Smith Middle School

SIT Election for 2011-2013

What is the SIT and why am I being asked to vote?  School improvement teams (SITs) are mandated by state law.  One must exist in every school in North Carolina and include representation of parents/guardians of children who attend the school.  State law mandates that staff members and students at the middle and high school level serve on the team as well.  Students elect their representatives in the Fall.

School Improvement Teams meet monthly and serve a number of purposes:

SITs have five parent/guardian representatives at all grade levels and must be voted in by parents of currently enrolled students. The following candidates are willing to serve as your parent representatives on the SIT.  Please take a moment to read their application statements and vote for two candidates.  Ballots should be sent in to your child’s homeroom teacher or brought to the front office no later than May 13th.

Candidate Application Statements

Julie Brenman

I would like to join the Smith School Improvement team because I think Smith is a great school and want to contribute to make it even better.  I believe the goals laid out in the current plan to strengthen communication, improve student achievement in reading and math and create a quality school environment are essential to improving Smith.  By encouraging a collaborative atmosphere, with high expectations for students, parental responsibility and school accountability, we can build on Smith’s strengths to create an even more successful learning environment.

I have two children, a 7th grader at Smith and a 4th grader at Seawell.  I have been volunteering with the school PTAs since my older daughter was in kindergarten at Seawell.  I have served as Treasurer at Seawell and worked on or chaired various committees at both Seawell and Smith including newsletter, hospitality, fundraising, and a variety of events.  In my professional life, I have experience as a local government manager and UNC faculty with expertise in public administration, strategic planning, organizational development, budgeting and performance management.

I would be honored to be a parent representative on Smith’s SIT and believe my experiences as a parent and professional would allow me to be an effective and hard-working member of the SIT. 

Sherri Carmichael

Hello, my name is Sherri Carmichael and I am a parent of two daughters - a 6th grader at Smith Middle School and a 3rd grader at Estes Hills Elementary.  I am concerned about the recurring annual budget cuts and the resulting impact on our educational system and our children.  Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) were a main draw when we moved to this area six years ago and I want to keep our public school system strong.


My background in human resources and change management consulting along with my current volunteering experience with CHCCS and other non-profits in public relations, budgeting/fundraising and PTA leadership roles qualify me to positively contribute to the work of the SIT.  Most importantly, I am a dedicated mother and classroom volunteer that is enthusiastic about making this quality school even better for students today and in the future!  Thank you for your support.

Mindy Morton

My name is Mindy Morton. I have a rising 6th grader at Smith as well as a rising 4th grader at Seawell, so I will be active at Smith for the next 4 years. A school's environment makes a big difference in a child's feelings toward learning. As a part of the Smith School Improvement Team I would like to help make Smith Middle School a place where all kids feel safe, successful, and comfortable.

I was a classroom teacher for 6 years before parenting, and haven't been able to stay away from the school environment! I have always been an active part of my kids' education and school. I ran the staff appreciation committee at Seawell for two years, was involved with Big Fall Playday at Seawell, was Vice President for Seawell PTA, and initiated and ran the welcome ice cream social at Seawell. Over the past two years while my kids were in attendance at Morris Grove, I helped the new school expand its extracurricular activities. I was in charge of launching and running Odyssey of the Mind and Math Olympiads as well as coaching in both programs. For the past 3 years I have worked for the district as a tutor for elementary aged kids in grades k-5 who are struggling with math and reading. This year I tutor at Seawell and Central Elementary in Hillsborough. My experiences will allow me to bring the prospective and passion of both a parent and a teacher to your school improvement team.

Smith has the reputation of being a stellar middle school. I would like to help further that reputation by helping Smith students of all learning abilities and backgrounds achieve success. My commitment to this end will be evident in my enthusiastic and dedicated service to the SIT.

Bono Sen

My name is Bono Sen, and my son Ishaan Pilant is a rising LEAP 6th grader. We look forward to coming to Smith and I wish to join the Smith Improvement Team (SIT).

My Motivation to serve on the SIT:  

In my current position at NIEHS, I interact with teachers and informal educators from across the state and nation, and also with NC elementary, middle and high school students. Through these experiences, Ishaan’s schooling, and reflecting on my own education in India, I have learned a great deal about our public schools. There is a lot of conversation about the current state of education in our country and how we fare in comparison with other countries. The consensus: we are losing our competitive edge.

As parents, we need to seriously confront this reality and become actively engaged to bring about some changes in the way we educate our children. The truth is that when our children grow up, a solid educational foundation will be key to their success in a highly competitive global workforce.  I want to ensure that all our students get the best education possible during their time at Smith. I believe that my educational, professional, and life perspectives can help make this happen.

Education and Work Experience:


Personality:  Outgoing, communicative and passionate.

Manjula Watson

My name is Manjula Watson and I wish to be nominated as a SIT parent representative. I am new to Smith Middle School and have a sixth grader at Smith and a second grader at Morris Grove. 

I would love the opportunity to be involved in continuing to make Smith Middle School an environment where our children are nurtured and helped to be the best they can, where the staff are happy and appreciated, and where as parents, we will feel  that our children are growing up to be valued and valuable citizens. 

I was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in the UK. In my life prior to being a ‘Mom’ I was an auditor, and I am a qualified Chartered Accountant.   If elected, I feel I will bring to the table a range of experience from working in both the private and public sector organizations where we had to optimize the use of limited funds and had to ensure staff at all levels were being heard and appreciated.  Smith Middle School is a very diverse institution in many ways - culturally and academically.  If I were elected, I would advocate that every student at every level feels they are ready and prepared for whatever they choose to do, that they feel they belong to the Smith community and that they make a difference and will continue to do so.  I would support decisions to enable the administration and staff achieve these goals.

I have been involved in the Chapel Hill Schools in a volunteer capacity for 6 years, helping in my children’s classes as well as being a coach write and this year in the Reading Partners program.  I have seen what a wonderful time my daughter has had at Smith so far and would like to be involved in helping make Smith a place of excellence for all the children.