Candidate Profile | Melissa Massardo
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.
Other upcoming opportunities to learn more about your candidates:
Democratic Town Committee Candidate Event
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.
Melissa is a Burlington parent with two children - one who currently attends a BPS elementary school and one who will in the future. She’s got a bachelor’s degree in Economics as well as an MBA, and believes this education experience will benefit her as a School Committee member.
Melissa has worked in operations and project management for 15 years and has a wealth of experience with large projects. She believes she can leverage her skills in oversight and strategic planning not only to support the large building projects we have on the horizon but also to examine the existing procedures and policies to be sure they are up to date and suited to the evolving needs of our schools and their students.
As a School Committee member, Melissa is eager to take a forward-looking approach and ensure we have a long-term plan in place that anticipates the future needs of our kids.
Melissa’s Priorities for BPS
Community members might know Town Meeting approved funding for a feasibility study for a new Fox Hill. The projected horizon for that project is seven years, which means it will be a long time before we are able to fill a beautiful new building with students. In the interim, Melissa sees many areas where the school committee could focus their time and energy.
The first of these is to find a way now to support capacity in our schools, some of which are already quite full and having to use space creatively.
Additionally, Melissa would like to see the Committee focus on pandemic recovery. She would work with the Committee to create a plan for how to address the mental health needs of our students, remediate the learning loss many have incurred as a result of interrupted learning, and recover the sense of community that we’ve missed over the last two years. Starting to hold events and get parents back into schools would be a great starting point, Melissa says.
After seeing the Safe Routes to School presentation, Melissa became involved in this effort and joined the Transportation Committee. She was encouraged the School Committee agreed to join the program and is eager to shepherd the work forward. She is excited at the potential this project offers (via state funding!) to address school transportation issues such as arrival and dismissal procedures, sidewalks and other infrastructure, traffic flow, and encouraging alternate methods of transportation.
Melissa sees long-term planning as the biggest long-term priority for BPS. As a school committee member she would contribute to the creation of short- and long-term plans, addressing budget and infrastructure needs such as capacity over a longer period of time to ensure we are accounting for how we anticipate the town looking in the coming decades.
How much more space will we need? Do we need to expand the BECC? How are the new homes in the area expected to affect the population demographics of our town? For example, if smaller houses belonging to elderly couples are demolished and replaced with larger homes for families with young children, are we accounting for that growth in the school-age population? These are only some questions Melissa plans to ask and answer as a part of the long-term planning strategy for School Committee.
Conversations with residents have revealed to Melissa that the special education policies and procedures (and adherence to them) need to be examined with fresh eyes. Melissa wants to work closely with the Special Education Parent Action Committee to look at the latest research, laws and guidelines and ensure we are meeting or exceeding these for all Burlington students who require special education services.
Melissa believes she’s the right person to serve on School Committee because she can use her education and professional experience to help transition the Committee from a reactionary approach to a more forward-looking one. She also has a vested interest in improving BPS and can provide vital parental representation as we navigate the fallout from the pandemic and plan for the inevitable changes the coming years will bring.
She would work with the Superintendent and town and, most importantly, parents to institute a more cohesive approach for communicating with parents and the community, including a more robust public-facing website with a way for parents to subscribe to receive information about the Committee’s activities.
Melissa can be reached in the following ways:
Melissa is planning a wine night at the Made in Burlington store. Don’t forget to check her Facebook page for more details about this and other upcoming events. If you do not have access to social media, you can sign up at her website to receive updates.