By Chris Maza
LONGMEADOW – School Committee member John Fitzgerald formally announced is candidacy for re-election to a three-year term in the June 3 election.
Fitzgerald, a retired Longmeadow teacher and member of the School Committee since 2008, touted his involvement in the construction of the new high school and his focus on maintaining excellence in the services offered to students in Longmeadow Public Schools.
“A longtime resident, I understand that investment in our schools means investment in the young people of Longmeadow as they prepare for productive lives in the decades ahead,” he said.
He added that those investments have extended beyond the new building and have ensured the development of strong programs and the efficiency of other existing schools.
“Longmeadow is fortunate to employ a high quality teaching staff at all levels of the school system. The district is working consistently to sustain a sound special education program while simultaneously being financially responsive to the supporting community,” he said. “Our investment in maintenance of older buildings and of school grounds has reduced wasteful expenditures. Prudent practices have been implemented ensuring compliance with mandates and reducing legal costs.”
He identified declining school enrollment as one of the issues facing the town in the future and as a result, the district would be exploring the possibility of consolidating the two current middle schools into one modern building.
He also said the district is constantly faced with the challenge of retaining quality faculty and staff and has been successful in doing so thus far.
“Longmeadow has a continuing need to maintain excellent educational staff members,” he said. “Realistic educator evaluations – coupled with reasonable salary adjustments – support this goal.”
He also praised the district in the recent development of adult learning programs at the high school designed to connect the entire community to the new building.
He also said the district needs to be innovative in its role as global citizens.
“Like most communities, Longmeadow also needs to continue its commitment to green policies in its operations as the schools continue to teach our children to be responsive to environmental challenges of the 21st century,” he said.
Fitzgerald taught social studies at Longmeadow High School from 1971 to 2004, also serving as a department head, and has been a resident since 1976. Prior to that, he served in the Army and is a combat veteran, having served as a platoon leader in the 25th Infantry Division in the Vietnam War in 1966. For his service, he received a combat infantry badge, the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart.
Previously, he served the town as a member of the Longmeadow Educational Excellence Foundation board, the Democratic Town Committee and the Longmeadow Historical Society. He is also a trustee of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.