NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 29, 2013

Luekens wants 'best in class' school system

MICHAEL LUEKENS

Candidate’s statement:

As a city, we have all of the ingredients to create a “best in class” school system, and as a father to two young boys, I have a vested interest to ensure that we make progress toward that goal each year.

As a member of the School Committee, I would seek to leverage these ingredients — talented and dedicated teachers and administrators, committed parents, improved resources and a community that values the importance of education — to help position Newburyport as a top school district in Massachusetts and beyond. My specific priorities in meeting this goal would be to improve technology and special education, work to find creative ways to expand the curriculum (including foreign languages, AP courses and other electives), further leverage community resources to improve educational outcomes, add rigor to the annual budgeting and planning process, ensure all important decisions are grounded in data, work to improve evaluation and accountability mechanisms, and help retain and attract top talent for faculty and school leaders.

Among short-term priorities, it’s essential that we provide Superintendent Viccaro with the latitude she needs and deserves to execute her vision for education in Newburyport, and to ensure the transition from today’s Brown and Bresnahan schools goes smoothly when grades pre-K through third are brought together into a single, new, improved Bresnahan school in 2014.

Age: 36

Family: wife of 11 years, Elizabeth, and two sons, ages 6 and 3

Education: George Washington University (master’s in education policy), Wake Forest University (bachelor’s in sociology)

Current employment: Liberty Mutual, leads 130-person department as manager of Production Operations and Product Support

Past employment: Measured Progress (program manager of educational assessment), New York University (research assistant at NYU’s Institute Education & Social Policy), American Institutes for Research (research analyst working on U.S. Department of Education’s Schools and Staffing Survey)

Political/public service experience: member of Planning Board, Kittery, Maine, 3-year appointed term

Top three priorities:

1. Improve technology and special education.

2. Work to find creative ways to expand the curriculum (including foreign languages, AP courses and other electives).

3. Further leverage community resources to improve educational outcomes.

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