Two drop out of running to fill School Committee vacancy, interviews set for Monday night

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And then there were eight running for the Marblehead School Committee vacancy.

On Monday night, the Select Board and School Committee will convene a joint meeting to interview candidates and select one to fill the vacancy created when resident Emily Barron resigned in the fall.

Eleven candidates submitted applications for the open position. One of those candidates, Ariana Contreras, was ineligible because she was not a registered Marblehead voter. Two others — Joe Patuleia and Laurence H. Winer — withdrew their names, leaving eight candidates as of Thursday afternoon.

“It’s not unusual for people to withdraw their names,” said Kyle Wiley, executive assistant to the Select Board, “especially with such a large pool of candidates.”

School Committee Chair Sarah Fox said interviews kick off at 7 p.m. and will take place in the Select Board Room of Abbot Hall, 188 Washington St.

“We are all ready with the meeting posted,” she said Thursday afternoon. “It will be live-streamed and people can attend in person.”

Candidates applied expecting to be interviewed at a joint public meeting on Dec. 7. However, as was discussed at the Dec. 1 meeting of the School Committee, an unspecified scheduling conflict had arisen within the Select Board.

When the joint meeting convenes, each member of the Select Board and the four current School Committee members are expected to ask each candidate one question. The individual members of the two boards will then be polled to see if any candidate earns a majority of the nine votes.

As Fox explained at a Dec. 1 School Committee meeting, if no one receives five votes, there will be a second round of voting.

Whoever is ultimately appointed will fill the open seat until next spring’s municipal election. Find candidates’ application materials and short biographies below.

Paul Baker

Baker, the head of Devereux School, sits on the Marblehead Community Charter Public School Board of Trustees — which he pledged to leave if appointed to the School Committee. Baker has served on hiring committees, spoken at school building committees and chaired MCCPS committees on development, communication and governance.

Jennifer Brennan

Brennan, an attorney with experience in insurance, construction disputes and environmental and class action lawsuits, has led several PTOs (parent teacher organizations).

“As my time as a parent in the Marblehead school system draws to a close, I believe I am well positioned to represent community concerns to school administrators, to communicate the needs of the school system to Marblehead residents and to partake in committee discussion about the goals and objectives for the district,” Brennan wrote.

Kim Day 

Day, a senior marketing program manager, has held leadership positions in PTOs through the years. 

“I have volunteered in the schools over the past 9 years, have been actively involved in both the Coffin Gerry feasibility study as well as the Bell Coffin Gerry budget override ballot initiatives, and I regularly attend School Committee meetings as well as other town committee meetings,” Day wrote. “I believe my background, experience and proven track record of collaborating with diverse teams would be of value to our school committee and the MHD community.” 

Don DeWitt

DeWitt, the owner of Stowaway Sweets, characterized himself as “a community-minded professional with an extensive background in managing both the financial and the people side of the business.” He has volunteered and supported several public school programs and youth sports, and describes himself as being someone with “a good sense for the Marblehead community” who comes with an open mind regarding difficult issues facing the Marblehead school system. 

Raymond A. Hansen

Hansen, an associate dean at Wentworth Institute of Technology, has experience as an educator and an administrator in higher education.

“Having served as a faculty member, I understand the challenges of designing and delivering engaging curriculum, assessing student achievements and providing support for student learning,” he wrote. “As an administrator, I have experience driving an appropriate professional culture of engagement and inclusiveness for students, faculty and staff, supporting facilities for ongoing learning activities.”

Liam McGeown 

McGeown, the founder and chief executive officer of Marblehead Movers, notes that he has built two thriving businesses. 

“I  believe I would be a strong asset to the Marblehead School Committee,” McGeown writes. “I strongly believe that education is the cornerstone of success and responsibility of becoming a productive member of society.”

Thomas Paul Mathers

Mathers’ resume notes he is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Allievex Corporation. He has experience in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

A graduate of West Point and former captain in the U.S. Army, Mathers flew Apache attack helicopters in the 1991 Gulf War, earning an Air Medal.

Scott Stunkel

Stunkel, an associate vice president for engineering at the Boston-based Dotmatics, is a software engineering leader who manages a team of 25 engineers and four managers. 

He spent four years in Chicago teaching technology before he got a Connecticut company to fund his idea for a technology platform. That platform, he notes, allows educators to share teaching materials. 

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