Paul Beauparlant Submitted photo

Name: Paul Beauparlant

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired school teacher

Community engagement: Current Ward 7 School Committee representative, basketball and softball official

Question 1: Do you believe students should be required to wear a mask in school to prevent the spread of COVID-19 under current pandemic conditions? 

I feel that federal and state Center for Disease Control guidelines and recommendations should determine every policy that will promote the health of our students and staff.  Having evidenced — as a classroom teacher — the detrimental educational and health costs of COVID-19, all necessary sacrifices should be made to promote a return to full-time, in-person instruction. I believe the current masking policy and contact tracing has been successful in minimizing the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Question 2: Do you feel that issues of equity and race are being appropriately addressed in Lewiston schools?  

The School Committee recently approved the Lewiston Public Schools’ Educational Equity Action statement by a unanimous vote. This is a culmination of work led by Ayesha Hall that addresses institutional inequity in class and race. This document empowers teachers to help students experiencing poverty and those who have traumatized backgrounds, qualities many educators do not have in their background. It will be my job with the committee to ensure that these are more than nice words on paper.

Question 3: What are two specific issues you would address as a School Committee representative? 

The School Committee has declared that its overriding focus should be on the underserved and most vulnerable students, those neglected or who fell through the cracks due to remote and hybrid learning. I hope to empower educators with resources and tools to counter this. I also wish to assure necessary funds to maintain extra- and cocurricular activities from kindergarten through high school. I maintain that these experiences are necessary for the well-being of our children.


Heather Benson Submitted photo

Name: Heather Benson

Age: 47

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

Community engagement: Current vice president of Lewiston High School football boosters, former president of Farwell Elementary School parent teacher association.

Question 1: Do you believe students should be required to wear a mask in school to prevent the spread of COVID-19 under current pandemic conditions?

This is one of those topics where you can never make everyone happy. If case numbers are high, it makes more sense. As numbers decline and with the addition of vaccines, pooled testing, and close-symptom monitoring, I would prefer to let families make choices that they feel are best for them. The superintendent has the most recent information at any given time and should be allowed some discretion in making this decision.

Question 2: Do you feel that issues of equity and race are being appropriately addressed in Lewiston schools?

Lewiston has been working on these issues for some time and recently adopted an equity statement. This is a great beginning to more conversations and looking at ways to continue this work.

Question 3: What are two specific issues you would address as a School Committee representative?

(1) After the last year-and-a-half, we need to find ways to reengage our students and get them back to where they need to be academically, as well as socially and emotionally. (2) Lewiston has lost many talented and dedicated teachers in recent years. I would like to look at ways to attract and retain our great teachers and find additional ways to support them and our students.


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