Communication is really important to Yan Sun, who is running for School Committee. Sun, 38, is an associate professor in computer engineering at the University of Rhode Island.
If elected to the School Committee, said Sun in an interview Monday, “I really want to hear what the community has to say and respond to that.”
Sun also wants to focus on what she called “smart spending.” While acknowledging that the School Committee doesn’t have a lot of leeway when it comes to the budget, she argued that it’s always possible to find resources for really important programs. And sometimes those upfront costs will reap financial savings down the road.
For instance, she said, all-day kindergarten comes with a big price tag, but it could give some children the boost they need so they won’t require extra help later.
Sun said her background in technology would add an important knowledge base to the School Committee.
“I’m an expert in technology. I understand technology,” she said. “When we make a decision to adopt a technology, I can help the community understand the consequences.”
To that end, Sun said she’d heard some positive feedback on the rollout of Chromebooks for students at East Greenwich High School (such as lighter backpacks and an easier way to submit homework) but she thought the district made some missteps.
“I don’t think there was enough communication between parents and students and even teachers,” she said. “That communication I feel can be improved upon. In order to get the most out of the new technology, it’s not just about the hardware, it’s about the teachers and students – are they aware of all the potential uses? Does the community really understand how to make the most out of this technology?”
With regard to working on the School Committee, Sun said she is very effective in group settings.
At URI, she said, “I work with groups all the time. A group will always have common goals – like making the schools better. When we focus on the common goal, that sets up the foundation for collaboration.”
You can find out more about Yan Sun on her Facebook page here. To watch Sun and four other the other six School Committee candidates, here’s a link to videos from the EG News Candidates Forum Oct. 16 at New England Tech.