve equal opportunities – to graduate, to excel, to fulfill their full potential, and to receive humane guidance and the benefit of the doubt when they make mistakes – regardless of the color of their skin, the individual mental or physical challenges they face, or how much money their families may make. This is why it is of critical importance they have a stalwart advocate on their side. It's for this reason I am casting my ballot for Lynette Martyn for School Committee, and I hope you will all join me.

This letter was published Saturday, May 30, 2020.

Tony Siddall of Newport Street submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing to endorse Lynette Martyn for School Committee. As we recover from the pandemic, face continuing uncertainty and imagine a future for our schools with a new superintendent, we need Lynette's leadership now more than ever. I met Lynette through church at First Parish, and we are both Brackett parents. Here's what I know about her: She is kind, she is thoughtful, and she is relentless when it comes to helping all voices be heard.

The pandemic has shown the best and the not-so-good about our schools. Our teachers, social workers and principals are the best. They are creative, hard-working, and they absolutely love our kids. They're what makes our schools very good.

But if we want our schools to be truly great, we need leaders who listen to and partner with families. And we need a School Committee that demands this. A survey we barely had time to answer and a couple of one-way forums while I was trying to put my kids to sleep? It really felt like they were just checking off boxes, not actually listening.

This is a pivotal moment for our schools and our kids. What will school look like as we face the next wave(s) of Covid? How will our kids catch up on lost learning? How will we help them process the trauma of living through a pandemic and build resilience? APS can't answer these questions with only superficial input from families.

Lynette knows how to create meaningful partnerships between our schools and families. She was a driving force behind the Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs) and she is an organizer at heart. Because of her passion for antiracism and equity, some will label her a "social-justice warrior." Whether you feel that term is a compliment or a criticism, I'll tell you this: When we create classrooms that work better for kids with learning differences, kids who face racism or poverty, and English learners -- those classrooms work much better for all the other kids, too.

I don't always agree with Lynette on every issue (though I do on most). But right now we need her passion, her skill and her relentlessness more than ever. I am proud to support her for School

This letter was published Saturday, May 30, 2020.

Kate Tranquada of Park Avenue Extension submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I write in support of Lynette Martyn for School Committee. Lynette is passionate about making the Arlington Public Schools even better than they are now. She has shown leadership in the Arlington Diversity Inclusion Groups, operating at all the town’s schools, and she is an active participant on the Envision Arlington Diversity Task Group and the Superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee.

What does “diversity” mean? On its website, the Envision Arlington Diversity Task Group defines diversity “as broadly and inclusively as possible, to include race, ethnicity, skin color, religious views, national and geographic origin, gender, age, citizenship, ancestry, family/marital status, sexual orientation, ability/disability, source and amount of income, education and military status.” Its aim, and Martyn’s, “is to draw everyone into the conversation, so that the town’s plans, policies, and atmosphere are influenced by all groups.”

As a parent of two Arlington Public School students, Martyn has direct experience of our schools’ strengths and challenges. As a data-driven decision-maker with years of marketing and project-management experience, Martyn has proven her ability to identify needs and organize successful responses to them.

Lynette Martyn wants our school system to provide an excellent education for all of our children, with equity and transparency at the heart of the system. Arlington schools have made progress in these areas, and electing Martyn on June 6 will be a step toward even further advancement.

This letter was published Monday, May 25, 2020.

Silvia Domínguez of Thorndike Street submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I’ve been paying close attention to the race for School Committee and becoming increasingly worried about how difficult it is to break down old problematic patterns. Ways of doing things in homogeneous environments seem familiar to everyone, and there are no unexpected developments, so the status quo prevails. This normative stability has been the case for decades in Arlington, recycling ideas and stifling innovation. Now, there are different ways of thinking coming from people who don’t fit old-established models, and they challenge us to move beyond the status-quo in Arlington.

This challenge to the usual is coming from newcomer candidate Lynette Martyn, who sincerely cares about our children and is invested in making our school system fairer and more equal.

Lynette is especially interested in shining a light on racism, in all its insidious and ubiquitous forms. Unexamined institutional racism has run its course for decades, and evidence of this abound in educational disparities.

Lynnette is unravelling these systems and that, in and of itself, requires tremendous courage. Unfortunately, it is expected that any attempt to challenge a normative stability that favors a dominant population, as Lynette and her message do, would result in attempts to vilify the proponent of such change. If she were affirming the status quo, she would not be the subject of smears.

What is essential here is that Lynette stands to bring more equality to Arlington. We all want our children to be deserving of dignity. Our educational system should not invalidate particular identities.

Lynette sees the problem for what it is, and we are better for that. As a society we are not used to value assertiveness in women, particularly when they are pushing the envelope and speaking without ambiguity about the injustices and biases in our town’s institutions.

When it comes to female candidates, we seem to prefer them reserved, soft-spoken and compliant. We don’t seem to aspire to higher standards.

As for me, I don’t want these patterns to continue. I want girls to grow up unafraid of being assertive. I want all the children in Arlington to be valued equally and to be treated with dignity. There is no doubt in my mind that Lynette will usher the changes we so desperately need in Arlington. Because of her experience, her knowledge and courage, I support Lynette Martyn, and I encourage you to do the same.

This letter was published Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Robert Saoud of Park Avenue submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

This letter is in support of Ms. Lynette Martyn’s candidacy for Arlington School Committee.

I am the parent of a special-education student and AHS graduate (Class of 2018), and my family struggled for many years navigating the challenges of special education in our schools. Our experiences were common, along with the realization that much work needs to be done to improve the quality of special-education services, staffing and outcomes for our high-needs students.

According to a 2017 report by state education officials, called a Coordinated Program Review, the district had one of the highest rates across Massachusetts of noncompliance with state standards for special-education and English learners. While Arlington prides itself on an incredible districtwide 96-percent graduation rate, data show that graduation rates for our high-needs students have recently been a disappointing 82 percent.

In last year’s state accountability survey for special education, we scored only 51 percent, second to last compared to comparable school districts.

While there are no simple solutions to the complexities of special education, Lynette brings a fresh, innovative, approach and a list of well-researched, data-driven proposals designed to make significant improvements. She is calling for early intervention and identification plans for our struggling readers, per last year’s Dyslexia Screening Law.

She supports help for executive-functioning skills for all students. She has proposed social- and emotional-learning measurements for student progress reports (more than behavioral metrics) and expanded individualized support for our English learners. She has called for collaborative problem-solving programming for our middle school. And Lynette wants to engage more with special-education parents through the Special Education Parents Advisory Council and the Arlington Special Education Alliance.

Most of all, Lynette is listening – listening to the stories, challenges, hopes and aspirations of our high- needs students. During this campaign, she has held dozens of “meet-the-candidate” virtual forums and parent listening sessions trying to learn more about the challenges of adapting to remote learning for our special-needs students during these difficult times. And she is focused on planning for the best possible outcomes for our most vulnerable students as they will be transitioning back to the classroom, we hope, in the fall.

For the brightest future for our special education students, I urge voters to vote for Lynette Martyn for School Committee on June 6.

This letter was published Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Irit Tamir of Monadnock Road submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing to urge my fellow Arlington residents to join me in voting for Lynette Martyn for School Committee. I believe she is the change we need right now to help advance equity and fairness in our school systems from the top down.

Anyone paying attention to current events understands that our country still suffers from deep inequalities due to systemic racism. Arlington, as part of our country, is not exempt from this issue. As Martyn has discussed in her virtual call-ins and on her website, data indicates our school system also struggle with achievement gaps and disparities in discipline rates that disproportionately impact marginalized groups of students, whether due to race, class or disability (among other factors).

Many parents of students in these populations have weighed in in recent weeks, noting personal experiences with these disparities. I've noticed other contenders have remained mostly silent, while one has denied the existence of these problems. We will not be able to address and overcome these challenges unless we go in with our eyes wide open, ready to admit the problem and transparently work together toward solutions.

Martyn shows she can do this. As the person most directly responsible for the founding of the Diversity & Inclusion Groups (DIGs) that have chapters at all of the elementary and middle schools, she has been a leader in seeking collaborative solutions and common ground. At the same time, she does not shy away from uncomfortable truths. She admits errors when she makes them.

Martyn embodies the kind of change we need right now: bold, data-driven and collaborative--while also willing to acknowledge fallibility. If you care about justice and equality for ALL, please cast your ballot for Martyn on June 6.

This letter was published Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Ben Moynihan of Plymouth Street, Arlington, a Brackett parent and Brackett DIG volunteer, submitted this letter.

In reading recent posts to by School Committee candidates and from community members, I am encouraged that all involved care deeply for our students, teachers and schools.

While celebrating successes in the Arlington Public Schools (APS), the 2019 MCAS report and School Committee presentation on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, by Dr. Roderick MacNeal Jr., Assistant Superintendent, and Ms. Paula O’Sullivan, District Data Coach, also should put to rest any question whether data detailing significant disparities exist for demographic groups in APS.

Fortunately, APS Goal One – Student Achievement is aspirational, stating, “the Arlington Public Schools will ensure that every graduate is prepared to enter and complete a post-secondary degree program, pursue a career, and be an active citizen in an ever-changing world by offering a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based and data-driven K-12 system of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that integrates social, emotional and wellness support.” 

Given the Arlington School Committee campaign, how shall we develop strategies that ensure all students graduate “prepared to enter and complete a post-secondary degree program, pursue a career, and be an active citizen in an ever-changing world”? Can we come to a consensus that all children in APS are considered as truly “our children”, without qualification, and that we will accept for them nothing less than the full meaning of APS’ “Goal One”? How shall we support teachers, school leaders, and the staff that support our young people? How will we ensure students and families are represented in all aspects of APS operations so that when it comes to education in Our Town, all are at “the welcome table”?

And, let us be clear that we are not talking about creating a ceiling for any student. We are asking if we can reach a consensus about the need to raise the floor for all students, while keeping the open sky limitless for the learning and success of all students in APS.

I continue to support Lynette Martyn for School Committee. As a parent of a Brackett School student over the last four years, she has consistently sought to encourage school and district leaders, as well as parents, to collaborate to improve education for all students. Yes, let us celebrate and build on APS successes, acknowledge where we have fallen short, and hold ourselves collectively accountable for creating a school system that actually manifests “goal one” for all students in APS.

This letter was published Monday, May 18, 2020.

Elizabeth LaRose, a Peirce Parent and member of Peirce DIG, submitted this letter.

I am Peirce parent and a member of the Peirce DIG, and I’m giving Lynette Martyn one of my votes for School Committee. Lynette is a tireless advocate for Arlington’s children, families and schools.

I’m a witness to her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and believe that she will bring a much-needed voice to Arlington Public Schools. After observing the changes in our student body and a great need for more cultural proficiency, she collaborated with teachers, parents and administrators to help found Arlington’s parent-driven Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs) in our elementary and middle schools.

She has served on the Superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee for four years. In all of her work, she has striven to create an optimal learning environment where each and every child has the best shot at achieving their full potential, and where they feel safe and welcome when they walk through the doors of their school.

Arlington parents who have worked with Lynette believe that she would hear the concerns of families and students and ensure that Arlington's schools are seeking to consistently make progress on the many issues of inclusion that impact our children’s education. Lynette has a background as a teacher of English as a foreign language, combined with management experience at the Harvard School of Public Health Center for Continuing Education bridging both education and business. She has extensive experience working with business leaders, administrators, teachers, parents, caregivers and students. Lynette is no stranger to the critical financial and budgeting challenges confronting public education.

She has published her “bucket list” of what she wants to accomplish on the School Committee. To read this extensive list, please go to Among her goals are expanded alternative discipline, expansion of executive functioning skills training, elimination of disparities in discipline rates, MCAS scores and achievement, increased transparency and reporting of data, social and emotional measurements in student progress reports, and early intervention for identifying struggling readers. Lynette has also stressed the importance of hiring of a new superintendent with a proven track record of tackling disparity issues in their prior districts, and with a commitment to transparency, communication and collaboration with parents and educators.

For our children, our families, and our community, I urge you to give Lynette Martyn one of your votes for School Committee on June 6.

This letter was published Monday, May 18, 2020.

Wendy M. Fields, who is a Precinct 15 Town Meeting member candidate, submitted this letter.

I am writing, both as a teacher and as a parent, about the upcoming election for School Committee. Let me start by saying the last couple of months have reinforced for me just how incredibly hard my daughter’s “team” works and how dedicated they are to every child. And yet, there have been times in my daughter’s time in the Arlington Public Schools where I saw glaring room for improvement.

In light of this, I have concerns when a member of the School Committee waves away concerns of equity issues. There are issues, because there are always issues in any district. To suggest that things are fine pays a major disservice to the families who know firsthand that there are areas where improvements can be made.

All it takes is one biased or flawed choice to cause ripple effects of inequality. Arlington is doing a lot of things right. But it is not doing everything to the best of its abilities (and there are areas where the numbers do reflect that). I believe Lynette Martyn is tenacious enough and responsible enough to look not just at the numbers but also to look at things holistically.

She has spent a great deal of time in her development of the district wide Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIG) listening to people whose children receive a wide range of services and accommodations- whether that be for special education, financial insecurity, mental health, English language learning, and the list goes on.

She has also made it a point to yield space and really listen to members of marginalized communities. She has her finger on the pulse of the district, and I believe she is interested in asking the questions “what is going well” and “what can we improve.” She will suss out those choices causing negative ripple effects and work together with the administration and the committee to make improvements. That is an attitude I want in a School Committee member.

There is so much to celebrate Arlington Public Schools for. But there are also things that bear further inspection and improvement. Lynette is the type of person who finds solutions even if it means more work for her. I know that she will bring that tireless work ethic to the school committee and I look forward to giving her my vote.

This letter was published Sunday, May 17, 2020.

Edith Wun of Arlington submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing to voice my support of candidate Lynette Martyn, who is running for School Committee in Arlington.

As a mother of two young children in our town’s public school system, Lynette is someone with an insider’s perspective of how the schools are functioning for our children. Additionally, Lynette has years of experience calling attention to and efficiently addressing equity issues on the structural level in Arlington, most notably including in our public school system.

Lynette helped found the Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs) — groups of parents and caretakers concerned with such issues occurring in all of our respective elementary and middle schools. She is also serving her fourth year on the superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee.

Considering the high racial disparity rates in suspensions at our schools, and our low ranking in special education, it is apparent that Arlington is currently failing many of its underprivileged students. The centerpiece of Martyn’s platform is to ensure our public school system works for and benefits all of our students — including students of color, English language learners, students with disabilities, special-education students and students from low-income families.

It is only when we bring all of these students into our full consideration, and create an atmosphere where they not only succeed but can thrive — that our schools fulfill their mission and purpose. But in order to achieve this, we will need a strong advocate who prioritizes equity and compassion on the committee.

Lynette is one such advocate. I hope others who are concerned about these issues agree and will vote for her come Election Day.

This letter was published Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Rajeev Soneja of Arlington submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I write in support of the candidacy of Lynette Martyn for the Arlington School Committee in the upcoming town election on Saturday, June 6.

I first met Lynette in the spring of 2018 during a School Committee meeting related to cultural competency. This discussion ultimately led to the formation of the Arlington Public Schools' Diversity and Inclusion groups (DIGs). These are parent-led groups at each school within the district that work with our school communities and administrators to promote diversity and inclusion in the town's public schools to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for all of our children.

Lynette played the single-most important role in getting these groups established. Her skills in organization and ability to identify and engage dedicated members and parents with a range of specific concerns was instrumental in bringing together a diverse coalition to be part of the DIGs. The concerns ranged from focusing on students with learning disabilities and those who wanted to ensure that students were felt included irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or religion.

Once formed, her focus and commitment have allowed these groups in each school to help ensure that parents are working with school administrators to help all students thrive in the town's public schools, regardless of their background. I hope she is elected to the School Committee so she can bring her commitment, experience and skills to create an environment of safe learning to all students in Arlington.

This letter was published Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Anthony Vogel of Eustis Street submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

I am writing in support of Lynette Martyn for School Committee.

She is extremely qualified, has been a leader on local issues, and she has worked impressively hard to educate herself on the the important issues affecting our community. She has not only the necessary intelligence to understand the complex issues we face in our schools, but the less-common ability to listen and work with others of all views and respond with creative and effective solutions.

Lynette has shown that she will be a tireless advocate for the best education for everyone in our community, and particularly for those who have not been particularly represented in the past. Her activism to work to protect and advocate for a community of equality, diversity, access, and justice has been extraordinary.

A couple of things she is doing right now show that she will be a hard-working and effective addition to the School Committee. She regularly posts her extremely detailed and objective meeting notes of the School Committee meetings. Not everyone has the time or ability to virtually attend these meetings in real time, and that’s especially valuable in this time of social isolation.

She has been organizing and hosting virtual Meet the Candidate meetings with some others also running for public office. I attended one recently. I feel that these are a model of access and transparencies that all of our public officials could learn from, not just now, but after we get through these times  public health emergency.

In the recent candidate debate, Lynette demonstrated that she finds that the most cited broad-based statistics on the performance and success of our Arlington students to be less than adequate, particularly for our most vulnerable students. We need her new point of view on the School Committee, someone who understands and goes deeper into the existing studies, many of which she includes on her website. Lynette will seriously address the extreme and unprecedented level of stress about the future that is present in our student age population, something I know all Arlington parents can relate to.

I am fortunate to know Lynette personally, but I hardly expect others to take all this on my word. I encourage all to check out her out for themselves at her first-rate website and to “meet” Lynette at an upcoming zoom meeting.

This letter was published Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Manisha Sharma of Mary Street submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

Lynette Martyn is running for a seat on the Arlington School Committee, and I’m so excited that we have the opportunity to elect an intelligent, a dynamic, and an empathetic person in this position. 

I have lived in Arlington in the last 14 years, with the last eight years as the parent of a child in the Arlington Public Schools. As I did not attend school in the United States, a public school education is a new experience -- the curriculum, the aspects of learning that are emphasized as well as teaching methods. No doubt there is much to admire about the town's pubic schools. However, as we progress through the school system, experience has also shown that in order for the community to have confidence in their schools there is a need for a strong and responsive leadership. 

In choosing Lynette for School Committee, we would have someone that is a goal oriented organizer and collaborator who has been instrumental in bringing the parent-led Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs) to Arlington schools. These groups have provided a vital platform to parents to have a dialogue on how well our schools are presenting as places to thrive for students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs. I have been particularly impressed with Lynette’s drive in reaching out and connecting parents and guardians of student and encouraging them to be a part of these conversations. 

Lynette is not just a good listener but is someone who is not afraid to ask the difficult questions and is ever responsive in an evolving situation/issue. She is very hard working, besides being resourceful when seeking answers and presenting solutions.  

As we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the light of a school year that was shortened for our students and the many unknowns with respect to what the new school year would bring us, it’s important to have the right representation in our school leadership. I would feel reassured to have someone with Lynette’s management and people skills to help Arlington make the best choices. I will vote for Lynette Martyn for the School Committee, and I encourage others in Arlington to do the same.

This letter was published Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Nada El-Newahy and Khaled Aly submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

As registered town voters, we confirm casting our votes for Lynette Martyn, who is running for School Committee in Arlington.

Lynette’s actions speak louder than words; her history as a graceful civil servant, her devotion and involvement as a parent of two school-aged boys and her work with Arlington’s school district Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs) are all proof that she fully appreciates all that the position would entail. Her tireless involvement and outreach, devotion and dedication are simply proof of how well she fits to be selected as a member of the School Committee.

Her passion and dream to create an ideal learning environment for all of our students by reinforcing diversity, equity and inclusion, and aiming to serve all students based on their needs and interests make her a strong candidate for the role.

Even though our school-system ranking is generally high, we aren’t doing so well when it comes to our special-needs students and services, not when they’re privileged. Even though special education is a source of crucial services and supports for students with any kind of disabilities, students of color or any minority group with disabilities still face significant obstacles, which hinder their ability to succeed and flourish in school. Lynette wants to help bridge this gap and to help eliminate any educational segregation they may face, which ultimately improves outcomes for those minority children with disabilities.

Lynette has shown to be an accountable, respectable person, who has shown the audacity in professional admitting, in extremely rare cases, when she has mistaken, which only makes her human, since none of us is perfect. Our flaws are part of who we are, and admitting to our mistakes makes us even more honorable, and this is who she is.

We will not find a better or stronger candidate to represent parents and students in the Arlington Public Schools. We need a person who has a hunger for positive change. A community is strengthened by how diverse its people are, and we need to see ambitious goals of increasing diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts. We will be voting for Lynette Martin, and support her all the way.

This letter was published Monday, May 11, 2020.

Gwendolyn Wong of Lowell Street submitted the following letter to the editor via the Martyn campaign.

As I watched the April 17, ACMi-hosted “Arlington School Committee Debate 2020” on YouTube, I got the distinct impression that candidates Paul Schlichtman and Bill Hayner are status quo candidates. In contrast, Lynette Martyn chose to highlight state data that reveal systemic inequalities in Arlington to deliver public education to high-needs or disadvantaged children and that these problems are both serious and need attention.

In a truly cringe-worthy two minutes, Mr. Schlichtman deflects focus from these problems by saying that Asian (Japanese) kids do better than white kids -- a complete non sequitur.

Congratulating himself, he highlights the hiring of two African-American administrators into our school system followed by a rationale that therefore any inequalities in education will just magically disappear because black administrators are “very skilled in addressing it,” and then only belatedly mentioning their competence in their jobs. OMG! I cannot express how tone-deaf Mr. Schlichtman sounds and how clumsily he avoided confronting a serious problem.

Mr. Hayner chose to say he’s a slow learner who relies on others to interpret “stats and figures and stuff” for him. Is that an indicator of leadership? What he does say is that the status quo is just fine: Arlington should just be happy to be in the “acceptable” range and not depend on data and statistics to improve.

In contrast to the two men, Ms. Exton acknowledges the disparities in education and says that these problems are real -- both in her school and across the Commonwealth.

Ms. Martyn is a leader. Vote for her, and let’s get started recognizing, acknowledging and tackling real and serious problems that are uncomfortable to address.

This letter was published Tuesday, April 21.

Lynette Culverhouse of Draper Avenue submitted this letter via the Martyn campaign.

Arlington is fortunate to have some well-qualified and talented new people running for town office. One is Lynette Martyn, seeking a seat on the School Committee.

After watching the virtual debate sponsored by ACMi in which she participated, I was beyond impressed by her energy, enthusiasm, courage and in-depth knowledge of the issues facing our schools and families. She has some well-developed ideas for improving parent engagement, transparency and the achievement gap and expresses these ideas with passion, clarity and courage.

She has a vision that goes beyond managing the day-to-day tasks facing schools to understanding the implications that fiscal decisions have on the whole community. She collaborated across the district with parents, teachers, students and administrators to launch the parent-led Diversity and Inclusion Groups, which have been enormously successful, and she has served on the superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee for four years.

She is not just about innovative and fresh ideas; she is about implementing them. She has an MBA, experience as an educator and executive, including expertise with hiring, communication and negotiations.

I have confidence that Lynette will work tirelessly to improve the educational experience of all our students, but in particular those who are not being well-served at present. She will use the data to drive decision making that will ensure that each student is having his/her educational needs met.

She understands that a one-size-fits-all approach to education doesn’t work for all students and seeks to introduce services and programs to improve the experience and outcomes for underserved students. She values cultural diversity and looks for ways to celebrate the wonderful range of cultures represented in our town and supports introducing ongoing cultural proficiency training for all our town employees. And she supports an affordable-housing program for teachers.

Lynette has a very thorough website where she articulates her goals and aspirations clearly. I strongly recommend people check it out, and I hope you will give her your vote on June 6.

This letter was published Sunday, April 19.

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