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HomeMeet the Candidates: Gideon Gaudette, Kathleen Prescott and Marjorie Avarista

Meet the Candidates: Gideon Gaudette, Kathleen Prescott and Marjorie Avarista

North Attleborough’s Town Election takes place on Tuesday, April 4, with polls at the high school open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. There are two open seats on the School Committee and in this posting, you’ll meet three of the six candidates.

 

James Gideon Gaudette—Candidate for School Committee

Please list any experience on other boards, committees or organizations.  

I am currently a board member on North TV and I’ve been a past board member of Big Red Youth Lacrosse

Why are you running for this position? 

I’m running because I said in my resignation letter from the North Attleborough School Department last July that I wanted to remain active in the community. I can’t think of a better way to remain active in the community than by being a member of the School Committee. I hope my experience in public education can help the North Attleborough Schools going forward.

If elected, what issues would you like to focus on?

The issues I would like to focus on are the high school renovation project, additional school security and budget priorities.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

My 25 years in public education set me apart from the other candidates.

What are some areas that the town has improved upon and what, in your opinion, remains to be done?

The town has done a nice job supporting the high school field renovation, security upgrades and the initial steps toward a high school renovation.  The town and the school department need to look at the sustainability of all our very old neighborhood schools and start a serious discussion about building a new large school to combine the schools downtown.

Being part of a board requires one to be a team player. Does your background lend you to working well in this environment?

I’ve been a team player during my entire professional career. Education is a team sport—we rely on each other to help students succeed.

 

 

Marjorie Avarista – School Committee Candidate

Please list any experience on other boards, committees or organizations.

Member of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council

Member of the Search Committee for the Falls School Principal

Why are you running for this position? 

My husband and I have been residents in North Attleborough for nearly a decade. As a working mom, we have two young boys – my oldest a kindergartener at Falls. I am running for School Committee for two main reasons. First, to ensure our children are offered the best education possible in North Attleborough and second, I’m putting my expertise to good use instead of sitting on the sidelines: I want to help cultivate a 21st century education for all and make an impact while bring a fresh perspective.

If elected, what issues would you like to focus on? 

  1. Cultivate a 21st century education for all – create more programs building necessary skills for the future: strategizing both the short and long-term to create programs giving our children the best advantages for success
  2. Increase support for special education by seeking additional funds for resources: With reduction of Covid ESSER funds, we should be prioritizing continued support for special education, social-emotional and mental health ensuring our children stay on-track for learning
  3. Promote transparency in all decisions made including tax expenditures: by improving communication between school committee and the general public; answering taxpayer questions with easy to understand responses

What sets you apart from other candidates? 

I have no hidden agenda with my candidacy. I’m not running for personal gain or because I am trying to put myself in a position of power for the sake of it. My agenda is working towards what is best for our children and their education – period. Professionally I have an MBA and an extensive background in financial budgeting, compensation and HR policy. I specialize in finding money where it doesn’t exist – getting creative and thinking outside of the box with limited resources. I want to bring that expertise to the school committee and make a difference where possible.

What are some areas that the town has improved upon and what, in your opinion, remains to be done?

We need to break away from old, outdated methods and embrace new, innovative approaches. In the past few years we’ve seen some outstanding, forward thinking folks join the schools. In addition, the town is experiencing tremendous financial growth. We’ve made great strides in making improvements, but there’s still work to be done. Investing in our infrastructure is vital, and there are many capital improvements that have been band-aided for years. Better support for mental health and special education. Continuing improvement for our programming/curriculum to remain competitive and set our children up for success. Just to name a few.

Being part of a board requires one to be a team player. Does your background lend you to working well in this environment?

Yes, in all aspects of both my professional career and personal life, I’ve been part of a team. I believe that teamwork is essential to achieving success, and I always strive to be a strong contributor to any team. I’m open to feedback and am always willing to help others when needed. I believe bringing people together with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can lead to increased creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. When people with different viewpoints collaborate, they can come up with more unique and effective solutions to challenges. Working together, we can accomplish more than anyone on their own.

 

Kathleen Prescott—Candidate for School Committee

Past Experience: Former RTM and Finance Committee, current Town Council, Finance Subcommittee, and chair of the Rules Subcommittee.

Why are you running for this position? 

As a previous Finance Committee and current Town Council member, I have seen the school district participate in the annual budget and planning process many times. I am looking forward to having the chance to more intimately engage in these processes with the schools as we work through some major projects at both the town and school level.

If elected, what issues would you like to focus on? 

My major focus would be making sure that all of our school programs are supported and funded. I am personally invested in making sure our special education programs are supported and the budget continues to take into account unplanned expenses with a Special Education Stabilization fund.

What sets you apart from other candidates?   

I have a wide range of experience both in town government and the Massachusetts school systems. I had children receive special education support through the ELC, study in charter and district schools through elementary, middle, and high school, both in person and full-time online learning, and am currently supporting our two oldest children as they prepare for graduation and college acceptance.

What are some areas that the town has improved upon and what, in your opinion, remains to be done?

Over the past decade our town has significantly improved the budget and capital improvement process. The town now has a public and charter-defined schedule for both the town and the school budget. Through fiscal decision-making and active participation in state and federal programs, the town has moved into a much more stable position, even to the point of improving the town’s credit rating. Overall, we must continue to focus on solid budgeting, funding stabilization, and focus on much-needed maintenance of both town and school facilities.

Being part of a board requires one to be a team player. Does your background lend you to working well in this environment?

My volunteer positions through the town and Scouts have given me multiple opportunities to both lead and participate on teams with a variety of goals. My professional experience and education as a project manager also lend itself well to the work done on the Town Council and School Committee.

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