Yan Sun, candidate for School Committee. Credit: EG News
This story was amended June 25 at 7:50 a.m.
Yan Sun decided to run for School Committee after hearing the current School Committee’s goal to move East Greenwich schools within the top 100 in the country.
“That is wonderful, that is about the future of our children, including my own,” she said Tuesday after filing her candidacy papers at Town Hall. “I have been in the education business for more than 10 years and I understand it’s not easy. It’s very challenging, there are many challenges there.”
Sun is an associate professor of computer engineering at URI. Originally from Bejiing, China, she came to the U.S. to earn her masters at the University of Maryland. She stayed to get her Ph.D. on the influence of a great teacher and the power of great teaching has remained with her.
“It’s very rewarding,” she said of teaching.
It’s her dual background she thinks will prove helpful on the School Committee – both her knowledge of education and her computer engineering training.
“I think everyone agrees that we need to measure something but it’s not easy to define what to measure. And this measurement can add more overhead to the teacher’s job or confusion. Or it can be simple and straightforward and make a lot of sense,” she said. “I’m a computer engineer who has done a lot of work on optimization. I’m trained to look at the constraints and define the goals.”
Sun also talked about making sure parents are more fully included in district decisions.
“I think parents need to be involved. Parents provide a wealth of knowledge and perspective so there need to be good channels for everyone to work together,” she said. “We need more transparency. Parents need to know how decisions are made and that they can contribute in the process.”
Yan and her husband have lived in Rhode Island for more than 10 years. They moved to East Greenwich a little over a year ago and have two elementary-age children.
She is running as an independent, but in conjunction with three others who filed candidacy papers Tuesday: Michael Fain, Kristin Lehoullier and David Osborne. All four have been part of a group of parents that’s been attending School Committee meetings this year and meeting independently to discuss school issues.
There are four seats up for election on the School Committee. By midday Tuesday, June 24, the only other candidate to declare was incumbent Jack Sommer, who will be going for a second term. Committee Chairman David Green has also said he will seek a second term. Members Susan Records and Mary Ellen Winters (both of whom have served two four-year terms) have not said whether or not they would run again.
Candidate filing closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday. EG News will have the latest information soon after.