Anping Shen has been a proud Newton resident since 1988. The veteran education specialist at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is running for Newton School Committee’s Ward 3 seat, which Angela Pitter-Wright is vacating.
Both of Shen’s children attended public schools in Newton. Shen’s elder son Jason graduated from Newton North High School in 2004 and attended Stanford University on a gymnastics scholarship. His daughter Amy will graduate from Newton North in 2017. Shen’s wife Shixin is a gymnastics instructor.
“My son Jason would not be successful without the excellent education he received from the Newton Public Schools,” Shen said. His son’s schoolboy antics were worked into a book Shen co-authored in 2014 “Alternative Perspective on American Education” a collection of articles on education. Jason had been bullied in elementary school and Shen was impressed with the district’s response.
“The African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is so true,” Shen said. “That’s why I wrote about Jason’s experience. Newton is my home and I want to give back out of gratitude.”
Shen was involved with the Newton Chinese Language School since 1990, first serving on the parent council and later elected to be a principal. With the school’s student enrollment increasing, Shen established the board of directors and served as the first board chairman. His expertise in curriculum development and school administration gave him insight into the management of a flourishing heritage community Chinese language school. Under his leadership, the Chinese school grew from less than 100 students to more than 1,000 students today. Today, Newton Chinese Language School is the largest legacy Chinese language school in the New England region.
Shen’s campaign manager Yongqi Deng said, “Anping’s passion for education is evident, as he did not help the Chinese school for money or recognition. He put in hours drafting bylaws that ensured the school’s stability.”
Newton resident Anne Larner is no stranger to the School Committee, having served on it for 16 years. She currently serves on the Newton City Charter Commission and had the opportunity to work with Shen over the years on district and parenting matters.
“Anping has such a gracious manner, he comes across clearly as a person with strong opinions, but a kind person,” Larner said. “He has a problem-solving approach to things. Over the years when his kids faced issues, he didn’t go into their schools and pound desks.”
Shen ran for school councils at his children’s elementary schools and high school. His platform seeks to engage, educate and empower. Shen is part of a WeChat parents group with 500 members, who discuss everything from math standards to Newton’s test scores compared to other districts. He hopes to be a bridge, conveying their concerns to the committee and relaying to parents how American education works.
To help parents at the local Chinese language schools in Newton and great Boston metropolitan area, Shen has taught parenting classes and has regularly provided workshops, explaining different pathways to successful careers. Shen also promotes balance between academics and extracurricular activities, for children to be less stressed so they can truly love learning. Shen’s educational philosophy is that quality education should be the whole education of a whole child.
“This is a personal fulfillment of my work as an educator,” Shen said. “It’s time to step up and be at the table when educational policies are being made.”
For more information about Shen, please visit https://anpingshen.wordpress.com/.
This post is also available in: Chinese