John Holland

John Holland
2011 Candidate for Cambridge School Committee

Home address:
26 Normandy Terrace
Cambridge, MA 02138

Contact information:
Tel: 617-699-8414

Send contributions to:
26 Normandy Terrace
Cambridge, MA 02138

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I would be honored to represent the people of Cambridge on the Cambridge School Committee. I am a father, husband, volunteer and business professional. I have been an active parent serving on a variety of school and community-related committees and boards. Professionally, I am a trusted leader of both the Talent Acquisition and Human Resources Operational functions. My career spans mergers and acquisitions, corporate growth strategy, organizational development and performance transformation.

Career History

Wealth of Human Resources Experience in the Life Science and Financial Services Industries.

  • EMD Millipore Lab Solutions, Global Staffing Manager
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance, Director Corporate Employment
  • Vice President Worldwide Staffing, State Street Corporation


  • BS Business Northeastern University
  • Graduate, Human Resources Management Program Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Activities and Memberships

  • Treasurer, Village of Winnipesaukee Condominium Association, Laconia NH
  • Member, Haggerty School Council
  • Member, St Peters Cambridge Parish Council, Cambridge Mass
  • Volunteer, Cambridge Girls Softball, T-Ball

My wife Susan, who grew up in Cambridge and attended Cambridge Public Schools and I are fortunate to call Cambridge home.

We have two terrific children who both attend Haggerty School. Alexandra grade (5) and Teagan grade (3). I was born and grew up in Somerville Mass, and I am the youngest of (5) five children.

My wife and I like so many of today's parents, both work full time, trying to balance raising children while maintaining careers. I am a Room Parent, School Council Member, and volunteer. I value these experiences which have all prepared me for this exciting opportunity to represent the children, and their families on the Cambridge School Committee. I am seeking a seat because of my desire as a parent and resident to make Cambridge Public Schools the best in the nation. I believe that maintaining a first class school system is the key ingredient for raising productive and successful children, and they are our future.

Top Priorities for School Committee

  • 1. Achievement - commitment to achieve excellence through the innovation agenda and a passionate focus on the students. Our School Departments culture should support teamwork and collaboration to encourage high performance and achievement in our schools.
  • 2. Responsibility - leads to recognition and acceptance of our behavior, decisions and is a prerequisite for sustainable success in the CPS.
  • 3. Transparency - Clearly communicating what we do as a School Committee is more important today than ever before. By presenting the School Committee's decisions in a transparent way, both internally and externally, we create trust among personnel, parents and constituents.

• Achievement – Valuing achievement will make our success possible
Achievement challenges and promotes our students and teachers. Achievement supports the personal development of all our students, and professional development of our teachers, administrators and staff. Achievement can be measured by the results obtained.

  • Consistent data collection and analysis in schools.
  • Continuous and ongoing professional development for teachers and staff.
  • Proven curriculum and community support will result in maximizing our school district achievement.
  • Create a Student Achievement Team consisting of selected teachers, district leaders, a data / technology expert, a community outreach leader and parents.

• Responsibility – Helps determine our actions as a School Committee, thinking of others and results
Responsibility means setting a good example for our children. Responsibility means to work successfully with a diversity cultures and people of Cambridge.

  • Responsibility should determine our decisions, which we as a School Committee should jointly endorse.
  • Responsibility should characterize School Committee behavior towards constituents, school employees, students, teachers and administrators.

• Transparency – Makes Trust possible and ensures our credibility
Transparency is the involvement of all stakeholders through information. Transparency will make School Committee's actions understandable. Transparency will support goal-oriented behavior throughout the Cambridge School District. Transparency creates reliability of information. Transparency promotes the participation of everyone in the CPS to be prepared to accept responsibility.

  • Provide our district with enthusiasm centered around our students and learning
  • Committed to creating a service environment, for our parents and students, interactive and transparent.

School Department Administration and Superintendent
Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent have brought renewed energy, focus and change to the Cambridge Public School system. I support their mission to CPS students in providing them with a wide array of educational opportunities built on a foundation of academic excellence and commitment to social justice. Our schools will be better for it.

Change is never easy. We need the Superintendent and Administration to not only want it, they need to motivate their staffs to want it, and prove it by staying on course, on purpose, and on task when the initial glamour and enthusiasm wear off. It is imperative we retain the Superintendent to finish this project for the district. School Committee must provide oversight and governance to ensure the successful implementation of Innovation Agenda.

The Innovation Agenda
The issue before the CPS wasn't whether to change; with the Innovation Agenda, it's exactly the right time to be considering new approaches. No place needs more innovative thinking than Cambridge middle grades education, but NOT at the expense of our elementary students.

Holding all administrators and teachers accountable for the success of Innovation Agenda is a great idea – only if provided with the proper training and meaningful involvement of their school leadership team. CPS middle grades were ripe for an overhaul -- but before we implement changes, let's make sure the Innovation Agenda treats ALL students fairly.

The Innovation Agenda may be just what our schools need – but since there are many unanswered questions from parents, educators and advocates, let's make sure we find the most effective changes and decide how, and when, to implement them…together.

Controlled Choice, Student Assignment Policies, and the "Achievement Gap"
Controlled choice in Cambridge has pros and cons. Our goal is to be certain all schools will be a school of choice. Controlled choice has not had the positive impact on overall student "Achievement". We need to intervene with under chosen schools and improve quality in those schools, so they will be a chosen school. I would establish an Achievement team to address these issues in the district and they would help schools to become a high achieving school.

When a parent has a question about the application process or which school is best for their child, there be a specialist in the Family Resources Center whose sole job -- is to provide information and support during this process.

Enrichment Programs
Our afternoon enrichment programs should provide:

  • Academic support staff district wide that includes tutoring assistance or hands-on help from the staff and volunteers so students can "catch up and keep up" on their homework.
  • Alignment and better communication between schools and after school programs.
  • Challenging educational activities and fun games that encourage student interest and learning. Learning about other cultures and languages, nutrition, science, reading and math.
  • Opportunities to connect homework with real-world experiences, so students can see first-hand how their education relates to their future.
  • Transportation to these programs for ALL students.

MCAS and Measuring Student Achievement
From my discussions with teachers, using MCAS as single measure of student achievement creates an environment that might interfere with a quality education. The Superintendent, administrators and teachers are accountable for student performance and achievement in the district; I support their leadership and will hold them responsible. The district must provide all schools with the tools and resources of the district to design a system of evaluation with which to ensure a high quality learning environment for ALL students in ALL schools.

I am a strong advocate for the district to support high quality professional development linked to standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Teacher Evaluations, Performance Measures, Contract Negotiations
Cambridge Public Schools have well trained and well compensated teachers. I support teacher evaluations linked to student learning, provided the teachers will receive comprehensive feedback, and identify opportunities for professional development. The goal of teacher evaluation should be to provide assistance where needed, and to recognize and reward talented teachers. In addition, performance evaluations should assist in removing teachers who are not effective and do not improve despite the assistance.

My professional experience enables me to be a valuable contract negotiator. I look forward to contract negotiations which will provide School Committee and teachers an opportunity to align expectations and to update language to reflect existing and anticipated fiscal and district realities. I anticipate all parties to come away with an acceptable agreement.

School Safety and Student Behavior
ALL CPS students, teachers, and administrators must feel safe in their classrooms and schools. The purpose of school is for our children to learn. This can become difficult when students or faculty fear for their own safety in school. Teachers are responsible to help their students learn and grow, but they also need to know how to handle classroom disruptions and ensure safety for all if an incident does occur. Teachers and administrators may face challenging behavioral situations every day. How they are trained to respond determines outcomes, I understand we have developed programs that teach staff to respond effectively. Through professional development I would enhance existing programs to also incorporate how teachers and staff can deal with their own stress, and emotions when confronted with these challenging situations.

Parent Involvement and School Councils
School Councils and Administration most important method for engaging parent's involvement depend on a foundation of good communication. By providing good communication we enable parents to help with homework, volunteer, attend school events, provide school information, and build school community. The diversity among families in CPS provides great challenges but also great opportunities to strengthen or community. This can be achieved through the creation of volunteers to act as ambassadors to their respective communities. We will create customized and effective communications channels to reach ALL CPS parents.

CCTV Candidate Video (2011)

Page last updated Wednesday, September 4, 2013 10:07 AM Cambridge Candidates