Meet the candidates for Rochester Memorial School Committee

May 16, 2022

ROCHESTER — Incumbent Sharon Hartley will have a challenger for her seat on the Rochester Memorial School committee. 

Newcomer Melissa Goneau has stepped up to the plate, and it will be up to voters to decide on Rochester’s Election Day on Wednesday, May 25.

Sharon Hartley

Hartley grew up in Mattapoisett and is a graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School. She majored in elementary education and taught first grade at the Rochester Memorial School for 15 years, and has lived in Rochester “all of [her] adult life.” She also spent 15 years as an elementary school principal for two schools in Cape Cod.

Since her retirement, she has coordinated and managed an administrative licensure program for school principals at UMass Dartmouth, as well as serving on the Rochester Memorial School Committee. She also serves as a Director of the Friends of the Rochester Senior Center.

“I have a commitment to give back to my community. Education is my passion and area of expertise,” said Hartley. 

During her tenure on the school committee, Hartley said that she was very proud of her work on the Rochester Memorial School renovation and expansion project, which resulted tin additions to the school in 2011, and for the work that the committee has done in the past few years during “an extremely challenging time in education.”

In her next term, Hartley wants to devote her time to “developing strong practices in literacy” and prioritizing “caring and inclusive” classrooms. 

“I have a proven record of service and leadership and I have the expertise to make a difference,” she said.

Melissa Goneau

Goneau grew up in East Freetown and has lived in Rochester for the past eight years. Her children were in the public school system until she made the decision to homeschool.

“Our future is shaped around our environment and the education we receive,” she said. “Public education continues to be systematically sabotaged and politically driven.”

Goneau says she plans to run as a way of “righting the wrongs.” She says that through her observation, the No Child Left Behind Act seemed to have “everything to do with financial gains and control.” She added that the Common Core is “about complete control over curriculum, data collection, resources, teacher training and other assessment tools.”

She also expressed concern over data collection, and the use of tools like Google Classroom and outsourced surveys. She said that when these concerns were brought to the Rochester Memorial School Committee, they said it was “not a concern.” 

Goneau says she hopes to change that narrative.

“I would like to look into the current curriculum and bring transparency,” she said. “This would allow parents the opportunity to decide to opt into any controversial topics. If elected, I promise to do this job diligently.”