By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
After this April, the School Committee is going to have a much different look.
Committee members Kevin O’Donnell and Carol Wagner have both decided not to run for re-election, bringing a combined tenure of 18 years to a close. At the March 1 meeting—one of the last the two would attend as committee members—their colleagues recognized their work over the last decade.
Superintendent Scott Holcomb said that Wagner had been among those faculty laid off during recent budget difficulties, and was concerned that she’d leave the committee as a result. Instead, she remained a steadfast part of the group. He added that O’Donnell has been “true and blue, through and through.”
“I’ve seen incredible things happen built on the shoulders of people like you,” said Holcomb. “I wish you the best with your new-found free time.”
In the race for School Committee, Kathryn Hobbs is the only member to run for re-election. Tasha Buzzell and Joseph Flaherty also pulled and turned in their nomination papers. This means that all three candidates will run unopposed for the three seats.
The committee had many good things to say about Wagner and O’Donnell. Sarah Stone said Wagner often attended the Community School PTO meetings (which Stone used to be a member of) and said that O’Donnell is “such a lovely person.”
“Whenever I reached out with a question, she (Wagner) always heard me out,” said Stone.
Chairman James McKenna said that both are the epitome of public servants. He recalled that O’Donnell is always busy with one thing or another, but when asked to look at the bleachers at the high school football field, he told McKenna that he would be there in 10 minutes.
“It sends a chill down my spine that the sacrifices they’ve made for so many years,” said McKenna.
Wagner described her time on the committee as a fabulous experience and that she has loved being a part of it. She recalled the times when she’d meet with Assistant Superintendent Michele McKeon and talk about how the students were doing.
“This is a great group of people and good luck to you all,” she said.
O’Donnell said that though he wouldn’t be on the committee, he wasn’t going to be going away. He was originally part of one of the town’s PTOs, and later ran for the committee. He thanked both the past and present committee members, and said being part of it is an education in and of itself.
“Chemistry is a big thing. It’s about we, it’s about the town, the children and the future,” said O’Donnell. “I’ll be around. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be watching.”