To the editor:

“Education is not the filling of a pail,” said the poet W.B. Yeats, “but the lighting of a fire.”

Public schools can and should provide the spark of curiosity, engagement, creativity and belonging that will enable every student to develop a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, a devotion to understanding, and the capacity to solve problems – in sum, to light up a human life.

This fire is the outcome that my friend and former colleague Sarah Hall believes public schools should provide every child, and it is what she will devote herself to leading Newburyport to attain if you elect her to the School Committee.

Sarah has an unusual ability: she listens to everyone. (It’s actually her superpower.)

She does so calmly, and with genuine interest. She welcomes good ideas from all sources, and she will bring to these ideas her own outstanding ability to plan, to organize, to gather consensus, and to nurture and build momentum until a goal is achieved.

As a parent, an experienced and excellent teacher, and a contributor to our community in so many ways, Sarah knows the schools and our city.

She knows the strengths and the opportunities for growth. More than that, Sarah herself embodies the fire Yeats had in mind.

Education is the key to all good things, including building a better world for ourselves, for children, and for future generations.

Confucius said that, “Education builds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”

Because she cares deeply about all these good things, Sarah decided to run for School Committee.

That is why I will vote for her. I encourage you to vote for her, too.

Mary Jacobsen

Newburyport

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