Candidate Profile | Jeremy Brooks
School Committee (contested)
The local election will be April 9, 2022. In order to inform eligible voters and empower them with the information they need to both show up at the polls and make an educated decision once they get there, I’ll be profiling candidates for election. I complete these profiles by interviewing the candidates and then writing up our conversation in a conversational format, much like I have done with the local government profiles. Candidates are invited to review the profiles prior to publication to ensure I got the facts correct.
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This is one of three candidate profiles for the contested Burlington Public Schools (BPS) School Committee race. Click a name below to read about the other candidates.
Jeremy Brooks grew up in Burlington, attending school here from kindergarten through twelfth grade, and he has two children in elementary school in BPS. After retiring from the Air Force in 2021, he returned to his roots in town and, after a 24-year career answering the call to serve all around the world, he is ready to focus on serving his local community.
While in the Air Force, Jeremy managed multiple different organizations, ranging from 12 to 219 members. He managed all aspects of multi-million dollar projects from inception through completion, including defense acquisitions in the $250 million range. His responsibilities included creating contracts, hiring personnel, developing and adhering to very specific budget constraints, managing daily operations, and ensuring work was completed on time.
As he progressed as a leader, he undertook increasingly intensive leadership training opportunities. During these programs, he developed his interpersonal skills and learned how to implement change management practices to maximize the benefit to all stakeholders. This led to even more opportunities to serve in highly selective organizations throughout the Air Force, and Jeremy retired as a Senior Master Sergeant, a rank only 2% of airmen achieve. These learning experiences also turned Jeremy into a life-long learner. Since enlisting in 1998, he earned his associate’s degree in Information Systems and his bachelor’s in Technology and Management. He also holds CompTIA Sec+ and Business Analytics Certifications and a Professional Managers Certification, and he’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems.
Jeremy’s Priorities for BPS
Contract negotiation is one of Jeremy’s top priorities, because the ongoing conversations and disagreements distract from the other important work we need to be doing as a school system.
Jeremy sees transparency with Committee workings as something that can begin to be addressed immediately. Currently, while meetings are televised, it’s not always clear to the public what the Committee is working on and what they anticipate spending time on in the coming weeks and months, and minutes aren’t always readily available or easily digested. Jeremy would like to see more accessible and easily manageable communication from the School Committee - some ideas would be to have the website continuously updated, possibly including executive summaries of meetings and/or a calendar of short- medium- and long-term initiatives and updates about them.
To help with this, he would like to see a more focused, project-management approach to how proposals are brought before School Committee. For example, prior to proposing a project, the proponent would need to provide an implementation schedule, budget, and performance goals.
Another area where we need to focus, according to Jeremy, is the building renovation process. As many of us know, there are currently three schools needing to be rebuilt or seriously overhauled. As a School Committee member Jeremy would use his program management experience to work with the town to plan for known life-cycle costs and build up a reserve fund over several years so we’re not put in the current position again. Additionally, he would work with the Planning Board to be sure we’re anticipating future population growth when we plan these projects.
Jeremy is eager to be the communication bridge for these big capital projects, interfacing with the public and school administration to capture the requirements for each project, and then helping plan and execute the project by communicating with the folks doing the work to be sure projects are completed on time and on budget.
Jeremy believes education brings opportunity, and that students who, like he was, aren’t ready to move directly to college after high school should have more options. To that end, he is pleased with the investment BPS has made in technology literacy and integration for students and would like to see even more be done to enhance the STEM program and encourage students to explore post-graduation options other than the three we typically see: college, military, or trade.
Learning how to code and program is, in Jeremy’s opinion, an essential skill in today’s ever-connected world - especially in a town like Burlington, which is home to countless technology companies and, therefore, opportunity. Jeremy would like to leverage these hubs of innovation to offer creative opportunities for young people with promise in these fields.
Another focus area that has come up in meetings with community members is special education and addressing needs of kids with IEPs. As a Committee, it’s clear we need to peel back the onion and see what’s going on and how we can address it.
Related, Jeremy would really like to help create a comprehensive plan for how we can address the gap between where kids are and where they should be after two years of interrupted learning due to the pandemic.
Jeremy believes diversity of perspective is necessary to make the School Committee effective, and he doesn’t see a lot of this diversity on the current Board. This, combined with his desire to shape education policy in town to create the best possible educational experience for his children and all Burlington children, led him to believe School Committee would be a good fit for his next step into public service.
He values transparency and being informed, and characterizes himself as very self-aware and someone who has never shied away from a challenge or hard work.
Jeremy can be reached in the following ways, and his goal is to respond within 24 hours:
Jeremy has a virtual event this Thursday, March 10, at 7pm; don’t forget to check his Facebook page for details.