Candidate questionnaire: Lya Batlle-Rafferty

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Lya Batlle-RaffertyPosition being sought: School Committee

Party affiliation: Democrat

Occupation: Senior principal scientist with a focus on data science

Education: Bachelor’s in cognitive science, master’s in adult education and training

Years lived in Hopkinton: 5

Governmental experience: Board of Assessors (three years), chair this past year

Additional volunteer/service experience: I am the co-founder of Pittsburgh Data Jam, a non-profit big data competition for high schoolers across multiple school districts. I co-ran it from its inception until it was fully established at three years. I also participated in the Steel City Civic Hackathon, a hackathon specifically geared toward creating apps for non-profits. We built a peer counseling app for teenagers that secured a grant.

General statement: My name is Lya Batlle-Rafferty and I am running for School Committee.
In our current climate of growth in the school system, budget expansion and enrollment projection challenges, I believe that the ideal candidate is one who has prior experience with school boards as well as data analysis and financial management.

I served on the board of trustees for two non-profit schools when our family lived in Pittsburgh. I was a co-founder of the PTA there and served with that group for eight years. In the meantime I worked with Pittsburgh Dataworks, a big data consortium, to initiate and run a high school competition across multiple school districts. From my tenure on the Hopkinton Board of Assessors I gained an appreciation for the importance of careful scrutiny of the budgets, which affect our everyday lives.

I am running to support our students and community in several ways:

— As an immigrant and a Latina, I will continue the committee’s work on diversity and inclusion.

— I will bring my experience on the Board of Assessors forward and participate in our budgetary analysis with a focus on empathy toward all members of our community.

— As a data scientist, I will bring a discerning eye to our school projection vetting.

— As a parent of children who benefited from student services in our school system, I look forward to helping to ensure that all students have ready access to the help they need.

I respectfully ask for your vote on June 29.