WESTFORD — Westford CAT reached out to the five candidates running for two open School Committee seats in the May 3 Westford municipal elections. Candidates were asked the same outline of questions, and were free to share their replies during an interview with WestfordCAT.
School Committee hopeful Meghan O’Connell spoke with WestfordCAT, outlining her background, experience and aspirations if elected to the committee.
Experience and Education
She has 30 years in biotech engineering after receiving her Bachelor’s of Business in Biomedical Engineering
Past/Present Municipal Experience
Volunteer participation, community involvement
O’Connell noted that as a mother of six children in Westford, she does not have time to be as involved as she’d like.
What should voters know about you?
“I always try to keep an open mind. I have my thoughts and opinions on things. But they can and do change based on learning new facts or new perspectives from other people. That is something I can categorically guarantee if I’m elected to the school committee,” O’Connell told Westford CAT. “I will always keep an open mind and listen to complaints. My goal is to make this not only the best high school in the state, but best in the country. That’s not something that will happen in a year, but we need to have that in mind and make that a goal. That will help us to shape our decisions moving forward. There’s not reason we shouldn’t have that.”
Why do you believe voters should choose you?
“They should choose me because I think the evidence of the last few years of a school district we’re floundering. We’re not making significant improvements. Some of the data shows we’re falling behind. Debates and decisions at the committee level need to be based on data and facts,” she said. “Risks are a key part of that. Avoidance of risk stems from irrational fear, fear that’s not based on facts, which is a primary contributing factor to racism. If we’re serious about addressing racism in this town and improving the schools, we need to change some of the people on the committee and bring in the people who know how to manage risk and value data and make decisions based on that.”
If elected, what impact do you hope to make?
How to address diversity, equity and inclusion:
“DEI is not just about having seminars on that, it’s about creating an environment where groups have more of a sense that they belong,” she said. “I think we need to come up with ways to solicit teachers and administrators from other groups to start to represent the student body, a diverse administration, diverse group of teachers.”
“The budget will be contentious. Can we combine teaching resources to save money? Are there ways to adjust student-teacher ratios,” she said. “Are there ways we can partner with neighboring towns to share costs in electives? There may be a way to maintain the breadth of electives without having to absorb the cost of that.”
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