Opinion: Collaboration, Transparency & Balance

by | Sep 16, 2021

My name is Peter Carney and I humbly ask for your vote for East Greenwich School Committee on Oct. 5 at the Swift Community Center.

For my fellow community members who I have yet to meet, I wanted to start by sharing a little of my background to offer a sense of my long ties to the East Greenwich area. I grew up just across the town line in the Quidnessett area of North Kingstown and attended Our Lady of Mercy School and then Rocky Hill School. Trips to Newport Creamery (now the vacant Webster Bank location near CVS) for Awful Awfuls were a staple of my youth! I received my BA from the University of Richmond and returned to R.I. after graduation where I worked the next four years for a local business located in the Elms Building on Main Street in East Greenwich. My wife Jennifer and I settled in Warwick to start our family (we are now 6 plus a terrier ; ) and after a few years found ourselves very involved in their elementary school with Jen heading the PTG for several years and me being called into service regularly for fundraising and “event organization,” a.k.a. heavy lifting. When it came time to consider the long-term educational goals for our children, East Greenwich was a natural fit given the strong reputation of the school district and our familiarity with the community (my father-in-law, Dr. Jack Kacewicz, was a longtime orthodontist in East Greenwich with a practice now operated by my brother-in-law). So, in the summer of 2016, we made EG our home. Jumping right into our new community and school district with that same spirit and energy, we organized a very successful Spring Fun Run event in both 2018 and 2019 in support of the Frenchtown and Eldredge PTGs, volunteered on the sidelines for EGBA and Flag Football, and I have done some spot duty as third base coach when needed at St. Greg’s Little League or EGLL. It has been a great experience to be a part of such an active community with so many willing to raise their hands and help out around the schools, athletic fields and community events.

Professionally, I am a regional vice president for a national mortgage lender where I am responsible for a sizable budget and also the productivity, and workplace health and safety in the COVID era, of many teammates across New England. In my role, I need to invest and spend budgeted money in the right places to support our clients and teammates. But I need to do so judiciously to balance our revenue with our needs. Strategic, data-driven decisions are a daily requirement for me to succeed in my job and I believe this skill set can be a very helpful addition to the decision-making collaboration in our school district. 

It is from this foundation that I have decided to now step forward as a candidate for School Committee in the Oct. 5 special election. The past 18 months created incredible challenges for our students, parents, teachers, administrators and elected officials. Many of those challenges, and effects thereof, remain for our district and community. With children of my own at Eldredge, Cole and EGHS, maintaining the strength of the district and fostering an environment that supports academic excellence and empathy for the social / emotional well-being of our students will be my charge. Amidst continued challenges from the pandemic, you can expect me to continue to advocate for district policies and plans that focus on as much normalcy for our children as possible … a focus of mine since the 2020-21 school year began when I worked with so many great families and community members in advocating for a return to full in-person learning across the district. During that time, I showed a commitment to student-centric policies, a commitment to the health and safety of our teachers and staff by lobbying our state officials to prioritize their vaccinations, and also regularly offering ideas and strategies to administrators and committee members that had been implemented in other districts in Rhode Island and elsewhere during the 2020-21 school year. And as we continue to review and better understand the learning gaps created by COVD challenges, I will engage with district families to understand their opinions and then work with the school administration and fellow School Committee members to develop a plan that addresses community concerns and prevents future recurrences. Collaboration with all viewpoints, transparency with all decisions, solutions-based advocacy, and offering balance to the deliberations of the committee are the charge of my campaign. 

Lastly, I wanted to share an aspect of a particularly poignant phone conversation I had in February 2021 with a school official elsewhere as I researched how other school districts were navigating the many COVID-created challenges. The official told me, “We all knew what was best for the students … so we got all the stakeholders together and worked on solutions to overcome our obstacles.” I congratulated them, and said, “Now THAT is leadership.”

I know it when I hear, and see it. And I know the good people of East Greenwich do too. Please vote for Peter Carney for EG School Committee on Oct. 5 at Swift Community Center. Thank you for your consideration.

Please join me at an upcoming Meet the Candidate event during the Main Street Stroll on Tuesday, 9/21, 6-8 p.m., and follow me on Facebook at “Peter Carney for EG School Committee” for additional campaign events. Contact by email ([email protected]) or phone (401-952-1433) is welcomed anytime as well!

Peter Carney lives in East Greenwich.

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11 Comments

  1. Heather tibbi

    Mr. Carney, are you still advocating that students not wear masks in the classroom?

    Reply
    • Peter Carney

      We are in a mask mandate from both the Governor and the Town Council. When that is lifted, and we see improvement away from High Transmission, I am interested in examining options and collaborating with all the stakeholders for some parent choice.

      Reply
      • JAMes Gorham

        This means nothing to me. What would you say these “options” are? What do you mean by “parent choice”? Would you advocate non-compliance with CDC guidelines if you felt a significant percentage of parents opposed masks?

        Reply
  2. NIcole Somvanshi, md

    Mr. Carney: I understand your carefully written response to the question posed to you above about masks. What I am having trouble understanding is why many of your supporters who have your sign on their lawn also have “unmask our children” signs. I am a local family physician and I really don’t understand how we can protect children under age 12 who cannot currently be immunized without having them wear masks, especially given our current high transmission rate. How do you propose you will protect this vulnerable population in contrast to our current policies? By “parent choice” are you implying that parents could choose to not mask their unvaccinated child?

    Reply
    • Peter carney

      Thank you for this comment. I will have my full mask position out, in writing, no less than 14 days before election day.

      Reply
    • CR

      Nicole, are you advocating that this election just be about masks? Surely, there are numerous other topics that are equally as important that also affect all students. Will you really vote or not vote for a candidate – despite qualification standards – based on their mask position? That seems incredibly petty. I notice that you included the md in your name, most likely to indicate that you are very much in the know about COVID as a medical professional. How about I make a choice for my doctor or my children’s doctor – not based on any particular qualifications or standards – but about if you prefer masks or not.

      Reply
  3. Carla swanson

    I think Mr. Carney would be a stronger candidate if he had an education background and/or had several years involvement with the schools. There are already school committee members with business/finance backgrounds, and we are losing a committee member with deep experience working in public schools. The committee member we elect to replace Lori McEwan should, I believe, have an education background, and Nicole Bucka does.

    Reply
    • Peter carney

      I believe strongly that my background is a clear add to the committee. I don’t know of any current committee members who, before their election to the SC, were responsible for as many teammates or had as much budget responsibility as I do. Plus, I believe having 3 children in EGSD schools for more than 5 years makes me quite capable to speak on key aspects of our District.

      Reply
    • Denise Lopez

      I disagree . Often times too much subject matter expertise leads to the inability of a candidate to listen to all sides and come up with a collaborative solution . This was certainly the case with field trips a few years back . Who knew then there would also be a pandemic ahead and many students have now missed out on years of opportunities that would have enriched their educational experience from a social / emotional and educational perspective.
      Having students across multiple levels of schools in EG makes Peter invested in the district as well as someone giving the everyday parent / student a voice which has been lacking .

      Reply
  4. NICOLE SOMVANSHI

    C, please include your full name should you bother to respond so this can remain a thoughtful conversation. As stated in the beginning of my comment, I was simply asking Mr. Carney to clarify his response to a question about masks for protecting unimmunized children and their family members, which you seem to view as “petty.” Clearly, there are many important issues that our school committee tackles, but Mr. Carney’s introductory statement above only addresses COVID. So, this issue, during a pandemic, seems critical.

    Reply
    • RQ

      Election is today!

      Reply

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