The results of Tuesday’s Worcester School Committee election figure to determine the path of the Worcester Public Schools for more than the next two years.
In addition to hiring a permanent replacement for outgoing Superintendent Melinda J. Boone, the next School Committee will be dealing with an underperforming district with schools in much need of repair or replacement, high-stakes testing concerns and a not-always-collegial working relationship with the City Council.
The field of 10 candidates features all six incumbents, a former committee member and three first-time candidates, one fresh out of high school.
The Sun endorses Dianna Biancheria, Molly McCullough, John Monfredo, Brian O’Connell, Tracy O’Connell Novick and Hilda Ramirez.
Three-term incumbent Dianna Biancheria earns our endorsement with her continued focus on school safety, her strong stance on transparency and accountability, and her views on additional technical and vocational programs.
In addition, her role as the committee’s iconoclast ensures vigorous debate.
Challenger Molly McCullough has said the next superintendent, and next administration, must be connected to the community. As a newcomer to the committee, and its youngest member at age 34, McCullough would bring a fresh perspective.
That, and her support for more rigorous academics, most notably the global nonprofit AVID, merit her inclusion.
Five-term incumbent John Monfredo is steadfast in his support of early childhood education, parental involvement and reducing chronic absenteeism.
A retired principal, Monfredo is in a unique position to relate to teachers and administration as well as the public. For this, he has earned our endorsement.
Brian O’Connell was out in front of the school safety issue, advocating for a security review and possible capital improvements needed to ensure the wellbeing of teachers and staff.
The unofficial leader of the School Committee and member since 1984, he should continue in this important role.
Brian O’Connell was out in front of the school safety issue. … The unofficial leader of the School Committee and member since 1984, he should continue in this important role.
Tracy O’Connell Novick, a three-term incumbent, is a tireless worker and vigorous advocate of the Worcester Public Schools.
She pushes for greater local control over the district while working to increase the state foundation budget.
At the same time, she lobbies for funds for the city’s aging schools.
Hilda Ramirez deserves a second term.
Her advocacy of integrating English Language Learners into regular classrooms makes financial sense, and her call for additional after-school and evening programs is prudent.