Brian O’Donnell: Candidate for Regional School Committee

Brian O’Donnell, candidate for Regional School Committee

I am Brian O’Donnell and I am seeking a first term as one of Bedford’s two representatives to the Shawsheen Regional School Committee.  In that capacity, I would like to represent our community in the governance of a school that has established itself as one of the Commonwealth’s pre-eminent secondary vocational programs.  Bedford is fortunate to be a member of the Shawsheen district although historically we have underutilized this resource in comparison to our fellow district members (Billerica, Burlington, Tewksbury, and Wilmington).  I would see part of my role as a school committee member as helping to expand awareness within Bedford of the special opportunities provided by 21st-century vocational schools for serving a range of student learning styles and interests, preparing students for college programs and other types of post-high school training, and developing skills sought by both traditional and emerging industries.

My own appreciation for the attributes of vocational schools was nurtured by my wife Renee’s experiences as a teacher at Minuteman Vocational HS for nearly thirty years.  It has always been exciting to see students combine academic work with hands-on experience in robotics, biotechnology, automotive diagnostics, culinary arts, etc.    Vocational schools have been leaders in emphasizing experiential learning opportunities and Shawsheen has certainly well served the needs of many Bedford families.  My sense is that there are probably even more students within our town who could benefit by its offerings (we generally do not use all of our allocated slots while other towns have waiting lists of students seeking to attend).  For the last several years we have sponsored Brown Book Awards at Shawsheen and Minuteman at annual awards nights and such gatherings have served as a reminder of the enthusiasm many students have for their decision to pursue a vocational education.

During this campaign period and beyond I would welcome an opportunity to speak with students and other members of our community who are interested in expanding Bedford’s presence at Shawsheen and have experiences and information to share related to that choice that most families make when a student is in eighth grade (and life is full of challenging choices).    I will admit that I am generally void of any practical technical skills myself (which is why I have spent most of my working years as an attorney).  However, I think I can be of service to the Shawsheen School Committee and have enjoyed previously being involved in serving on various town committees, including stints on the Bicycle Advisory Committee, Transportation Committee, Arbor Resources, and others.

I would appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Shawsheen School Committee (following in the footsteps of Glen McIntyre who has generously given nearly ten years of service to Shawsheen for which he is to be commended).  I look forward to hearing from residents with questions, ideas, and recommendations for this role.

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Julia Padua Whiteneck
Julia Padua Whiteneck
1 year ago

Thank you for running for this important position, Brian! I know you have many years of experience getting to know Bedford kids in your capacity as coach over the many years as our children were growing up. You have my vote!

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