My name is Jim DeFeo and I am campaigning for the position of Wilmington School Committee Member. I am asking you to vote for me in the Wilmington Town Elections on Saturday April 24th, 2021. I am running to represent the families in Wilmington that need to have their concerns heard, and addressed with compassion, reasonableness, and clarity. Based on my personal observations, and comments made to me in conversations with other concerned parents, we need to focus on, and be proactive with the following:
- Returning our children to the classrooms on a regular, full time basis.
- We need to ensure that student enrollment increases and returns to pre-COVID levels.
- We will need to provide teachers and staff with the materials and technology to move forward and comply with post-COVID guidelines and directives.
- Provide help and guidance that will reach past in classroom learning to sports and other academic extracurricular activities.
- Address the upcoming challenges associated with the financing, planning and implementation of several multimillion-dollar infrastructure repair and improvement projects.
- The District Superintendent’s contract is set to expire on July 1st, 2021. We need to have a plan in place to either implement the roll over option and extend the contract of a set period of time as previously negotiated, or start the search process for a new District Superintendent.
I believe I possess the requisite skill set to accomplish these tasks. I have been a Wilmington resident for 16 years. I have had six children in the town’s school system since 2004, two are currently sophomores at Wilmington High School. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Suffolk University; I have a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College, and I am a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
I am an Army Veteran, I enlisted as a Private in 1985 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2010. I was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for over 15 years. I was a Team Member, Site Supervisor and Project Manager on numerous civil / military construction projects the most notable was the decommissioning of the Hazardous Waste Sites on the former Fort Devens. I am very familiar with the grant funding and budgeting process associated with municipal and federal construction. My core focus while with the Army Corps of Engineers was Environmental Engineering and Environmental Conservation.
I am currently a Sergeant with the Boston Police Department, it is important to note that with over 27 years of work experience in a major urban setting I have been exposed to the needs, issues, and concerns of our collected communities. As a District Detective and as an Investigator assigned to the Family Justice Center I learned to embrace and appreciate the dynamic behind the Multi-Disciplinary Team approach to problem solving. I have built strong bonds with numerous local, state and federal child advocacy groups and other health and human services agencies. These professional relationships will invariably be beneficial in protecting our children and their families when the school committee is called on to monitor events relative to Title IX issues, complaints or abuses. Many times, I have been the lone voice for disenfranchised students and parents when they feel the “system” has failed them.
I was a union representative for over 12 years during that time I served at Shift Representative helping to manage and remediate complaints and grievances at the initial steps. I was also a senior member of both the Heath and Safety Committee and Labor Relations Committee, those working groups were charged with proactively identifying problems associated with daily working conditions, facility maintenance, workplace safety and other concerns not specifically defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. With this experience I will bring a level of reasonableness to the table when addressing issues with the school department staff and the teacher’s association.
The current Wilmington School Committee Policy Manual is over 473 pages, I have not read every letter, word, paragraph or page (yet) but I did take away three very important points that I feel are of paramount importance especially as we move forward and return to full time in person learning, which I read as:
- The School Committee will maintain two-way communication with the community (students, parents, staff and other municipal colleagues).
- The School Committee must promote the optimal learning environment for its students.
- The School Committee will represent the rights of the students and parents first and foremost.
Please accept this as a very brief introduction as to who I am professionally. As we move closer to the election on Saturday April 24, 2021, I will share my thoughts, feeling and vision on how to improve our schools for the future and the way we can better conduct our day-to-day activities.
I ask for your vote on Saturday April 24th. I believe that my life experience and dedication to public service will allow me to represent you, our Wilmington families, with honesty and practicality.
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