To the editor:

I am writing in support of Dan Blair as a candidate for the School Committee.

As a fellow alumni of Newburyport High School (Class of 1996), myself and my family have known Dan for over 30 years and can speak to his character and experience of why he has my vote, and deserves your vote, too!

Dan attended school at the Bresnahan, the Nock and the high school so he has truly been “in the shoes” of the students and families he wants to represent.

I also know that while obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he remained connected as a substitute teacher often filling in at the Nock for special education teams.

In his position as director of athletics at NECC, Dan faces some of the same challenges our city faces and has risen to meet them – for example, he was part of the COVID planning to ensure continuing education of students since March of 2020 as the college quickly shifted to remote learning, has been actively involved in plans for a safe return to campus, and implemented a student-athlete COVID testing program where he administers the tests.

His COVID testing program continues today and has been a model for other schools that have followed suit.

Dan has hands-on experience administering COVID funding to make improvements to infrastructure, implement testing, and keep students enrolled – this experience is important because over the next few years, Newburyport Public Schools will be eligible for several million dollars to address the gaps caused by COVID.

He represents NECC on several boards and committees at both the regional and national level, and this type of experience would transfer over well to be on the School Committee and any subcommittees.

He understands what it takes to have student interest at the forefront, while also listening to the concerns of parents; puts forward RFPs; oversees budgets and financing; and finds ways to support the inequalities students face both on, and off, the field.

I am confident that Dan’s education and experience would benefit our School Committee.

As a fellow alum of NHS public schools, as a resident of Newburyport, and as a parent, Dan has my vote.

Matt Chmielewski

Newburyport

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