Name: Ilyse Levine-Kanji
Address: Levine-Kanji has been a Westborough resident for 12 years and resides at 11 Rocklawn Rd.
Family: She lives with her husband, Shamez, and their two children, 4th grader Troy and 6th grader Sam.
Previous/Current public service: Currently the chairperson of the school committee, Ilyse Levine-Kanji is seeking re-election to a second three-year term. She served as co-president of the from 2006 to 2008 and has chaired many fundraisers and community building activities for the and the Special Education Parents Advisory Council.
Employment: Prior to having children, she practiced employment law in San Francisco and Boston. Levine-Kanji said that she considers School Committee and other volunteer commitments to be her current occupation.
Why do you want this position?
I truly enjoy my work on the School Committee. The experience I’ve gained these past three years will make me an even more effective member going forward. I will continue to work to ensure optimal class sizes, focus on making decisions in the best interest of students, prioritize 21st Century skills, advocate for Westborough’s equitable share of state education funding, and prioritize our limited resources to ensure the best people are in front of our students. Today’s students are our future. We must provide them with the skills to address tomorrow’s problems and to compete successfully in a global economy.
What do you feel are the biggest issues facing the School Committee?
The biggest challenge facing the School Committee is how to maintain the excellent quality of our programs in a time of financial hardship. Over the past three years we’ve closely reviewed many aspects of our system searching for ways to save money without impacting students’ learning. We’ve lessened our energy and transportation expenses and kept our supplies budget at a 0% increase for the past three years. We’ve also diligently searched for additional revenue sources, like partnerships with local businesses, grant writing, and meeting with legislators to advocate for Westborough’s equitable share of state aid. This work should continue.
How do you plan to affect change?
I will continue to drive for incremental change using a collaborative and fact based approach.We have a talented and dedicated staff, led by Superintendent Marianne O’Connor, whom our School Committee wisely hired last year.Our district receives consistent accolades in all areas -- academics, athletics, fine arts – including a National School of Character designation for Mill Pond, one of just 13 schools recognized nationwide. Boston Magazine has ranked in the top 20 schools for the last three years. In 2008, the last year that Boston Magazine ranked schools based on cost efficiency, it ranked WHS #15.
Fun Fact: Levine-Kanji has taken ballet very seriously throughout her life and still takes an adult class at Boston Ballet's Newton studio a few times a week.