Published April 3, 2019
By JILLIAN STRING
LYNNFIELD — School Committee member Dorothy Presser will be stepping down from her position next week after 21 years of service to the school system.
A member of the committee since 1998, Presser said she was inspired to run for office after spending time on the Summer Street School Council.
“When my oldest son was in first grade, I joined the Summer Street School Council,” Presser stated. “That involvement made me more aware of district-wide issues, not just those at one school. That spring, a member of the School Committee was stepping off and no one was taking out papers to fill the seat. I wanted someone on the committee who really cared about the schools rather than someone who was just appointed to fill a vacancy, so I decided to run.”
Presser noted that she continued to run for office as part of a continual quest to improve education for the district.
“There’s always something to complete, or an initiative on the horizon that’s exciting,” said Presser. “Whether it be new initiatives, new programs, building projects or the like, it’s hard not to be excited about the work and want to be there to support it and see it through.”
Presser said there have been many successes over the past two decades. She said all of them have been achieved by the efforts of many people including teachers, parents, administrators, town officials and the community as a whole working together.
“If I have to pick a few successes over the years where the School Committee played an integral role, I’d say I’m proud of the building projects that have been completed at all four schools,” said Presser. “They allowed us to support the education of our students with appropriate space and facilities, and were the beginning of the use of technology to support teaching and learning. I’m proud that we’re able to provide professional development for our staff to support their hard work on behalf of our students. Getting more professional development time was messy, but in the end the teachers and students have benefited. I’m proud that we’re able to provide a tuition-free full day kindergarten program because I see it as an equity issue that we recognized and addressed.”
A day in the life of a School Committee member is never typical, Presser noted, as the work tends to change throughout the year.
“There are days to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, like passing a budget or settling a contract,” said Presser. “There are days that are stressful when issues arise that are complex and where it’s important to listen to many impassioned opinions. Preparing for meetings takes time and thought to form questions and be ready to participate in discussions, and then there are the most enjoyable parts, like attending graduation or attending other school events such as plays, concerts, art shows or other events where we get to see all that our students accomplish.”
Presser’s advice to future committee members is, “be ready to listen and learn.” She recommended developing an extensive knowledge base in order to tackle the complex issues and passionate opposing viewpoints that are often brought before the committee.
Presser said she has no regrets.
“There’s always more to be done, and more we could be doing, but I believe the School Committee and administration working together has been successful in supporting and delivering a high quality education to our students,” said Presser. “Further, I have confidence in the School Committee, Superintendent Tremblay, and the faculty and staff in our schools to continue working proactively to meet student needs and help all our students be successful.”
Presser’s final School Committee meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Al Merritt Center.