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McGovern: Leadership, new ideas matter

Updated 10:01 am, Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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Education in Westport has been always been outstanding, but the challenge of keeping our "great schools great" is becoming increasingly complex. Developing a curriculum unique to Westport while fulfilling the new state-mandated Common Core, attracting and keeping the best teachers, leveraging the personal technology students carry into our schools every day, and working cooperatively with town departments to improve school safety are but a few of the issues faced by the incoming board.

These challenges must be addressed in a fiscally responsible manner, reflecting the trust placed in the board by Westport's taxpayers. Most don't even have children in the schools, but they recognize the importance of a first-rate school system for our community and our nation. Meeting these challenges takes experience, skill and ideas. But most of all, it takes leadership- to build consensus, communicate effectively, advocate passionately -- to get things done.

I currently serve as vice chairman of the Board of Education. In my six years on the board, I have led initiatives that have positively impacted education in Westport. These include increasing the foreign language high school graduation requirement, recommending the development of an award-winning personal-financial management course at Staples, and leading the effort to reduce class size in second grade.

My 25-year career in investment banking gives me the financial and management skills greatly needed on the board. As vice chairman, my detail-oriented budget analysis, creative problem solving and willingness to challenge conventional thinking have kept costs under control. Most importantly, as the father of four Westport-educated children, I am committed to ensuring our schools provide the right education for every child, taught in a safe and welcoming environment by the highest-quality teachers. On Nov. 5, please vote for Michael McGovern, Jeannie Smith and Karen Kleine, because in education, leadership matters.