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Gail Spector, author of “Legendary Locals of Newton”

As a journalist and blogger who has covered Newton for 17 years, I am beyond excited to announce my candidacy for School Committee from Ward 8. This seat is currently held by Margie Ross Decter, who cannot run for reelection because of term limits. Like all School Committee seats, this is an at-large position and all registered Newton voters can select my name on their ballots.

The most fun and rewarding years of my professional life have revolved around Newton. The best job I ever had was editor of the Newton TAB from 2006-2012, where I learned volumes about this city while covering thousands of stories about the Newton schools, city government and elections, and our fascinating array of residents.

My journalism career, which also includes three years as a columnist and reporter covering Newton for the Boston Globe, two years as a TAB columnist, and five years as a Village 14 blogger, has been almost entirely devoted to Newton. I covered three school superintendents, including the selection of current Superintendent David Fleishman; the funding, design and building of Newton North High School; the negotiations and resolutions of teachers’ contracts; the passage and defeat of property tax overrides; and hundreds of other issues. I’ve written or edited stories about many of our schools’ most successful programs and some of our community’s most devastating tragedies. I’ve read more school budgets than I care to admit, talked to and met with tens of administrators, and watched years of School Committee meetings.

I know most of the elected officials who have served for the last 18 years. More importantly, I’ve witnessed the relationships between City Hall and the school department, and I understand how the two entities work separately and together. At a time when at least five of the nine members of the next School Committee (including the mayor) will be newly elected, my experience and knowledge as a journalist covering Newton will be an asset.

I am also the author of “Legendary Locals of Newton,” a collection of profiles about some of Newton’s most notable residents dating back to the founding of the community until 2015.

My proudest accomplishments, though, are my two children whose time in the Newton schools helped bring them to where they are today: My son is currently earning his masters in teaching at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and my daughter is a junior majoring in environmental science at Colorado College. I am immeasurably grateful to the Newton Public Schools for their part in shaping my children into people who love to learn, care passionately about helping others, and aspire to make the world a better place.

I love and appreciate the Newton schools but I’ve spoken with enough students, parents, teachers and administrators to understand that there’s always room for improvement. The most important goal for our schools should be meeting the needs of all students, regardless of learning style, special needs, or background. We need sound fiscal management and a forward-looking approach that excites children to explore STEM classes and extracurricular activities, and that cultivates a love of learning.

Throughout my career as a journalist I have urged others to step up and run for public office. Doing so is more important at this time in our country’s history than ever. I can’t encourage others to run if I’m not willing to take the risk and make the commitment myself, at a point in my life where I have the time and energy to do so.

My husband and I bought our house prior to having children because we wanted to raise our children in Newton. It was among the best decisions we’ve ever made. I hope you will support me in my efforts to ensure that other families feel as appreciative toward the Newton schools as we do. Thank you.

P.S. This will be my final post as a Village 14 blogger for an undetermined amount of time, but I expect to be a regular and engaged participant of this blog!

 







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