Sunday, April 26, 2015

School Committee Endorsements

We have three very interesting candidates for the two open School Committee seats.

LeeMichael Mclean works in business for the VHA as Director of Business Development and Performance Improvements. Sheila Egan Varela works in educational publishing for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kevin Donahue is a Doctor, a Radiologist at Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lee Michael on the Warrant Committee for the past budget cycle. You get to know a lot about someone over the course of dozens of meetings discussing complex budgets as well as other issues that come before that Committee. LeeMichael possesses a keen and creative intelligence.  He often demonstrates a unique approach to thinking that produces new insights.  At the start of the campaign he noted on his Facebook page research showing that 74% of Middle School girls express interest in STEM courses, but only .3% of girls at the High School level select courses in Computer Science. This is a problem in a system with a growing emphasis on STEM, a problem that needed to be recognized before attempts to diagnose and address it could occur.

Combined with his knowledge of the School Committee budget and a graduate degree in International Finance, LeeMichael would a very valuable addition to our School Committee. Please join me in supporting him with one of your two votes on Tuesday.

Sheila Egan Varela has been deeply involved in the Milton Public Schools for over a decade. I met her working on an override that was essential to maintaining services in our public schools. As a leader of that effort she performed with boundless energy, making individual connections and building networks of young Milton parents to ensure that what was at stake was fully understood. She’s also served as a Site Council member at Collicot and on the PTO at Pierce. And she has represented Precinct 8 in Town Meeting for a decade.

Her commitment to the Town and Schools, her background in educational publishing, and her outstanding people skills have earned Sheila my second vote for School Committee and I hope she’s earned yours.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anybody else really bothered that the School Committee's chosen metric for school performance at last night's Town Meeting was HOUSING VALUES?? If you tell us that school performance can be measured in a number of ways, and then choose to go with real estate prices, I wonder what's wrong with those other measurements.

We need a school committee that will monitor, supervise, set policy for the school department, not cheerleaders for the $40M dog-and-pony show, most of which lamented that 0.75% had to be cut from the increase the schools requested.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Philip Mathews said...

I was not bothered. The Chairman of the School Committee said there are a number of measures people use to assess school performance. One is reputation, and as measured by the successful recovery of housing prices in Milton based on people wanting to move here for the schools, our reputation is good.

The Schools use lots of metrics to measure progress and if you're truly interested, you should attend the School Committee meetings throughout the year that deal with these different tools.

Contrary to your assertion, the committee should be a cheerleader for the schools as well as those other things.

The presentation made last night was by far the most detailed of any town department. Your claim that most of the presentation dealt with the cuts is patently false. Most of the time was spent detailing how the advancement budgets are being used, in granular detail. A few minutes at the end outlined what cuts had to be made, because people who actually care about the schools want to know that information as well.

4:26 PM  

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