Haverford Township School Board candidates endorsed by HT Democratic Party
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Kristin Larsen, Latanya King, Kim McKay, Danielle Vitale
Kristin Larsen was elected to the School District of Haverford Township (SDHT) Board of School Directors in 2017. In her four years on the Board, Larsen has emphasized transparency between SDHT’s operations and the public, as well as support for the district’s BASIS program (Belonging and Sociocultural Identities in Schools). She serves on the Steering Committee for the Delco Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools Initiative, which is working to create a long-term, sustainable and strategic plan to improve the mental health, behavioral health and substance use treatment for school aged children throughout Delaware County. Larsen also served as the School Board Representative to the Parent/Guardian Equity Team, which works to foster an equitable, inclusive and anti-racist climate in our schools. Along with fellow Board members and District administrators, Larsen was thrust into pandemic management last spring, working through the many COVID-19-related decisions that federal and state government left in the hands of local leaders. Faced with a no-perfect-solutions situation, Larsen has endeavored to work with her Board colleagues to make policy based on the best information and limited local resources available. She remains committed to safe and responsible approaches to full-time, in-person learning.
Larsen’s work on the Board is informed by her 16 years of professional education training and experience as a school leader, certified teacher, and education researcher. She holds an M.Ed. in Multicultural/Multilingual Education from George Mason University and is in the final stages of her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) dissertation in Reading/Writing/Literacy at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Larsen is the English Language Development (ELD) K-5 Curriculum Specialist for the School District of Philadelphia, where she aligns content and language standards to support English learner students, designs professional development for administrators and instructional staff, and manages ELD curriculum and instruction initiatives. She lives in Havertown’s Ward 3 with her husband, Jon, and is the proud parent of two future Chestnutwold students.
Latanya S.H. King
A 15-year resident of Haverford Township, Dr. King has a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and teaches courses at Rosemont College and Saint Joseph’s University on Development, Cognition, and Learning; Child Development; Addiction & the Family; and Multicultural Counseling. She has also served as a Clinician/Evaluator at the Joseph J. Peters Institute in Philadelphia and as a Staff Therapist at the Council for Relationships in Wynnewood.
King is the mother of a 2nd-grader at Chestnutwold, has a 3-year-old headed for Chestnutwold, and has a 14-year-old stepson who is a student in a different school district. As a parent,she has participated in classroom and school-wide activities, district initiatives, and the Parent-Teacher Organization. When asked, she agreed to serve on the Parent/Guardian Equity Team because of her commitment to making progress with the district’s BASIS program and because of her understanding that each student’s individual success is linked to each classroom’s support of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. King would bring to the HT School Board the unique perspective of a clinician-teacher, as well as her expertise in the impact of trauma, abuse, and family addiction on the individual student. She currently serves on the Delaware County Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disability Advisory Board. Along with her husband and children, King lives in Ward 6.
Dr. Kimberly McKay has over 20 years of experience as a social worker in the field and teaching social work at the university level. She has worked with youth as a school social worker and as an outpatient therapist for children and families. McKay has also co-facilitated a number of trainings for the Philadelphia school district staff and university faculty aimed at designing inclusive learning environments that respect all students and support their development at every age.
These professional experiences, combined with her personal experience as the parent of a 9th grader and a 7th grader in the Haverford schools, will inform McKay’s approach to her work on the school board. She knows that the strength of any community lies in the strength of its public education and its collective support of children. She has witnessed the importance of schools and families working together to create classrooms where students and teachers can thrive. As a member of the Haverford Township School Board, McKay will use a practical approach to policy-making that is grounded in evidence and compassion.
McKay, who resides in Ward 5, grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and earned degrees in Child & Family Development and in Social Work from the University of Utah. After many years of working as a social worker, McKay earned a Master’s in Education and PhD in Social Work at Widener University. She has taught at several local universities and has worked with Temple University’s School of Social Work for the past six years. Her work at Temple earned her the School of Social Work Teaching Award and the Temple University Outstanding Faculty Service Award.
Danielle Camaratta Vitale
Danielle Vitale has been a parent leader at Lynnewood Elementary School for the last eight years. She brings her varied experience as an on-site volunteer to her campaign for a seat on Haverford’s Board of School Directors. Starting out as a homeroom parent, Vitale took on leadership of Lynnewood’s May Day Carnival and its Graduation Committee – two jobs that attract few volunteers even though the programs benefit all in the school community. She also started an after-school club program at Lynnewood for students who have interests outside of sports. This innovation reflects Vitale’s strong support for the BASIS program; she knows that all students should feel they belong in their school’s classrooms and extra-curricular activities. After two years as Lynnewood’s PTO Secretary, Vitale became PTO President in 2017.
Vitale is trained as a speech language pathologist, having earned a B.A. in Communications Science and Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland. Vitale has used her skills in both hospital and school settings and would bring her knowledge of special-needs students to her work on the School Board. She would also bring her direct COVID experience with her three sons’ online education in 8th grade, 6th grade, and 1st grade. Supervising her sons’ school work from her home in Ward 4 has, she says, given her “a front row seat to the technological, academic, social, and emotional challenges” faced by teachers, students, and parents in our school district.