Name: Dr. Shaun M. Filiault
How long have you lived in Keene: Born and raised in Keene; several years away for education
Family: Father, Randy Filiault Mother, Holly Filiault
Education: Juris Doctor, University of New Hampshire
Master of Laws, Boston University
Doctor of Philosophy (Health Psychology), University of South Australia
Keene High School graduate
Occupation: Law Clerk, Bragdon, Baron & Kossayda, P.C.
Adjunct Professor, River Valley Community College
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged:
American Bar Association
American and Fitness Association of America
Appointed member, City of Keene Human Rights Committee
Judicial Law Clerk, United States District Court for District of Massachusetts (2016-17)
Why are you running for the Keene Board of Education, and what would be your priorities if elected?
I’m running for Keene’s School Board because I support our educators and I have the experience in education and policy to make a difference. I’m a Keene High graduate and care deeply for my hometown’s schools. I can bring my global educational experience to the Keene School District.
I support Article 9, which would promote a livable wage for Keene’s tutors. Additionally, our School Board must communicate effectively with the community. The lesson of the past year is that many interested parties feel left behind by a District administration that hasn’t let the community know what’s happening in the schools. Finally, I believe the District must effectively address the allegations of teacher violence that have become more prominent over the past year. That process also begins with better communication.
Do you believe the district’s spending needs to be reduced? If so, please give some examples of the types of cuts you would endorse.
I believe the District needs to spend smartly; however, room for cuts are minimal. Obviously, we must be wise towards unnecessary spending. For example, Wilson Dam doesn’t make the grade because it has nothing to do with education.
Yet, as demonstrated in the recent ConVal/Monadnock case, an education is expensive – over $15,000 per student. However, the State only provides less than $4,000 per pupil. What we need to do is advocate for the State to meet its Constitutional requirement to fund an adequate education. For too long, the State has shirked its responsibility to communities. We need local leaders who will fearlessly advocate for New Hampshire communities and demand we get our fair share as required by law.
Given the public pushback the board and district have received on moves such as changing school start times and moving to competency-based student assessments, do you feel there needs to be a different approach to involving the community in major decisions?
Absolutely! I’ve canvassed hundreds of Keene residents and their message is universal: they are tired of being left in the dark. The community must better engaged and better informed before such major decisions are implemented.
The District needs to find new and creative ways to get its message out. Simply reliance on Facebook and public access TV isn’t working. While some residents will always want more, when the message being relayed is that few residents felt the communication given was adequate, that message should be taken seriously. Transparency is a must. Better communication is a must. The District needs to strive toward both.
The Keene Education Association, a union, has raised concerns about workplace safety, amid reports of injuries to teachers. Should the district do more to address those concerns and, if so, what should that be?
As a Keene High graduate, this issue concerns me the most. Every student deserves a safe school and every educator deserves a safe workplace. I’ve spoken to dozens of Keene educators and their stories of workplace injuries are heart-wrenching. This issue is real. As an experienced educator – who has worked in higher education administration – and as a person who has worked in our nation’s courts, I bring a broad perspective to this issue. I know it is complex. There are no easy answers, but I am prepared for the challenge.