The Board and School Select Committee considered seven candidates to fill the School Committee vacancy due to the resignation of former member Andrea Prestwich effective October 20. They narrowed down the choices to six candidates, Ralph Jones, Frances Leighton, Jeffrey Liberty, Glenn Robertelli, Jung Yueh and Amy Zuccarello. After asking each candidate a series of questions, they deliberated and ultimately Ralph Jones received the most votes. Liberty finished second, receiving three votes from school committee members Catherine Bowen, Mike Crowley and president Amy Checkoway. Jones received five votes from board chairman Adam Dash, board vice-chairman Roy Epstein, board member Mark Paolillo and school committee members Jamal Saeh and Meg Moriarty.
Jones is no stranger to municipal service. He is the only resident to have served as chairman of the select council, school committee, and terms of office committee over the years.
He was elected to the school committee in 1995 and served until 2004. He was president in 2000.
Jones was appointed to the Warrants Committee in 1989 and served until 1995. He was then reappointed to the Warrants Committee in 2004 and served until 2010; meanwhile, he served as president in 2006.
Jones was elected a restricted member of the board of directors in 2008 and served two terms until 2014. He served as chairman in 2010 and 2011.
Jones was also a member of the Municipal Light Board for two terms, from 2008 to 2014.
He is currently a board member of the Belmont Media Center and was a member of the Fire Chief Selection Committee.
More recently, Jones also became chairman of the campaign committee to re-elect Roy Epstein to the Select Board.
Jones, who is retired, said he does not plan to run in the April mayoral election. He will just serve the five months to fill the vacancy. His experience negotiating contracts and his ability to get started are the two main reasons Dash said he voted for him, even though he thought all the candidates were strong and hoped they would all consider running. present in April.
“The critical need right now is direct experience in collective bargaining and Ralph Jones has a demonstrated experience in this area that is not expressed by other candidates,” Epstein said.
Dash said it takes a great person to take on this job in this climate.
“It’s like parachuting onto a ship that’s in the middle of a hurricane,” he said.
Jones said he hopes all of his fellow contestants stay in the game.
“You all have exceptional abilities and I encourage you all to come forward for this long three-year term,” Jones said.
The finalist receives three votes from the members of the school committee
School committee members Catherine Bowen, Michael Crowley and president Amy Checkoway voted for Liberty to fill the five-month vacancy.
Checkoway touted Liberty’s experience as an educator, principal, and district leader in Boston Public Schools and as a national and international expert working on innovative teaching and learning, personalized learning, vision and collaboration with superintendents and educators.
“I’m very worried, I’m thinking about the future and I want people to think about what’s best for the kids,” Checkoway said.
Liberty was also a finalist for school committee nomination to fill the seat of Susan Burgess-Cox after she resigned in April 2020. Former school committee member Evelyn Gomez was nominated for that seat.
The following 12 candidates applied for the vacant position of the school committee:
- Diana Cepeda
- Aïcha Foxx Telfort
- Philippe Fremont-Smith
- ralph jones
- Marko Labudovic
- Frances Leighton
- Jeffrey Liberty
- Alessandro Miglio
- Glenn Robertelli
- Jerome West
- Jung Yue
- Amy Zucarello
As of November 10, three candidates have withdrawn, reducing the pool to nine candidates. Aisha Foxx Telfort, Jerome West and Phillip Fremont-Smith withdrew their nominations. Marko Labudovic and Diana Cepeda did not attend the November 10 meeting.