Candidates for School Committee Explain Election Qualifications
With the town election less than a week away, we asked the four School Committee candidates what makes them qualified for the position.
This week on Patch we wanted to help Hopkinton voters get to know what makes the School Committee candidates tick and where they stand on various issues. To do this we asked each candidate to respond to four questions from Tuesday, May 15 through Friday, May 18 we will feature all of the candidates' responses to one question.
All four candidates are running for two open positions in the election.
The first question we asked the candidates focused on the basic reasons for why they would be a good selection to be on the committee.
Q1) What experience or knowledge do you have that makes you feel you could serve the town’s best interest by being on the School Committee?
Jean Bertschmann: I am informed, experienced, pro-active, and responsive. In addition to my 15 years volunteering in the schools through several support organizations, I have served on the School Committee for three years. I have held several roles on the Committee: Chair; Vice Chair; ADA Committee Liaison; Youth Commission Liaison; TEC Liaison and Clerk; 300th Anniversary Celebration Liaison; Budget Advisory Group Liaison; Appropriations Committee Liaison; Board of Selectmen Liaison; Legislative Liaison; and Communications Co-Chair. The opportunity to fill these various roles has given me a solid understanding of how the school and town budgets are developed, and how the schools and the town can work collaboratively for the benefit of the residents and taxpayers. My extensive work in the schools has allowed me to develop strong relationships with faculty, staff and administrators, and I have worked hard to be involved in and support the tremendous strides forward taken in our district over the past 15 years. In all my volunteer roles, I have been dedicated to working hard, listening to others, setting priorities, and embracing feedback.
Jon Graziano: I am a member of the Appropriation Committee and I serve as the liaison to the School Committee. For the past year I have been intimately involved in all of the discussions in the formation of the FY13 school budget. This role educated me on the overall school budget process as well as the challenges of balancing the increased costs of educational initiatives with the need to maintain a fiscally responsible budget. Also, I have a proven professional record of developing new ways to think about budgeting, strategy and service delivery. And my work with the school operating budget this past year has convinced me that I can and should be applying my professional experience to the School Committee.
Frank Sivo: First, I have four children who all have attended Hopkinton schools since pre-K. I already have 26 school-years of experience, and have another 30 school-years to go. This gives me a deep experience base with our schools and the opportunity to benefit from wise choices we make moving forward.
As a professional, I have 25+ years of experience helping organizations large small drive continuous improvement within acceptable fiscal constraints. I currently lead strategic planning processes and the Global Operations Excellence program at Genzyme, a global biotechnology company. I routinely do business across the globe (Europe, Asia, Latin America), and recently lived a year in Japan. Additionally, I have worked my career in knowledge-centric areas such as advanced materials, software development, management consulting, and biotechnology. I am very knowledgeable on technology matters, having been a Director of Product Operations at Oracle and a foundational member of an eBusiness start-up. I am an entrepreneur, patented inventor, and published author. On a daily business, I live the 21st Century Skills we are teaching our children.
Finally, I have had the pleasure of serving on two committees which have brought direct benefit to our children and community; SPEAC (Special Education Advisory Council), and CWG (Criteria Working Group). From both groups I have learned that community members who focus on facts, and bring objectivity to difficult conversations can have a large positive impact on our educational system, our children, and community.
Frank D'Urso: I have been a member of the Keefe Regional Technical School for the past year. In that role I have learned much about how a school committee operates. I have been an active volunteer in Hopkinton since 2008 when I was appointed to the Sustainable Green Committee. I also have been a Conservation Commissioner since 2010. Earlier in the decade I served on the Civic Engagement Committee. I am a lifelong learner with a Masters degree in Management. As a Quality Assurance Engineer I find ways to make things work better. I am the only candidate who has worked as a teacher, and I am the only candidate to have worked on projects that have SAVED the school system hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a member of the Hopkinton Sustainable Green committee (Hopgreen) I helped the town earn the "Green Communities" Designation, that then allowed us to apply for grants, we were awarded over $140,000 in grant money that was applied to conservation projects in the schools that have helped save over $100,000 already. Win, Lose or Draw - I will work with Hopgreen to earn another round of grant money, there are still MANY projects on the list. I am also very interested in declaring the LOOP ROAD a town road so that we can qualify for state money for repairs. I also will push for a resolution to the bus parking issue, we will save over $100,000 by parking our bus fleet in town. I am a person who gets things done.