102813i-Joyce-Gerber

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Joyce Gerber and her husband, Rick, fell in love with Cambridge more than 20 years ago, early in their marriage, and decided it was the place they wanted to establish roots and raise a family. They have a son in his freshman at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and a daughter a daughter in the seventh grade.

She graduated from Connecticut College in 1987 and worked an administrator and fundraiser for an international nonprofit before returning to school for a certificate in organizational management at Tufts University, then a master’s degree in urban policy at Tufts. Upon finishing the degree she worked as a housing specialist at the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership helping homeless families transition from temporary housing into permanent subsidized housing, but decided to get a law degree. In 1998, she graduated from Northeastern University’s School of Law and gave birth to her first child – sidetracking her career for several years. When she relaunched her legal career, it was as an associate in a civil service law practice with a specialty in family law, where she “discovered that divorce law is not a good match for my inclinations of collaboration.”

A few years ago, upon leaving family law, she was was elected to the Peabody School Council and increased her volunteer commitments. In 2010 she was integral in organizing the Cambridge Citywide School Advisory Group so school communities could meet and discuss issues they would otherwise try to solve alone. “I am proud to have played a part in creating this group and believe it displays my leadership style,” Gerber said. As part of her commitment to forming the group, she pledged to visit as many school communities as possible in 2010, determining along the way that “there are improvements to be made. I believe we need a full-time aide in all classrooms grade JK-2. There needs to be room in every school budget to either hire additional teachers in a co-teacher model or [the district must] agree to level classes in the upper campuses.”

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources

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Gerber’s top three priorities:

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Academics. When elected, I will focus on strengthening math education and work on creating policies that recognize and support our most engaged math students.  I will work with educators to ensure they are able to teach those who are in front of them.  I will not micromanage policy decisions, but will work on drafting policies that allow our teachers to do their jobs and that recognize and support our most advanced learners.

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The arts. I am proud to live in a district that recognizes the importance of creativity in our student’s lives. While other district have cut or eliminated art and music programs, Cambridge continues to fund art and music in all our elementary schools; has expanded the opportunities for our middle-grader students; and our high school has a stellar reputation for the arts and creativity opportunities. These are programs I will continue to support when elected.

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Family engagement. This is the key ingredient to making our good schools great. We know that students who have an adult invested and engaged in their learning will do better in school.  I will continue to support policies that encourage and support family engagement, whether this looks more traditional – as in parent groups or school councils – or the work Cambridge is doing with outreach workers in the communities to help engage families who may not feel comfortable or have an understanding that family engagement is important or possible.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SupRTkrE2c

 

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