Birk the second write-in candidate for school board

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 6:30pm

As the parent of a child whom she described as a “high level functioning special needs student,” Eileen Birk said she has been “the voice” for her child in her school system in Connecticut for years.

She sees being a member of the Block Island School Committee in an expanded way: being a voice for all students and their teachers. That’s why Birk said she is running as a write-in candidate for School Committee this year. Her name will not appear on the ballot, as will be the case with the other write-in candidate, Kara Stinnett.

Birk said she wants to play a role to help Block Island students be “fully prepared for what’s out there.” This would be not to just prepare them for college, but for life, as well. “Not everyone ends up in a traditional four-year or two-year college,” she said. “Not everyone is cut from that same cloth. We have to take a look at each fiber.”

She said she also wants to give back to a community that has been so welcoming to her and her family. Her son Mark graduated from the Block Island School last year, and she runs Island Fitness at the Block Island Maritime Institute. “My husband said it best: ‘I’ve never felt more of a part of a community.’ It’s amazing. People in the community care.”

Given her role as a trainer, Birk said she is also interested in “doing anything I can do to get a child involved that doesn’t involve” staring at a screen. She called the kids on Block Island “pretty incredible.”

She said her style will be to listen. “The second you think you know everything, you’re ineffective,” Birk said. “If you walk in with your own agenda, you’ll lose sight of why you’re there. You’re there for the kids.”

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Ballots will be cast at Town Hall.