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VOTE411 Voter Guide

School Committee

The School Committee is a 5 member volunteer board. Each member serves for three years. The Committee:Sets policy for the Wellesley Public SchoolsDevelops budget for the SchoolsHires and annually evaluates the Superintendent's performance
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    RONALD D ALEXANDER Lead Software Engineer

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    ELI BURSTEIN Management Consultant

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    JENNIFER JORDAHL Data Scientist, Small Business Owner

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    MATT KELLEY Software Executive (retired)

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    MELISSA MARTIN Nonprofit financial management

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for this office? What are your top priorities?

Relevant Experience I am a 17 year resident of Wellesley and proud parent of 3 children in the Wellesley school system.
I believe that the School Committee has lost its way over the past few years. The Committee has isolated itself from the voters that it represents, it has become a rubber stamp for everything that the administration wants, and has shown a lack of ability to prioritize needs over wants. If elected, I will work hard to restore transparency, accountability, and open communication between the School Committee and the public, and hopefully restore the trust that has been lost.

My immediate top priority is the Hardy, Honeywell, Upham (HHU) situation. I am a firm supporter of keeping all 3 of these wonderful elementary schools, either through rebuilding the existing structures or building new where necessary, while keeping the historic character and community value of these institutions.
Relevant Experience Parent to 2 WPS scholars. 18+ years as entrepreneur, consultant, and business leader.
I am seeking a seat on School Committee to elevate our public schools while also realigning school spending with taxpayer value. Wellesley has such deep resources and incredible people: committed educators, passionate parents, and talented and diverse students. We are positioned to have a best-in-state school system. But we must be more vigilant with our fiscal discipline; our budgets are generous and should stretch farther than they do. We need to prioritize collaboration and improve transparency. Our neighborhood schools that foster community have to be preserved. We must have more inclusive school communities, where all students and parents are heard and respected. And we should pursue more balanced academic achievement: one year of school must equal one year of growth for all students.
Relevant Experience Degree in Cognitive Science from Gustavus, mentored by Nobel Laureate in Connecting Texts & Learning
As our election draws near, the community has expressed their desire to decrease costs and simultaneously improve results. Education is being reinvented via technology which enables the community to realize this goal. But to do so, WPS must be more deliberate in their planning to capitalize on the cost saving opportunities of technology. Professionally, I analyze and identify opportunties for technological efficiencies. Over the course of three kid's journeys through WPS, I have devoted my time to the schools at every opportunity for 20 years. I will support administrators to close the MCAS content gap, promote a sensitivity to race and cultural differences, and enable transparency and open communication. I ask for your vote so that I may share my passion for supporting our schools.
Incumbent
Relevant Experience software development executive one term on the School Committee, including one year as Chair
I am running for reelection to the School Committee because I want to continue working for the town, providing independent critical thinking and analysis skills to address the challenges the Schools face. After three years on the Committee, I have gained a great deal of expertise and domain knowledge that help me to be even more effective in the role. I have also built strong relationships with my peers, school staff, town staff, and community members. These relationships are critical for finding a way to work together in solving the problems that we face. I have no specific agenda on any issue other than to work hard for the entire school community to achieve excellence in our schools.
Relevant Experience Town Meeting Member (2016-present), Sprague PTO Treasurer (2014-2015)
My four children (one at Wellesley High School, two at Wellesley Middle School, and one at Sprague) have benefited greatly from the excellent education provided to them by Wellesley Public Schools, and I am passionate about serving our community to ensure the continued strength of our educational system. Given my many years of nonprofit and financial management experience, I know what it takes to find solutions, to work collaboratively, and to get things done.

My focus will be in joining the community together through an open and transparent approach that prioritizes faculty and staff quality, a "whole child" teaching philosophy, and a dynamic, evolving curriculum. I am also committed to delivering on the Committee's objectives with a steadfast respect for financial constraints.

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