Traphagen: ‘I’m pretty ready’

By Jon Bishop

HARVARD — Mary Traphagen, one of the two new members of the School Committee, said she had been thinking about running for the seat she currently holds for a couple of years.

“I’ve been talking with Patty Wenger and SusanMary (Redinger), and they definitely encouraged me to think about it,” she said.

Once she learned Wenger and Bob Sullebarger would not seek re-election, she knew it was time.

Traphagen, a preschool teacher at Village Nursery School, has served on the Hildreth Elementary School council for the past six years, and she figured the School Committee would allow her to stay involved with the running of the schools.

“I’m pretty ready,” she said. “I know I have a ton of stuff to learn, and I’m also sort of excited about that.”

She called the current committee “a very diverse group of people.”

“I think that’s great,” she said.

She said she’ll add the following to the committee — a balanced judgment, a willingness to see the big picture and “a definite willingness to soak it all up and learn as much as I can.”

To her, the biggest issues facing the schools are the budget and money.

“I know we have a good collaboration with Devens. I hope that continues,” she said, referring to the contract between Harvard schools and Devens students.

If the district no longer educates Devens students, then it is looking at a money problem, she said.

Also, the district needs to do better with technology use in the classroom, she said.

Asked about her specific vision, she said she’d like to see some of the teachers be able to integrate their passions into what they teach — whether it’s music or art of cooking.

“I think in some ways a lot of the creativity of teaching has been taken away from them by the state,” she said.

Allowing teachers to be more creative will let them to reach students in a different way, she said.

But even though they often try, they are still bound by state standards.

“It’s a balance that they have to do every day,” she said.

Her favorite thing about the district is its personnel.

“I’d have to say the faculty, the staff, the administration,” she said. She has worked alongside teachers at the council level, and because she has four children, she has met many of the teachers who work in the district.

“I’ve had really good interactions, really good relationships,” she said. “The faculty are just, across the board, an extremely dedicated … faculty,” adding that she “couldn’t really ask for any better.”

Outside of work and public service, she enjoys running and swimming.

“I like to do the Harvard triathlon every year,” she said. She likes to be outside as often as she can, she said.

She also likes to travel.

“I love to go places,” she said.

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