Sponsor: Straight A Academy & TBD
- Mrs. Ann Marie Banfield, Education Liaison for Cornerstone Policy Research
- Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Superintendent of Schools for the Manchester, NH School District
- Mr. Felix Alvarado, Head Master, Straight A Academy
- Mr. David Thibault, Superintendent of Schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester
Browse the “Is Our Children Learning?” segment archives.
About “Is Our Children Learning?”
Yes, the phraseology is intentional, not a grammatical error! In tis segment, we explore the state of our government school system in Manchester, it’s surrounding areas, the state of New Hampshire, the United States and around the world. We examine organizational concepts and management, state and federal mandates, educational trends in curriculum, standards and assessment, home schooling, charter schools, school choice, unions, alternative educational models, parental rights and responsibilities, the role of religion and OOOHHH sooo much more! It’s a one of a kind discussion of the issues surrounding public education and it’s ONLY on Girard at Large!
About our anchors:
Ann Marie Banfield
Ann Marie began volunteering as Cornerstone’s Education Liaison in 2009. As an education researcher and activist, she took her decade long research on education to Concord to lobby on behalf of parental rights and literacy. She also frequently appears before local school boards at the request of residents who are working to address a variety of school issues. Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education. Ann Marie also has a way of asking questions the “educates” don’t much care to have asked. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus, OH. Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Bedford, NH.
Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas
Bolgen is Manchester’s twentieth superintendent. He came to the United States as a 17 year old immigrant from the Dominican Republic, settling in New York City. He spoke no English. Growing up, he had little more than two hours of education a day and received his middle school education from a radio program. Despite entering high school in the United States without knowing any English, he graduated in three years and went on to the State University of New York at Brockport, earing a BA degree in International Studies in 1985. From there, he obtained his MS in Educational Counseling in 1991, also from SUNY Brockport. Finally, he obtained Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. The title of his Doctoral Dissertation is Educational Success in the Face of Adversity as Measured by High School Graduation. It was accepted with distinction.
In May 2011, he was appointed as Interim Superintendent of the Rochester City School District, an urban district with more than 30,000 students and a budget more than $800 million and 6,000 employees. He successfully addressed a $76 million budget gap, brought a relentless focus on student achievement, drove the effective and efficient allocation of resources, and developed strong communication and collaboration with all stakeholders. Following a national search, he was appointed and served as superintendent from July, 2012 to December, 2015, where he addressed the structural budget deficit and was able to shift resources to expand vital services to students and to reinvest in art, music, sports, extracurricular activities, special education, English language learners, and career and technical education.
Prior to serving as Rochester, NY’s superintendent, Vargas worked as a guidance counselor in the Greece, NY Central School District from September, 1991 to May, 2011. From January, 1996 to December, 2003, he was a member of the Rochester City School Board of Education. He was elected by his peers to serve as President of the Board from 1998 to 2002. He drew heavily from his experience both as an elected school board member and a superintendent to discuss how he would work with the Manchester Board of School Committee and help define the relationship between him and it during his interviews with the committee and the board.
Mr. Felix Alvarado
Superintendent David Thibault
Dave Thibault has served as a teacher and administrator in both public and Catholic schools. He previously served as the Executive Director of Camps Fatima and Bernadette and is a Catholic school parent. As superintendent, he leads the mission, vision and strategic action for the twenty-one schools in the Diocese. A resident of Newport, NH, Dave enjoys fishing and spending time with his wife and nine children.