LETTER: Wilmington School Committee Member Melissa Plowman Announces She Will NOT Seek Re-Election

Dear Wilmington Community Members,

I am writing to announce that I have made the difficult decision to not return my nomination papers for the upcoming election for my school committee seat. Since pulling papers on January 6th, our family has met several challenges, and I am making the decision to prioritize the needs of my family at this time.

Helping our schools begin our recovery from the impact of the pandemic, all while staying the course toward district-wide improvements has been remarkably hard, but something Dr. Brand’s team has done and something I am proud to have been part of these past two years. I have fully embraced my time working alongside some of this town’s finest people. This group works tirelessly and with incredible professionalism and I have learned so much from each member of this committee and Dr. Brand’s team.

I leave with tremendous respect for my colleagues and the work that has been accomplished during my time with them. We have prioritized evidence-based decisions and interventions; and are now implementing universal screenings and early identification assessments for dyslexia. We are improving how we respond to the social-emotional and mental health needs of our students and families by providing more comprehensive services and have greater capacity for connecting families to outside providers as well. We invested time and resources to better understand the needs of our middle school and are making schedule changes that will allow for advisory and more equitable access to programming. And beginning next year, our high school program of studies will be offering new and exciting opportunities for students, including the launch of an exchange program. It has been so rewarding to see this work unfold. We also have problem-solved significant challenges like unexpectedly having to close an entire school building, successfully negotiated multiple contracts with our dedicated teachers, administrative assistants, and our nurses and we’ve worked in collaboration with the community to secure our partnership with the MSBA and the building of a new Wildwood School is now well-underway.

These are just a few of the highlights I am most proud of when I reflect on my time on the committee. So much good work has made it far more difficult to walk away than I ever imagined it would when I initially decided to run to finish out the term for Mr. Bjork. But as the saying goes, “In life, timing is everything”. While I very much wish the time were right for my continued work in this seat, there are just too many people and things in my life requiring my attention, and the timing is just no longer right. I hope that the leadership team of WPS, my fellow colleagues on the committee, the educational staff, and the families in this town have valued my contributions as much as I have valued the opportunity to support Wilmington Public Schools.

Melissa Plowman

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