With her legal expertise, practical experience, and ties to the Haverford Township School District community, attorney Antoinette Snodgrass is a uniquely qualified school board candidate.
Currently serving as litigation associate with a national law firm, Antoinette is trained in education law, contracts and tax law, and she has expertise crafting and understanding complex contractual documents. These are all areas that are relevant to school board functions. For example, her perspective will be invaluable for reviewing new and old district policies. Further, Antoinette has the critical eye of a lawyer and would continually look for strengths and weaknesses in district policies, while seeking the most effective ways to meet the district’s goals.
As the parent of two young children, one enrolled at Chestnutwold Elementary School, Antoinette will serve as a representative for young, dual-income families. “I have direct, current experience with the school district and its constituents. I talk to parents of children in the district every day,” she explains, “I will represent students and families on every issue that comes before the board.”
Antoinette’s commitment to families is evident in her views regarding closure of the old Brookline School, which housed Family Support Services’ popular K-Club and Pre-K programs. Displacing these programs has left a “void” for families who relied upon them, she says, adding that repercussions may continue for years to come. Although school directors are not legally required to assist in this matter, Antoinette believes they should not turn away from what is, in reality, a community issue. She would encourage colleagues to partner with township officials, parents and community organizations in the search for “creative solutions” to the township’s childcare deficits.
Antoinette considers recent increases in student population among the district’s greatest challenges. This academic year, enrollment exceeded projections in four elementary schools, as well as in grades 6, 7, 9 and 11. Although these increases have caused “growing pains,” they also demonstrate that young families are choosing Haverford, said Antoinette. The district has taken positive steps by planning for construction of a new Lynnewood Elementary School, she noted, as well as expansion/renovation at Haverford High School. Additional construction may be necessary, depending on “whether the trend for increased enrollment continues.” She notes that “we wouldn’t want to build buildings that don’t have any students in them in a few years. So that will depend on the data.”
Going forward, Antoinette believes the school district should continually look for new ideas and inspiration. Haverford should explore, for example, new policies that neighboring school districts are implementing, to see how they’re working and whether such policies would benefit Haverford students. Antoinette noted that some districts have changed, or are considering changes, to middle and high school start times to better align with pre-teen and teenagers’ sleep schedules. But she cautions that any change would require careful study and deliberation. Antoinette is very excited about her candidacy. She’s eager “to get to work on every aspect of student learning in our district, and ensure that Haverford schools are synonymous with excellence.”