Today, as we continue with our blog series “Meet the School Board”, we are sharing a special Q&A with new Georgia School Board member Ben Chiappinelli. Stay tuned for more and view earlier posts in this series here.
Q: Can you tell us why you were interested in serving on the School Board?
Ben: I have really fond memories of attending GEMS in the 1980’s. Not only was it an enjoyable childhood experience, but the outstanding teachers and faculty (many of whom I still see at school today) did an outstanding job preparing me for achieving my future goals. Now that I have two young children enrolled in GEMS, I want to be a part of ensuring that they are given the same phenomenal experience I had at their age.
Q: What excites you most about education at GEMS?
Ben: What excites me most about education at GEMS is the people, both the educators that work with our children and the community that supports them. Having so many good people involved in our children’s education gives us a bright future; we are helping to shape what will become the adults of this community someday, future leaders that will hopefully want to reinvest in this town the way I and so many of my GEMS classmates have.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and hobbies/activities that you enjoy?
Ben: My family moved to Georgia when I was 5. I graduated from GEMS, BFA St. Albans, and then Bowdoin College in Maine. I have always had a passion for film, and this has evolved into a career for me spanning entertainment, news and advertising. My wife and I love travel and music and friendly competition, and we have been fortunate enough to see these all embraced by our children as well.
Q: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing students in our education system?
Ben: I think that technology is one of the largest challenges for our students. As adults, many of us are already struggling to balance the role that technology plays in our own lives; what used to be VCR’s and desktop computers are now iPads and smartphones. I want to make sure that we are meeting our responsibility to our children to help them achieve the best use of the time they spend plugged in, to make them aware of the strength and vulnerability of their online identity, and to encourage them to be ethical in the way that they interact with the global online community.
Welcome to the School Board, Ben!