During an ever changing and often challenging environment for education, Pamela Chirls is a strong advocate for what is best for Livingston’s nearly 6,000 students and those who do the important work in our classrooms every day.
As current President and Co-Chair, Negotiating Committee, Pam is seeking a third term on the Livingston Board of Education. She has brought an informed, experienced voice to the Board of Education, one that represents the interest of all students and responds to the concerns of those who provide the important foundation for their intellectual, social, and emotional development. “Our children enjoy a high quality education in the Livingston Public Schools, but that does not mean that we should not always be searching for ways to improve it further,” Pam believes. She has actively worked towards this goal for the past 17 years, bringing her institutional memory and deep experience as a parent, school, and community volunteer to two terms on the Board. In partnership with engaged Board and District colleagues, Pam’s active participation has helped District initiatives move forward:
- Collaborating with staff members, district administrators, and district supervisors to negotiate new contracts for each group.
- Investing in new classrooms, allowing the District to accommodate the small-class-size initiative we started in 2015.
- Investing in state-of-the-art media centers, enabling integrated educational experiences for all of our students, using technology as one tool to support them.
- Encouraging interdisciplinary curriculum programs that are responsive to students’ passions for STEAM and Humanities.
- Supporting the social and emotional needs of each one of our students, with three professionally trained Student Assistance Counselors at Heritage Middle School and Livingston High School and an expanded program at Monmouth Court.
- Supporting an active in-house Professional Development program for all classroom teachers is at the heart of the District’s commitment to those who work with our children each day.
- Attending local, county, and state meetings where issues of community concern are debated and creating resolutions on controversial issues to county and state representatives.
A graduate of Livingston High School, Pam studied political science at Brandeis University and discovered her passion for the publishing business as editor of the campus literary magazine. She is a Portfolio Manager, publishing print and digital titles for college students in two-year and four-year programs in hospitality management and culinary arts. She is also pursuing a M.A. in Counseling with a Specialization in School Counseling at a local university. Pam returned to Livingston in 1998 with her husband, Stuart, knowing that her three children would receive an excellent education. Her family raises Seeing Eye puppies, and you often see them with their ninth puppy, Toni, and career-change puppy, Esma.
Pam’s school and community experiences have prepared her to become the proactive Board member she has been for the past two terms. She wants to continue this work during another term, collaborating and partnering with those who are committed to the quality of education in Livingston. These early activities have informed her day-to-day work with Board, District, and Community colleagues:
- Strategic Planning Committee. Pam has taken an active role in the development of the Strategic Plan, first as a parent representative and now as a board member. This plan outlines the core beliefs and the strategic goals for four identified strands, each of which informs the day-to-day decisions of Livingston Public Schools.
- Grade Weighting Committee. Pam was a member of the first working team to assess grade weighting structure at Livingston High School, with an adjustment that now allows a full-credit 4.0 for each student who earns an A. This committee also made suggestions about equitable access to the curriculum, which encourages students to freely and responsibly pursue their academic passions.
- Middle School Sports Ô Gifted and Talented Art and Music Committee. Pam was a member of the first working team to assess middle school sports and g/t art and music programs. As a result, elementary and middle school students have been taking part in g/t art and music, and students have been participating in middle school sports under the management of the YMCA. These programs are the basis for healthy lifestyles at a critical time in their social, emotional, and physical development.
- Parent Advocate Group for Excellence, District Chair. In coordination with teachers and administrators, Pam organized and supervised social programs for children who participate in the g/t academic program, and she also designed and ran parent education programs to address areas of interest.
- School Committees. Pam was a leadership team representative, a publicity committee chair, a budget task force representative, and a classroom mother at Riker Hill School, and was a school safety team member at Livingston High School.
- Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee. Pam was recognized by LMAC for organizing parent education programs and coordinating them with school-based programs for administrators, teachers, and students. She has created programs with bestselling authors including Rachel Simmons and Wendy Mogel; informational programs with highly regarded psychologists such as Maurice Elias and Matt Bellace; and film screenings like Race to Nowhere, which fostered discussions around the topic of student stress, and the upcoming Bully, which will feature a discussion led by the movie’s creator. Pam worked with media specialists and counselors to create The Toolbox of Character, a booklist that aligns with the guidance curriculum, enabling parents of elementary school students to support the character education lessons that are delivered in their children’s classrooms.