Marblehead Beacon School Committee Questionnaire - Thomas Mathers
Application Letter | Resume
Regardless of whether you are appointed to fill the current vacancy, do you plan to seek election to the School Committee during municipal elections this coming June 2023?
I will not be seeking election to the school committee in 2023. I believe that I am very qualified to step into this position and fulfill the responsibilities given my prior experience as a public school committee member of a district of similar size. I can hit the ground running. I do believe that there are outstanding candidates who are being considered; however, I think it is important for any candidate who seeks an elected term in 2023 to go through a thorough process of a campaign and really understand the role of the school committee first. This is a big commitment and I hope that if I were to serve, it would give the best candidates the proper time to prepare themselves and their constituents for a three year term beginning in 2023.
What aspects of your background or experience best prepare you to serve on the School Committee?
Prior to moving to Marblehead in 2017, I was elected and served a three year term on the Masconomet Regional School System school committee, where I was a member of the policy subcommittee and budget subcommittee. I served on the subcommittee that negotiated with the teacher’s union for a new contract at Masco, which is critical experience. I also served as a trustee of Butler University for four years, where I served on multiple subcommittees. My experience at the primary, secondary and university level provides me with a unique experience on how issues and opportunities in education transcend from the lowest to highest levels of institutions. I can immediately use this experience to provide governance in Marblehead, as well use my experience to navigate the nuances of serving on a public school committee. I am also currently serving at the Federal level as a member of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Gulf War Illness Research Advisory Committee. I continue to serve on private company boards in the biotechnology sector as well as having previously served on multiple publicly listed company boards. The role of a school committee member is to provide governance, and this I believe would be my greatest contribution for this truncated term that I would fulfill. I have a long history of volunteering, having coached both boys and girls youth sports, having run multiple sports leagues, and having served as the Cape Ann League Youth Cheerleading Director, serving as an advisor to non-profit research organizations for children with rare diseases, and as parish council member (and finance committee chair) at my prior Catholic church.
Serving as a public official puts you in a position to be criticized and judged. At no time can you please 100% of people in such a governance role. I am a former Army officer, combat veteran, and a West Point graduate. I feel that I understand that leadership is sometimes lonely, and one must be able to put aside personal feelings to provide governance for the benefit of all stakeholders, to include children and taxpayers. Marbleheaders are not shy about expressing their opinions on school matters! I am quite confident that I am capable of handling all opinions.
What do you believe are the most significant strengths and weaknesses of the current school administration?
My wife Michele and I have two adult children who matriculated from St. John’s Prep and Masconomet respectively. I do not have any opinions of the current school administration, nor do I think it appropriate for any candidate to espouse views on strengths and weaknesses of the administration. That is for a campaign, not for an interview with the Select Board and current School Committee to seek appointment to a truncated term on the school committee. I believe that me being an “outsider” is a strength to the current school committee. I am not bringing in any preconceived notions of the District. I am just volunteering to help things get done.
What are your top priorities if you are appointed to the School Committee?
My top priorities would be to assess the performance of the superintendent, to review and set district policy, and to help Marblehead construct and approve a responsible yet enabling school budget. I would volunteer to serve on whichever subcommittees that I could provide the most value to the school committee. Again, I am 100% committing to not seek election in 2023.