10 Questions with Worcester School Committee Candidate Nick D’Andrea
Thursday, April 09, 2015
GoLocal caught up with Nick and had ten questions for him.
1. What do you think is the most important issue for Worcester's School Committee today?
In my opinion there are two important issues I would like to see the School Committee address. First, the Committee needs to take steps to work with our state legislature on revising Chapter 222, so the students who want to learn are not deprived that opportunity by the ones who don’t. Secondly, the committee needs to come develop more efficient and effective ways to spend the budget. The Worcester Public Schools comprises of more than 50% of the city’s the budget. We need to utilize that money better.
2. Why did you decide to run for school committee?
As a parent with a child in the Worcester Public Schools, I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore. I see improvements needed in the Worcester Public Schools and I want to be part of making those necessary improvements. I’m not running against anyone, I am running FOR Worcester Schools.
3. What challenges do you expect to face in your first campaign?
Getting my message out. I’m known well in the athletic community, but that just won’t do it. I’m an unknown in political circles and that may hinder me but I look forward to taking on that challenge and getting to know more people in the community as a result.
4. What part of Worcester are you from and what do you remember most about going to school in Worcester?
I’m from the East Side (Wall Street). I remember the school being more of a community. I went to the same school as everyone in my neighborhood and the school was the centerpiece of that community.
5. If elected, what is the one thing you hope to accomplish in your first term?
I would like to get more of a voice from everyone in our schools. I would like the Parent Advisory Council to have a more comprehensive role in the way our schools progress and let them know they are being listened to. I would also like to create a city wide Student/Teacher Advisory Council for the middle school and high school level. Students in the middle and high school age group are more aware of what is happening at their schools than we tend to give them credit. Issues of the day are focused on where they happen, additionally we tend to only hear the bad news of the day. If students and teachers from each quadrant can get together and discuss what is working and what is not working and present proposals to the school committee with some new ideas. Students are heavily invested in the success of the schools and they should be able to communicate ideas and celebrate their success.
6. What role has Worcester played in your life and what has the city provided you?
Worcester has been my haven. My family immigrated from Italy in 1973 so I could receive care on some birth marks I was born with. Everything I learned, I learned in Worcester and there is no place I’d rather be.
7. What are some of your favorite restaurants/hangouts in the city of Worcester?
Being the dad of a 6 and 3 year old, I don’t get out much with the wife anymore. I grew up on Wall Street, but Shrewsbury Street has always been home. I enjoy the restaurants there. Ironically enough I do enjoy Nick’s Bar (on Millbury Street) and also the Blackstone Tap (on Water Street).
8. What is your opinion of Superintendent Melinda Boone's tenure thus far in Worcester?
Tentative. Dr. Boone has been a strong presence in light of positive things that have taken place within the Worcester Public Schools If she is willing to get in front of cameras when something goes right, the same needs to be done when she comes under fire. Using a spokesperson when things get tough does not show the type of leadership qualities we need in a superintendent. Worcester is a large city with very diverse demographic, leading the schools in this city is not for the weak of heart. The Superintendent needs to be an advocate, a spokesperson, a leader and in some cases a cheerleader. Stepping back and allowing a spokesperson to take the hard line is not the way to gain the support and trust of the community.
9. What is your take on the situation at North High?
It makes me sad. I attended North High School for my junior year and I have many friends that graduated from North. As a life-long resident of the East Side, I have seen many of these students come through the Friendly House basketball program and East Side Babe Ruth. They are good kids and they are all willing to learn. We need to get the focus back on educating. With the right plan you will see North High shine again.
10. If you could give one piece of advice to Worcester kids enrolled in public schools what would it be?
Ignore the Noise and aspire to be great and good things will come. I know it sounds corny but the students do have many excellent teachers that truly care about their success. Keep Calm and Study On.
Related Slideshow: 10 Worcester School Committee Candidates
Here are the 10 Worcester School Committee Candidates that have pulled nomination papers.
Nick D'Andrea has been living in Worcester since 1973. A father of two, D'Andrea has one child in the Worcester Public Schools.
He has been a long-time umpire and used to contribute to the Telegram and Gazette.
D'Andrea is currently a Sales Operations Project Manager for Hewlett-Packard.
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