Voting for leadership on G-M school board

Thursday, May 17, 2018

This year’s Gill-Montague School Committee election offers voters a clear choice. Eight candidates are running for four positions: half of them are running as a group that wants to shake up the status quo, and the others are two incumbents and two newcomers.

As someone who’s been watching the district for almost two decades, I’ll be voting for the incumbents and the newcomers. After many years of administrative turnover and system turmoil, things have stabilized under the current superintendent, who came here in 2013. He has put together the most competent and effective administrative team in my memory, and he has been working hard to address the major challenges facing the district, including declining enrollment and inadequate state funding. He has made good progress, but there is still much to be done.

The challengers seem to be motivated by unhappiness with the school committee’s decision to change the Indians name and logo. This was an issue that was brought to them, and to their credit they confronted it; however, it was probably inevitable that there would be anger and frustration no matter what they decided.

The discussions, especially on social media, were extremely rancorous, and perhaps the best thing that can be said is that the process is now nearly over. A new name and logo are scheduled to be chosen within a few days, and no good can come from trying to reopen the discussion at this late date. Doing so would only cause more disruption, and it would distract from the much bigger issues facing the district.

I will be voting for people who I believe are most likely to lead us into a successful future. Please join me in casting ballots for Valeria (Timmie) Smith, Michael Langknecht, Jennifer Lively, and Haley Anderson. Thank you.

Mike Naughton