A department chair at the Minuteman Regional Technical High School is Arlington's first potential nonincumbent candidate to take out papers for School Committee for the April town election.
Michael Buckley, who chairs history and social studies at the Lexington school, brings more than 15 years as an educator, supervisor and mentor. He is seeking a three-year seat.
"My desire to run for School Committee is rooted in the belief that an educated society is the only guarantee of a democratic society," he wrote after he was asked why he wants to run.
"Therefore, preserving the integrity of our schools financially and culturally will ensure the education, protection and care of our children, allowing all the opportunity and promise of a hopeful future. I know and understand this community and want only the best for our schools and our children. I care deeply about this town, and would like the opportunity to give back, in part, what it has given to me."
Three current members of the School Committee took out papers in December. Judson Peirce and Kirsi Allison-Ampe seek reelection in April to three-year seats, and Paul Schlichtman, appointed this year after Joseph Curro Jr. was elected selectman, seeks a one-year term.
To date, this year's town-election landscape has had few takers. That is in contrast with the 2012 election season, when the most candidates since 1993 ran.
The 45-year-old town resident who also taught history at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School wrote that "Arlington has a well-deserved reputation for excellence and achievement, standards that I am committed to upholding. I have been involved in the development of budgets, innovative curriculum, enhancing educational standards and fostering professional development.
"As the father of two young girls who are in elementary school, I have a greater insight into the issues that are impacting our schools, just as all parents of school age children who live here do. I believe that I possess the necessary personal qualities, professional background and perspective that will complement the Arlington School Committee as it moves into the future."
Asked what he sees as the greatest challenges ahead for our public schools, he responded:
"I don't need to remind anyone that we are in, and will be for the foreseeable future, pressing economic times. My commitment to the citizens of this community will be to work to the best of my ability in order to ensure that growth and development occurs dispute these obstacles. Therefore, I believe that our top priority lies in maintaining fiscal responsible and accountability.
"Second, I believe it essential that we work diligently in ensuring that our town remains competitive and desirable to prospective families and citizens.
"Third, when discussing the best possible way of investing in our children, I believe it lies in the way we most effectively identify, recruit and retain the most qualified teachers and administrators. The last point deals with the question of safety; we must seriously look at the question of effective lock down protocol and procedures."
Asked how he would address such challenges, Buckley wrote:
"The Arlington School Committee has an already well-established tradition of professionalism and integrity. I hope to join this Committee in order to continue his commitment today and into the future through ongoing fiscal accountability based on the belief that every dollar spent responsibly on our children is one more dollar wisely invested in their future.
"This includes ensuring that the classrooms that service our children are classrooms of the 21st century and that the teachers in these classrooms are provided with the most effective, meaningful professional development training available. In conjunction with this, I would make sure that I work with elected officials in making sure that we are maximizing all state and federal funding possible.
"An extension of this responsibility involves looking even harder at education policy. Education policy at every level affects our schools, our children and their future. It is not simply enough to know what these policies are, but to study these policies in order to understand the effects that these policies are having on our children.
"I would work diligently in making sure we continue to elevate academic standards and outcomes while at the same time making sure that we do not compromise the quality of community that we have developed here in Arlington. I believe that we can achieve both of these simultaneously through frequent and effective communication with and between teachers, administrators, and parents. By encouraging and fostering this type of communication and community outreach, we will be able to attract, recruit and retain the best and most qualified teachers."
The Nicod Road resident was born and raised in Arlington. He lived six years in Watertown and in 2006 moved back to town and has been here ever since.
In other key town positions John Leone, the Town Meeting moderator, seeks reelection, as does James Doherty of the Board of Assessors, for a three-year seat.
Bridgett James took out papers seeking to fill a two-year vacancy on the Housing Authority. Incumbent Housing Authority member Richard B. Murray has taken out papers for a five-year seat.
This story was pulished Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013.