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Civics Sunday: Meet the Candidates--Part 1

by The Publishers
April 28, 2019

School Committee

Cynthia Listewnik:

My name is Cynthia Listewnik, and I am running for re-election to the School Committee in the upcoming May 21, 2019 election. I have proudly served Holliston in this capacity for the past 4 years advocating for the diverse needs of our students.

As Chair of the Policy Sub-committee for the past 3 years, I have overseen the 3-year review of all district policies—creating, researching and revising policies in response to the evolving needs of our community and changes to Massachusetts state law. I am fortunate to have worked with such a dedicated team.  As a member of the School Start Times subcommittee, I have met with many representatives from other districts to understand the potential impacts on students and the community. In addition to serving on several search committees and contract negotiating teams, I serve as a liaison to several advisory groups such as the Wellness Council, MSPTO and the Guiding Coalition.  Further, I represent the committee at many of Senate President Spilka’s continuing conversations highlighting Social & Emotional Learning.

A product of Massachusetts public schools, I graduated from Needham High School; attended Skidmore College majoring in Government and Psychology, then received my Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston College.  I maintain an active LCSW license.  Originally from Needham, I moved to Holliston 9 years ago due, in large part, to the excellent reputation of the school system. I live with my husband and three children who attend the Holliston Public Schools in 10th, 6th, and 4th grades.

I have spent my entire career supporting and advocating for the unique needs of children and teens. Currently, as Director of Children and Youth Ministries at the First Congregational Church, I organize all aspects of youth programming from the Sunday School curriculum to Youth Group missions and retreats.  I served as the Director of Residence Life at a small liberal arts college and coordinated the Child Assault Prevention Program for the Town of Needham.

I stand for:

  • An excellent public school system that engages each student’s natural curiosity, fosters creativity and builds upon students’ strengths.
  • Establishing a strategically analyzed budget that balances critical needs with an outlook toward future initiatives and evidenced-based progress.
  • Vigorously lobbying our local and state representatives to reverse the trend of general funding cuts, unfunded mandates, and supporting the implementation of the FBRC recommendations to revise Chapter 70 state funding formula.
  • I remain opposed to “high-stakes” testing such as the MCAS 2.0. These tests create an unnecessary environment of anxiety and detracts from classroom instruction time and real learning.
  • Promoting the Social & Emotional Health of all our students by continuing to advocate for increased mental health staff and services and creating policies that advance these goals.
  • Supporting teachers, administrators and staff who work tirelessly as mentors and role models to encourage our children to be life-long learners and critical thinkers who are also confident and caring individuals.

Thank you for your consideration. I ask for your vote on May 21st.


Park Commissioner

Melissa Kaspern:

As the current Chair of the Parks Commissioners I am asking the community to vote for me for my 3rd term on the Parks Commission. Since joining the Commission in 2013, I have been focused on creating new recreation spaces and increasing programming for the Parks Department, while maintaining and improving the town’s current properties. I worked on the Goodwill Park playground renovation, the tennis and basketball court renovations at Goodwill and Patoma, increased playground equipment at Stoddard, and facilitated the purchase of the new Park’s offices at 1750 Washington St.

I am also the Parks representative for the Community Preservation Commission. This position allows me to hear about projects happening in many areas of town while making recommendations to the general public at town meeting about projects to use CPC funds.

During my time on the commission I have driven the expansion of programming for both adults and children, brought proposals before the Community Preservation Commission on behalf of the Parks Department and collaborated with other town offices to make improvements to the department. A main focus of my next term will be to use the data collected by the Parks and Recreation Master Plan to address improved field maintenance, improvements to Lake Winthrop and beaches, and continue to support the Parks Department staff to provide high quality programming at an affordable price.

In addition to being the Chair of the Parks Commission, I am a Realtor and understand how having quality community recreation spaces make Holliston a desirable town to live in. I am a past President of Holliston Newcomers Club, past Holliston Pantry Shelf Board member and current board member of the Re/Max Charitable Foundation. As a mother of four children, ages 11-18, I am a frequent user/visitor to the many recreation areas in Holliston. I am always thinking of ways we can improve upon our facilities while enjoying all they have to offer. I look forward to serving the town as Park Commissioner for this next term and respectfully ask for your vote on May 21st. 

Next Sunday: Finance Committee Candidate Statements


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Comments (1)

Parks Commissioner...Field readiness in Holliston is unacceptable. I understand,prepping fields for spring is a difficult task. Having run the youth softball program (2012-17),it was a challenge every year, rain or no rain,to ensure that fields be playable. Many times, fields weren't prepared for the season on time, causing schedule disruptions. When this happened, I had no direct person to contact,for simple questions like "when can we expect fields to be ready". Park & Rec? DPW?, HHS Athletics? DPW did a great job,when they weren't busy with another project. HHS Athletic Dept. doesn't have a dedicated person(s) for fields. Does Park & Rec have a crew? It was always someone else's responsibility. Commissioner Kaspern, we need a dedicated crew for town fields,whether it be town employees,or a contractor,and we need it for ALL fields, including HHS. The current softball president is scrambling to get answers for why the HHS field isn't ready,or bases not installed at other fields. Who should she call? Who's accountable? Field readiness is time sensitive. Holliston needs to solve this yearly problem. Other towns have their dirt and grass fields ready before Holliston, EVERY YEAR. I'd like to see how Holliston can do better, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.

- Paul Murphy | 4/30/19 10:05 PM



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