Burlington voters on April 1 will take to the polls to vote for candidates for Moderator, Select Board, Assessor, School Committee and other positions. Among the town’s contested races are two open seats on the School Committee, for which three candidates are in the running.
BNEWS asked the three candidates for School Committee the same set of questions to give voters a look into why they are running and what they would hope to achieve if elected.
Here we have responses from candidate Jeremy Brooks, who is running to join the committee for the first time. These responses are unedited.
Brooks is running against sitting School Committee Members Katherine Bond and Carl Foss. Find Bond’s answers here and Foss’s here.
1: Why are you seeking to be elected or re-elected to this position?
I’ve been service-driven throughout adulthood as a United States Air Force veteran, and have been motivated to take a greater role in the community since my retirement from the armed forces. Burlington has been my home since I was four years old, and I can think of no better way to continue my record of service giving back to the community that has been so great to me and my family than offering my experience to the School Committee.The organizational and leadership skills I’ve learned as a senior non-comissioned officer are transferable to this role in a varirty of ways. I think our schools are very good, but I truly believe we can be better. I believe I can add a new voice and a fresh perspective to the effort and want to work to help make Burlington Schools the very best they can be. The children and tax payers of our community deserve nothing less
2: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate?
The Air Force allowed me to develop managerial level experience in operations. This role required me to forecast and manage budgets, while justifying such financial requests with data-driven accumen. Budgeting is an important role the School Committee performs along with policy creation. I’ve worked alone and with teams to craft policy equivalent in scope to that of a large corporation. As a leader, I’ve worked collaboratively at local, state and national levels to achieve results. I’ve also worked as an instructor and evaluator to facilitate and assess team performances to ensure the highest caliber practitioners were certified to work on tasks best suited to their potential successes.
To expand on my experience in operations, I’ve worked as a Project and Program manager planning and forecasting costs for projects to be completed on time and within budget. This speaks to the challenges Burlington faces in the renovation and construction of our district’s aging school building infrastructure. Furthermore, I’ve been a member of multiple-source selection committees to chose vendors and contractors tasked with projects valued from $59 million to $1.3 billion.
I hold a Bachelor of Science in Management and Technology from Bowling Green, an Associate of Science in Information Systems Technologies from Air University, a Business Analytics certification from Cornell and a CompTIA Security+ CE certification. Our school district has a tradtion of leveraging technology, and we live in a region where employers are anxious to fill roles with job candidates capable of technical skills. My domain experience in the technology sector will allow me to facilitate the district’s move towards newer technologies that go beyond the current iPad program.
3: What character traits/strengths do you possess that makes you a good candidate?
I possess the strengths of leadership, creativity, integrity and open-mindedness. I’ve explained previously that I have leadership experience and a willingness to assist guiding teams to meaningful outcomes. My successes have outnumbered my failures, but I’ve always taken to heart the lessons learned when I haven’t been successful.
I’m a creative and persistent problem solver ready to identify and bring forward opportunities for improvement to the committee to ensure we are providing the best conditions for success to the students, faculty and district.
Integrity means taking responsibility for my actions and doing right even when no one is looking. This instills confidence in the community and trust in the committee. Integrity is something I learned at a very young age and have endeavored to exercise in all aspects of life.
Lastly, open-mindedness is a trait that will serve me as a committee member. Meaningful discourse when debating an issue is imperative. The perspectives of different committee members and stakeholders must be considered before making final decisions on issues.
4: What issues do you think are the most pressing facing the board/committee you are running for and what do you think should be done to address them?
The most pressing issue is the renovation of the Fox Hill School that remains in its early planning stage.
Second and of equal importance is the planning and budgeting to repair and renovate Burlington High School. This process will require working closely with other committees in town government to properly capture the project’s costs and program for the scope of work required. Forecasting the costs to maintain the remaining schools in the district within the 10-year capital plan is imperative in order to ensure good operational conditions for our student’s learning environments and teacher working conditions. Proper maintenance removes the need for end-of-life repairs that are costly when not forecasted adequately.
The third priority is ensuring comprehensive policy regarding standards of professionalism are in place in order to provide district leadership with guidance to manage interpersonal and system-wide communications.
5: Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to emphasize again as someone working in the high technology field that I’d like to see continued emphasis on employing innovation to enhance learning. Continued focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) should lead us to consider curriculum development in growth areas that include more advanced programs of study such as augmented reality, data analytics, machine learning, and edge computing.
In conclusion, I forsee the need to explore how Burlington Public Schools can mitigate staffing shortages forecasted in the profession of education. I look forward to the possibilbity of working with the School Committee and our professional administrators to identify ways to improve the talent management process to retian educators and create an environment to entice student-teachers and educators from beyond the district to seek Burlington as the workplace of preference.