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slides: Will Worcester’s School Committee See Overhaul this Fall?

Thursday, April 09, 2015


Little over a month remains to submit papers to run for Worcester School Committee. So far, thirteen individuals have submitted nomination papers to the Board of Election Commissioners for certification of signatures, including all six school committee incumbents.

School Committee member Brian O'Connell said, "Early signs suggest that more challengers will enter the School Committee race this year than in the past. While it is early to predict election outcomes, I do believe that the Committee selected this fall could welcome a new member - or new members - and that changes in the Committee's viewpoint, approach, and current deference to its school administration are a distinct and realistic possibility.

SEE SLIDES BELOW: Worcester School Committee Candidates

O'Connell does note that incumbents have been defeated in the last two school committee eleections.

It has yet to be seen what kind of changes will occur following the elections this fall, but in the turmoil and controversy that is North High and the contract renewal of Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone for another three years, it is reasonable to expect that Worcester residents may want to see a change or two on the committee. 

"The 2015 election could be rather volatile, as the past few months have brought School Committee issues more public attention, and controversy, especially regarding the Superintendent's contract extension, and the student and staff safety topics related to North High School," said O'Connell. "Current Committee members have significantly varied viewpoints as to these key topics, so debate could be rather vibrant."

"Based on the fact that five of the current members voted to extend Dr. Boone's contract by three years with a hefty increase in pay and benefits, I would say that some of those members could be vulnerable.  Of course all of them could also be re-elected. The determining factor will be who runs against them, how hard those challengers work, how much money they raise, and how vocal they are against those school committee members who support Dr. Boone," said long-time educator Gary Vecchio.

The Worcester Public Schools system is governed through at-large representational democracy. Every two years, a six-member School Committee along with the mayor, who chairs both the School Committee and the City Council, are chosen in at-large elections.

As it stands there are seven challengers for school committee so far. The list includes Molly O. McCullough, Nicola (Nick) J. D'Andrea, Robert J. Cohane, Jeremy D. Balcom, William F. Holmes, and Cotey J. Collins.

McCullough is the daughter of retired Forest Grove Principal Maureen McCullough. Molly is officially announcing her candidacy on April 29 at Worcester Fitness.

Collins is a current senior at Worcester Tech. He announced his nomination on March 5 at a school committee meeting. Collins spoke of his displeasure with Dr. Boone's contract renewal. 

"This vote shocked the community. Many of the plans Dr. Boone has provided in the past have proved to be ineffective. Five members of the school committee are not listening, and have been out of school way too long. I’ve decided to run for school committee this year,” said Collins.

The deadline to submit nomination papers for consideration is May 19 at 5 PM. The Municipal Election is Tuesday, November 3.


Related Slideshow: 10 Worcester School Committee Candidates

Here are the 10 Worcester School Committee Candidates that have pulled nomination papers.

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Dianna L. Biancheria


Biancheria was first elected to the committee in 2009. She is a graduate of North High School in Worcester and was the Chief of Staff for former Mayor Ray Mariano. Biancheria recieved the third-most votes in the 2013 election.

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John L. Foley


Foley has the second-longest tenure on the committee being elected in 1999. Foley serves on Clark University's Board of Trustees and is the school's Vice President of Government and Community Affairs.

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John F. Monfredo


Monfredo spent 20 years as principal of Belmont Community School before being elected to the School Committee.

Monfredo has been on the Committee since 2005.

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Tracy A. O'Connell Novick


Novick has been on the Worcester School Committee since 2010. In 2012, she served as Vice-Chair of the Committee.

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Brian A. O'Connell


In 2013, O'Connell received the highest amount of votes (8,146 or 15.7%) of the current six school committee members. 

A graduate of Holy Cross College and Harvard Law, O'Connell was first elected to the committee in 1983. 

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Hilda Ramirez


Ramirez made an unsuccessful bid for school committee in 2011, but was elected in 2013 as the only newcomer on the committee. Ramirez served as the Executive Director of the Worcester Youth Center from 2008-2012.

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Nick D'Andrea

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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Cotey J Collins

Cotey Collins is currently a senior at Worcester Technical High School.

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Carlos C Perez

Perez is a graduate of Doherty High in Worcester

He is the owner A. Alternative Pest Solutions.

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Molly O McCullough

McCullough is the daughter of retired Forest Grove Principal Maureen McCullough.

Molly is currently the Chair of the Planting the Seed Foundation.


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