3 vying for 2 School Committee seats in Montague

Montague residents vote in the town election in 2018.

Montague residents vote in the town election in 2018. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LIT






Staff Writer

Published: 05-20-2024 3:18 PM

Modified: 05-20-2024 4:36 PM

MONTAGUE — All but one of the races on the ballot for Tuesday’s town election are uncontested, with three candidates competing for two open seats with three-year terms on the Gill-Montague Regional School District School Committee.

Montague voters can cast their ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their respective polling places: the Montague Center Fire Station for Precinct 1, Franklin County Technical School for Precincts 2, 3, 4 and 6, and the Gill-Montague Senior Center for Precinct 5. School Committee incumbents Lori-Lee Adams and Carol Jacobs are both seeking reelection to another three-year term, while Montague resident Scott Hyman is challenging them for one of the two available committee seats.

Lori-Lee Adams

The committee appointed Adams, an Air Force veteran with roughly 20 years of experience in education, out of three finalists to fill a vacancy a few months ago. Adams said she hopes to improve the school district’s “strategies for cultural diversity” and engage the community to share ideas with the schools, informing a broader array of curriculum subjects.

“One of the big things that the school district will be able to improve on and implement is our strategies for cultural diversity and implementation of various strategies to allow the students to become more knowledgeable on the diversity within their own community,” Adams said. “It’s really being able to provide the appropriate education and the cultural knowledge to the teachers and the paraprofessionals, as well as to the community. It’s not just about the students that are in the district, although it’s the students that are most impacted by what the district decides. It is really allowing the community ... to be able to educate the educators as well.”

Adams, who works as a speech pathologist for the district, was educated in Montague’s public schools and joined the military upon graduating in 1989. She received her state teaching certificate in 2010 after working as a teacher of students with hearing impairment in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a one-year stint working as an assistant speech pathologist in the Gill-Montague district.

Throughout her career in education, Adams said her primary motivation has been to set students on a path to success after they graduate.

“My biggest priority is ensuring that the children that are in the Gill-Montague Regional School District are given the absolute best chance they have to excel beyond their high school education,” Adams said. “There’s always room to grow. The fact is, we have new students coming in each year and we have students going out each year. There’s always going to be room to grow, and it’s our job as a school committee to be able to support progress in our community.”

Scott Hyman

Although Scott Hyman, a self-described “conservative libertarian,” has never worked in education, he said he decided to run for the Gill-Montague School Committee out of a general discontentment with the education system nationally. Hyman admittedly “doesn’t know what’s happening in Montague,” but said he hopes to ensure that local students are graduating with the basic skills they need to become productive members of society.

“These kids have to learn the right stuff so they can get out of school and they can get jobs and be productive members of society. If you can’t do math, you can’t comparison shop, you can’t do much of anything. [If you can’t] read, you can’t sign leases. It’s just ridiculous,” Hyman said. “You’ve got to teach them reading, writing, you’ve got to teach them history, you’ve got to teach them, you know, the standard subjects. Apparently, these days, some of that stuff just doesn’t seem to be as important.”

Hyman said he graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in philosophy and took one class on philosophy of education. He said if he is elected, he hopes to study the school district’s budget and search for ways to better use its funds.

“I don’t know much of anything about how the school system runs. I did see one post online where somebody complained the schools don’t have enough money, and somebody replied, ‘They have way too much money.’ ... I really don’t know, but I’m not opposed to getting there, taking a look at it, and giving it some thought to see if maybe we can do things a little bit better,” Hyman said.

Multiple attempts to contact Carol Jacobs were unsuccessful by press time on Monday.

In addition to voting for Town Meeting members representing all five precincts, Montague voters will see the following positions on this year’s ballot:

■Selectboard, three-year term — Richard Kuklewicz.

■Moderator, three-year term — vacant.

■Assessor, three-year term — Ann Cenzano.

■Board of Health, three-year term — Melanie Ames Zamojski.

■Library trustee, three-year term — Patricia Perham, plus two vacancies.

■ Library trustee, two-year term — vacant.

■Montague Housing Authority, five-year term — vacant.

■Parks and Recreation Commission, three-year term — Barbara Kuklewicz.

■Soldiers memorial trustee (veteran), three-year term — vacant.

■Soldiers memorial trustee (non-veteran), three-year term — vacant.

■School Committee representing Gill, three-year term — James Delorenzo.

■ School Committee representing Montague, two-year term — Clifford Spatcher.

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at acammalleri@recorder.com or 413-930-4429.