WORCESTER, Mass. – The four candidates seeking re-election for Worcester School Committee all voted a few months ago to move forward with the search for a new superintendent.
“It’s really someone that can take us to the next level, even beyond where we are now and work, to build a strategic plan for the next five-plus years of the district and really long term goal setting,” Worcester School Committee incumbent Molly McCullough said.
“I’m looking for someone who believes in our community,” Worcester School Committee incumbent Dianna Biancheria said. “Who knows they are going to have to be committed and dedicated and have an approach that’s inclusive.”
Laura Clancey and Tracy O’Connell Novick say they want to find someone who’s held a similar role in the past.
“I’m looking for someone with vast experience, working in a school district of our size and our diverse population,” Clancey said.
“I don’t want them to have training wheels on when they get here,” O’Connell Novick said. “There is enough to learn for any new superintendent in a system, without them having to need to learn that aspect of the job on the ground.
Depending on what happens on Tuesday, it could be the first time the Worcester School Committee is made up of all women. It could also be the first time a Black man is elected for a seat. There are eight candidates competing for six seats.
Molly McCullough is seeking her fourth term. One of her focuses is how to spend state and federal funding coming to the district.
“We really need to look at expanding some pre-K, early education programs, increasing our technology with a lot of those funds, but we really need to work on the social and emotional component for our students,” McCullough said.
Clancey, who’s running for a second term, agrees families need more support. She says finding a new superintendent is a top priority.
“The superintendent search is going to play a big role of where our school district going to go over the years, so that’s our main focus, getting the right person in for that seat,” Clancey said.
Dianna Biancheria is looking to be elected for the seventh time. She says a top priority for her, is reviewing a report which will lay out steps to keep schools safe as resource officers are removed.
“I think that’s very important for our students and our teachers, because if our schools aren’t safe there isn’t any teaching, there isn’t any learning,” Biancheria said.
Biancheria says she’s interested in taking another look at sex education curriculum, if opt outs continue to grow.
Meanwhile, O’Connell Novick has served on the committee four times before. She too has concerns about student’s mental health and says she wants to focus on planning renovations and repairs for the future.
“I think its past time for us to actually have that conversation with the city,” O’Connell Novick said. “Doherty is great, South is great, North is great, Tech is great. What are we going to do about the rest of the elementary schools in particular going forward.”
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.