To the editor:

At a recent public forum, candidates for the Haverhill School Committee were asked what they would consider the most pressing issue facing students in our local school system.

Gail Sullivan unequivocally answered, “Reading!”

She then added to her answer by saying, “I am a passionate advocate for children.”

This advocacy began when Sullivan moved to Haverhill right after graduate school to become the reading specialist at Whittier Vocational Technical High School. What she learned from her students was that being a proficient reader is essential to being successful in school and afterward. She found that reading proficiency is the most significant indicator of high school graduation.

In her role as head of the Finance Subcommittee of the Haverhill School Committee, Sullivan has advocated for increasing reading interventionists for schools.

She is also a founding member of Haverhill Promise, a community organization that is part of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, which promotes partnerships between schools, parents, community members and businesses to support the goal of all students reading well by the end of third grade.

Since reading proficiency goes hand in hand with school attendance, Sullivan also became part of the district’s work to reduce chronic absenteeism.

She remarked that her father often said, “Education is the path to success.”

She chimes in and adds, “I want our children to rise.”

I hope Haverhill residents will join me in voting to re-elect Gail Sullivan to the Haverhill School Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Jane Thiefels

Haverhill

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