SHREWSBURY — After more than a decade on the Shrewsbury School Board, Dale Magee announced last month that he does not plan to stand for re-election in the spring.
“Twelve years is a long time, and I’m not one to believe that I should stay there because I can,” Magee recently told the Community Advocate.
There’s something to be said for hitting the refresh button and bringing new people into elected offices like the school committee, he said.
“I think 12 years is enough from my point of view, and bringing someone else in will bring a different perspective, a different skill set and that might just benefit the organization,” Magee said. “Time will tell us.”
Magee has praised his colleagues as he prepares to conclude his term on the school committee.
“I love my time on the school committee – I always do,” he said. “I have nothing but admiration for the people I work with,” Magee said.
Magee reflects on his career
Magee ran for the School Committee in 2010 following the recommendation of Selectman John Lebeaux.
“What drew me in this direction was actually an appreciation of the importance of education in a community and for a child,” Magee said.
Both Magee and his wife are the first in their families to graduate from college.
“We know what a difference it has made in our lives,” he said.
Magee grew up in Niagara Falls, New York when that community was an industrial town. There, graduating from high school was a feat and most people didn’t go to college, he said.
“He’s kind of the poster child for what happens to a community when people don’t get a good education,” Magee said.
He went to college at the University at Buffalo on scholarships. After three years of undergraduate studies, Magee attended medical school and became an OB-GYN.
Magee went into private practice in Shrewsbury until his retirement in 2015.
Magee separately joined an infant mortality task force in Worcester when the city was experiencing high infant mortality.
Magee came to the conclusion that it was “extremely unusual” for a medical condition to be the root cause. People who experienced higher infant mortality rates had lower socioeconomic status, he said.
“For me, the lever that we as a community could approach and say, ‘How can we fix this? was not necessarily improving access to health care; it was about identifying how to get people to perform at their peak, go to college and basically achieve the American Dream,” Magee said.
The economic vitality and health of those who followed would improve if these key opportunities for upward mobility were made more accessible, he said.
Superintendent praises Magee
Grateful for being elected to the school committee, Magee was also praised by district leaders.
Superintendent Joseph Sawyer told the Community Advocate earlier this month that Magee has made “significant contributions” to the district throughout his tenure on the committee.
“I very much appreciated his deep commitment to innovation and the improvement of education, always keeping an eye on how students who may be disadvantaged in one way or another can benefit from strong public schools,” Sawyer said. “He has been an outstanding public servant for our city.”
For Magee, after a childhood of personal educational triumph and a career spent helping others, the Shrewsbury School Committee was another opportunity to give back.
“The idea of running for the school committee and playing a part in trying to see how we can improve the school system primarily to meet the needs of those for whom the school system will make the biggest difference appealed to me very much” , said Magee.
Dale Magee will not seek re-election to the Shrewsbury School Board