If front-line City, District and neighborhood experience add up to institutional knowledge, it would be difficult to find an individual with the depth and breadth that City Councilwoman Glendowlyn Thames brings to the table.  With firsthand awareness of citizens’ concerns and the past decade of Hartford school improvement efforts, her perspective is right on time as responses to the City’s budget crisis unfold.

Now chair of the City Council’s Operations, Management, Budget, and Government Accountability Committee, Councilwoman Thames worked for seven years in the administration of former Mayor Eddie Perez, serving as a community liaison and director of constituent services.  She also worked under former Hartford School Superintendent Christina Kishimoto as special assistant for major projects – as the strategic themes of Third Grade reading readiness, middle school redesign, and college and career readiness were being developed and implemented.

Currently, Ms. Thames is director of small business innovations for CT Innovations.

Today, she said in a recent interview, her priorities are “founded in the fact that we have a situation where we have neighborhood schools that are in dire straits.  How do we tackle that?  We just have to reflect and be honest with ourselves to ensure that we are providing equity across all of our schools, both neighborhood and magnet.”

In keeping with the Council’s role in funding schools, its role also extends to making policy for the City that helps families do the best for their children and the community.

The Council’s role is centered on partnership support, but it is important to emphasize alertness to the “consumers” of education – children and families, she maintained.  In her experience, she added, “What often gets lost is the instruction – the quality of instruction – and ensuring that school principals understand that they are the instructional leaders.”

Councilwoman Thames has a unique lens into the Hartford school improvement picture.  With all that is at stake in the fiscal crisis at hand, her perspective is invaluable.