Keith Benard

Biography & Background Experience

  • Education: Bridgewater State College (1992) and University of Phoenix (2011)
  • Current Employment: Systems Integrator for InterSystems (since 2000)
  • Spouse & Children: Married to Zayda Ortiz since 2005. He has one son.
  • Community: “I’ve walked every street from Ferry to Grover, either canvassing for transgender rights, or helping out during our Independence Day celebration on Lincoln Commons. I’ve cleaned our gutters and spoken to many of my neighbors, eaten at their tables and more importantly listened to what they have to say about our school systems” (FB About – Why I’m Running). Also, he serves as Secretary for the MDCC Ward 7 Committee. (MDCC).
  • Skills: “I know the frustration of working with a broken system while advocating for my family. I have a lifetime of experience in helping people, solving problems and running a business that lets me see all the perspectives and lets me be an effective advocate for our working families” (MVQ).

Policies & Experiences

  • Biggest issues: civil rights for all, diverse representation in our educators, transparency in government
  • Motivation for Running: “I am running to promote diversity, transparency and to work hand in hand with our elected officials to get the funding we need for our students” (FB About).

  • Schools

  • Astroturf at Roosevelt Park: “I personally prefer a natural grass field but I see the point of making sure that this investment lasts well into the future. Grass is expensive to maintain and difficult to keep in a usable state as we saw this spring with the amounts of rain we received and the drainage issues the city experienced. However, artificial turf has its own slate of issues, including increasing our carbon footprint, as well as retaining heat which will make the field unusable during the summer and early fall. If that resource is unusable then the money was ill-spent. I lean more towards making the investment in natural turf unless the issues concerning artificial turf are addressed” (MNN 5/29/19).
  • Budget Priorities: “We need to be paying our teachers and staff a living wage for the Boston metro area with commensurate benefits. I’d like to see us find funding to get more programs and education for our English learning students” (MVQ).
  • PROMISE Act: “I fully encourage our current representatives in the House and State Senate to support it and get it to the Governor’s desk” (MVQ). Mr. Bernard has marched and phonebanked for #FundOurFuture (ORM). Information on the PROMISE Act here.
  • Charter Schools: “I think we need to make sure we have transparency in how our current charter schools are working, and fix our funding formula so that reimbursements to charter schools are not draining needed funds from our public school systems” (MVQ).
  • Community: “I also want to continually reach out to my community, and make sure they feel they have a voice in the process” (MVQ).
  • Curriculum: Mr. Bernard would like to have our schools teach “a broader curriculum, inclusive of our various communities, including but not limited to black and Latinx historical figures” (MVQ).
  • Parental Engagement: Mr. Bernard advocates for providing child care at School Committee meetings and offering translation services “so that parents that are not comfortable with English can participate and understand the changes and lend their voices to the process” (MVQ).

  • Staffing

    • Diversity: “There are at least 63 languages spoken by students in Malden High School, and over half of Malden’s population identifies as non-white. Yet we have a severe lack of black teachers and teachers of color in our faculty and administration. I want that to change and I want to make sure that the committee as a whole has diversity and equity in mind when making any policy decisions” (MVQ).
    • Retention: We need to be offering competitive wages and benefits to attract those teachers, and we need to provide the support teachers of color need and request to properly support our population” (ORM).
    • Substitute teachers: the lack of substitute teachers points to a lack of competitive wages to encourage teachers to apply” (ORM).
    • Wages: “we need to recognize that $15 an hour is barely a subsistent wage and we need to be proactive in adding guarantees that minimum wages are increased as the cost of living increases. To attract the best and most diverse staff, we need to have wages that allow faculty, staff and administration to live close to the Malden area” (ORM).

  • Student Diversity

    • Faculty: “What we can do is make sure our faculty is educated as to the needs of students, and how to appropriately sensitive to their communities” (MVQ).
    • Immigrants: I’d like to see our city and our state representatives sign on to the Safe Communities Act so that all of our students feel protected no matter their or their families’ immigration status” (ORM).
    • LGBTQ+: “We need to make sure our teachers and administration are advocating for our LGBTQIA+ students. LGBTQIA+ students are more likely to be the victims of bullying so we need to make sure our anti-bullying policies are being strictly enforced … We also should educate all students on how to be sensitive, supportive and appropriate with their fellow students’ gender identity and sexual orientation” (ORM).
    • Racial Diversity: “I’ve had conversations with Malden School students of color who don’t feel comfortable speaking to or trusting white teachers. We need to be intentional in hiring teachers of color and teachers who are multilingual.  We need to work with the superintendent and principals to make sure that we are recruiting those teachers as well as retaining our current teachers of color” (ORM).

For More Information

  • Questionnaires & Debates:
    • Answers to Malden Votes questionnaire
    • Answers to Our Revolution Malden questionnaire