Local Government and Politics, News

In Saugus, it’s seven candidates for five School Committee seats

SAUGUS ― As we enter election season, the School Committee will have seven candidates on the ballot this November. 

All five School Committee incumbents ― Chairman Tom Whittredge, Vice Chairman Ryan Fisher, Dennis Gould, John Hatch, and Arthur Grabowski ― will be running to retain their seats. 

Challengers include Vinny Serino, who is a former School Committee member, and Leigh Gerow, a resident with kids in the Saugus Public School system. 

Fisher expressed his excitement for this year’s election after serving for the past two years. He explained how the committee went from having to face COVID-19 and setbacks related to the new middle-high school, but added that there is an uphill pattern of success in general.

“We are in a place now where we have all the new schools where we want them, kids back in school, a great new superintendent with a plan for the next five years, equipped all of our new buildings with new technology, and getting everything going.” said Fisher. “Now we are primed to go and I think that is what the next term will be about.” 

The School Committee is responsible for determining the educational policies within the district, and consists of five members plus Superintendent of Schools Erin McMahon. Together, and with help from the public, they help solve problems within the school district and look toward the future of the schools. 

Gerow wants to help create the ideal school district for her children as they grow up. 

“I saw a gap in the representation of the School Committee,” she said. “The committee was made up of all men and I saw that it would be worthwhile to have a woman on the committee.”

Serino, who has been a part of the committee in the past, has decided to run again. Back when Serino was on the committee, he pushed to communicate and receive feedback from administrators and teachers, he said. He added that more feedback from staff and teachers could help implement positive changes. 

Gould has served one term and looks forward to continuing the success the committee has had within the past few years. 

“The biggest thing is the collaboration is unbelievable with the para(professionals), the professionals, the admin, and the teachers; they have embraced it,” said Gould. 

Whittredge has served one term and has always had a passion for the tight-knit community Saugus has, according to a candidate questionnaire published on Wicked Local.  He believes that inclusiveness needed to be brought to the town and that the town has succeeded with that.

Hatch rejoined the committee last term after taking a break from serving the district for six years in the 1990s. 

“I wanted to work with a good group of people to make a district-wide culture change ― one for the positive and not the accusatory or argumentative, and (to) push the district forward,” he said.

Grabowski has felt a lot of heat from the committee in the past term stemming from verbal incidents involving school faculty and administrators. Grabowski is a veteran who bills himself as a “Patriotic Conservative,” according to his Twitter. 

The town election is on Nov. 2.

Hannah Chadwick can be reached at hannah@itemlive.com.


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