Photo: What’s up next for the school committee is selecting a new member (credit Belmont Media Center)
It is a voluntary position that demands hours of your time weekly, will add more stress to your life and goes largely unrewarded by the public.
If those attributes haven’t sent you heading for the door, then you’re just the person the Belmont School Committee is looking as its newest member!
At a joint meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Committee and Select Board finalized the process on how they will replace former chair Andrea Prestwich who resigned last week as she starts a new job at the NIS.
And the committee wants the temporary position – the appointee, if they choose, will need to run for election in April’s Town Election to continue on the committee – filled soon, “before Thanksgiving” is the hope of current Chair Amy Checkoway.
“This is a key leadership position” thus it will be important “filling this open seat,” said Checkoway. “This is a really big opportunity to make an impact and difference in Belmont.”
Committee member Mike Crowley said with the town’s fiscal challenges the committee will face in the coming years, it would be advantageous that candidates with budgetary and financial “acumen” would be looked on favorably by the eight members who will vote on the applicants
While several of the committee and board want someone with board or committee related experience, Committee member Jamal Saeh doesn’t wish to discourage anyone who has limited education or fiscal expertise from applying which could limit the diversity of possible members on the committee.
School Committee members have included parents, lawyers, those in business, scientists, educators, researchers, and a variety of other backgrounds.
With a pre-turkey day deadline as its goal, the committee will likely need to whittle down the list of candidates before entering the time consuming one-on-one public interview process
“Last time we had a glut of really good people to choose from,” said Board Chair Adam Dash of last year’s process replacing Susan Burgess-Cox, but he wasn’t sure if the committee wants to take that much time to fill the seat.
Committee member Meg Moriarty advanced creating a hiring rubric, a scoring tool that defines the qualifications and expectations by which each candidate will be evaluated so the “process is a little less subjective and more objective in whittling down a first group of candidates,” said Moriarty.
Kate Bowen said the type of questions the board and committee puts out will demonstrate the skill set and experience being sought in a successful candidate that also provides a high level of transparency to the applicants and public. While she agrees that all candidates should have some “face-time” with the groups, if there is a large number of applicants, Bowen suggests allowIng all candidates to answer one question with a two-minute response before conducting a poll to cut the number moving forward with the full set of questions.
All in all, Dash said he expects a good field to apply for the seat.
The most difficult issue of the night was coming up with a date when to review the candidates. And they are ready to go. Questions will be discussed at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9 with initial interviews of applicants at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10. If a consensus candidate isn’t selected on Nov. 10, a second date will be determined at that time.
Who is qualified to run?
All Belmont residents age 18 and older are encouraged to apply via the Town’s website. The candidate must be a registered voter of Belmont.
To apply, go to “Volunteer Opportunities” on the Town of Belmont home page, click on the link for appointment to a Belmont Committee, and click yes to “Are you interested in specific committees.” Type “School Committee 2021” in the box labeled “Interested in a Committee not listed above?” You can then fill out the rest of the short form and upload a CV or resume. Please include a concise statement of interest in the text box.
Link to “Volunteer Opportunities” available here as well: https://www.belmont-ma.gov/home/pages/volunteer-opportunities
For further information, email the chair Amy Checkoway firstname.lastname@example.org or any member of the committee. Their contact information is available at https://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bps/Committee.