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School panel, constable races slated.

Byline: Craig S. Semon

STURBRIDGE - While there is no selectmen's race this year (incumbent Thomas R. Creamer and Mary Redetzke are the sole candidates for two vacancies), there is a three-way contest for two three-year Tantasqua Regional School Committee seats, and another three-way contest for a three-year term as constable.

The election will be held April 9.

Incumbents Michele Fitzgerald and Susan Waters and newcomer Jennifer A. Harwich-Vaughan are vying for the school committee seats. Ms. Fitzgerald has been a member of the Tantasqua Regional School Committee for the past six years. She is a four-year member of the curriculum subcommittee, and has served as its chairwoman for the past two years. She is also a past chairwoman of the bylaw and policy subcommittee, which she has served on for five years.

"My commitment to the District and our students extends beyond the school committee - I'm in my third year as the coach of the girls' junior varsity lacrosse team, my fifth year as the attorney adviser to the high school's mock trial team, and serve as a court appointed advocate for children in the Worcester County foster care system," Ms. Fitzgerald said. "I believe that these experiences, and my 20 years as an attorney, help me bring an informed and balanced perspective to the school committee, and one that works well in collaboration with our parents, teachers and administrators and in the best interests of our students."

On July 11, selectmen named Ms. Waters to fill a vacancy on the school committee. Ms. Waters served as the Sturbridge Volunteer Resource Coordinator after the June 1 tornado. She has served as a college instructor, medical researcher and school nurse. She is the recipient of the Massachusetts Public School Nurse of the Year and the Massachusetts Teachers Association Human and Civil Rights awards.

"Since my appointment last July to the Tantasqua Regional School Committee as a representative of Sturbridge, I have carefully studied the challenges facing our students, parents and our community. I recognize the importance of transparency in this process and the need for greater participation from parents and residents," Ms. Waters said. "As a professional educator, I understand the critical foundation essential to effective and successful education system. As a parent, I recognize the need for accessibility and accountable from the elected and appointed school committee members. As a taxpayer, I realize the challenging financial times many of us are experiencing and understand the need of scrutiny of the school budget."

Ms. Harwich-Vaughan has an extensive business background in the hospitality and tourism industry, especially in the budgeting and planning end, which she said makes her the perfect candidate as a school committee member. She has held executive management positions for more than 20 years.

"We need to strive for affordable quality education for our students. We need to make sure our graduates are well positioned to be able to further their education in the very best colleges and universities, and at the same time, make sure that those students that are planning a career also have a terrific background to prepare them for their chosen fields," Ms. Harwich-Vaughan said. "These young people are the future of Sturbridge, the Commonwealth and our country. We cannot let them down and at the same time making absolutely sure that we're going to use due diligence, guaranteeing our taxpayers will not be overburdened."

Incumbents Cheryl G. Economos, Ronald F. Anthony, and Alan R. Jeskey are all vying for a single three-year term as constable.

Ms. Economos has been the constable in Sturbridge for the past six years. She was a Worcester police officer for 22 years, retiring in 2001 and served in the U.S. Air Force for four years during the Vietnam War era.

In addition to constable appointments in Southbridge and Oxford, Mr. Jeskey served as constable in Sturbridge for several years, prior to getting married and moving out of town. Mr. Jeskey has been a dispatcher with the Town of Oxford for 15 years.

Ronald F. Anthony is also running for constable. He could not be reached for comment.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 6, 2012
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