Shantaw Bloise-Murphy To Run For Nantucket School Committee
Jason Graziadei •
Shantaw Bloise-Murphy was having a discussion about the upcoming town election last week when she found out no one was running for the School Committee seat being vacated by Rocky Fox.
“I had a realization that I could sit around and complain about it, or step up and be about it,” Bloise-Murphy told the Current.
And so the 2009 graduate of Nantucket High School pulled nomination papers and is gearing up to run for one of the two open seats on the committee. The other incumbent, Dr. Tim Lepore, is currently running unopposed for reelection.
“I was a little disappointed to find out that no one had come forward,” Bloise-Murphy said. “That disappointed me because I have the utmost respect for our district employees, from our custodians to the cafeteria workers, front desk staff and our teachers.”
Bloise-Murphy, who last year was named the town of Nantucket’s new director of culture and tourism, recalled the public school staffers who had an impact on her own education - people like Peter Panchy, Anne Phaneuf, and Cathy Lepore to name a few - as some of the reasons why she was jumping into the School Committee race.
“We need to be dedicated to the people who are seeing our kids on a daily basis,” Bloise-Murphy said. “Dedication to them is dedication to the future leaders of Nantucket, quite frankly.”
Among the areas Bloise-Murphy said she would like to focus on in her campaign and on the committee if she is elected: creating a more diverse school district staff that reflects the student body, establishing a work environment that would help the school attract and retain new teachers, and developing a more representative curriculum.
“I would love to see the staff be more representative of the student body and community as a whole,” she said. “We have so much amazing talent in this community. I would love to see a healthy and comfortable work environment to attract those members of our community.”
Regarding the curriculum, Bloise-Murphy said she would “love to see a more representative curriculum. Being a student at NHS, a past student, I’ve had some very spirited debates. I’m thinking about the 15-year-old me. Any teacher who had to deal with me knew I wasn’t a shy child. A Lot of times I didn't agree with the curriculum because I thought it was skewed in a certain direction. And I’m thinking about the fact now that not much has changed.”
While it’s not yet clear if Bloise-Murphy will be running against anyone (the deadline to return nomination papers if 5 p.m. on Wednesday), she has already earned a key endorsement from the very person she is seeking to replace on the committee: Rocky Fox.
“I 100 percent endorse her candidacy,” Fox told the Current. “It’s twofold for me: any committee that involves kids should reflect the study body. And seeing as though the district is at 52 percent people of color, I think we should have someone of color on that committee. And I can’t think of a better person than Shantaw. I think she’ll be a great candidate because of who she is and what I know of her. I don’t think the school community could ask for a better person to take my seat.”