The open seat on the School Committee, vacated by former Vice Chair Emily Barron, who resigned in October, drew tremendous interest from residents around town, with the Select Board and the School Committee receiving eleven applications to review ahead of an as-yet-to-be-determined date where candidates will be interviewed and ultimately an appointment will be made to fill the seat.
The eleven applicants for the position are: Paul Baker, Jennifer Brennan, Ariana Contreras, Kim Day, Don DeWitt, Raymond Hansen, Thomas Paul Mathers, Liam McGeown, Joe Patuleia, Scott Stunkel, and Laurence Winer. Contreras was deemed ineligible for the seat because she is not a registered voter in town.
Baker and his wife, Julie, have been longtime residents of Marblehead and are former local business owners. He is currently the Head of School at Deveraux and Devereux at Waring Schools. When Baker is not working at Deveraux schools, he volunteers as a member of the MCCPS Board of Trustees in Marblehead. Since 1998, Baker had been living as a “Permanent Legal Resident/Green card holder”, but became a U.S citizen this year. In his cover letter, he stated that he has learned a great deal about working with others as a member of a committee/board, and has also been vocal and active when it comes to happenings with Marblehead Public Schools.
Brennan has been a Marblehead resident for 20 years, and has two children in the MPS system, including a senior attending Marblehead High School. She has been involved with a number of PCOs as a board member at different schools, and has also been involved with the approval process of the construction of two elementary schools. Brennan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, who previously worked as an attorney in Hartford and Boston, as well as a paralegal in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Vice President of the PCO at Marblehead High School, and is also a parent volunteer on the School Advisory Committee at the high school.
Day is currently the co-vice president of the Marblehead High School Parent Teacher Organization and is formerly the co-president of the PTO at the Coffin Elementary School. In her resume, Day describes herself as a “reliable team player and intentional leader with the
proven ability to effectively build teams and collaborate both in-person and remotely.” In her professional career, she is working as a senior marketing program manager at Deloitte-Green Dot Agency and previously worked three different positions at Wunderman in San Francisco. Day is a graduate of James Madison University where she graduated Cum Laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree as a double major in International Affairs and French.
DeWitt is the current owner of Stowaway Sweets located on Atlantic Ave in Marblehead, and currently has two children in the school system. In his cover letter, DeWitt stated that he “brings many years of experience in the hospitality industry,” and says that his experience as a businessman as well as a youth sports coach would be a big help to the committee. He is also a member of the Financial Board of Star of the Sea Church and has done a number of other volunteer work for My Brother’s Table and Raw Artwork in Lynn, and Plummer Youth Promise which is located in Salem. DeWitt graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson from the School of Hospitality and was previously the vice president of corporate catering at Guckenheimer in Boston, which until purchased, was the largest independently operated high-end corporate inhouse food service organization.
Hansen has over a decade of experience in higher education where he currently works as the Associate Dean for the School of Computing & Data Science at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. Hansen is a Purdue graduate with three degrees, including a Masters of Science in Network Engineering and IT Leadership. Hansen believes that his experience working in higher education makes him well equipped to fill the seat as he wrote in his cover letter that he is “well acquainted with the value of education and life-long learning, as well as the importance of a viable inclusive culture that allows a student to flourish in, and out of, the classroom.” Hansen also referenced the the district’s Plan for Success and wrote that using financial resources responsibly to attain the plan’s objectives should be a top priority.
Thomas Paul Mathers
Mathers did not submit a cover letter along with his application, but, according to his resume, he currently serves as the CEO of Allievex Corporation, a company he founded that develops “novel therapies for the treatment of rare pediatric neurodegenerative diseases.” He has spent decades working in biotech after serving in the U.S. Army. A graduate of West Point, Mathers is a licensed commercial rotary wing pilot. He also has basic German and French skills.
McGeown, currently the owner and CEO of Marblehead Movers and First Colony Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, describes himself as a lifelong resident of Marblehead who struggled with a learning disability during his time in the town’s schools and “faced and overcame adversity.” McGeown currently has three children in the public school system, and said he believes that “education is the corner stone of success and responsibility of becoming a productive member of society.” A graduate of Salem State University, McGeown added “there is nothing more important than influencing the school system that plays such a huge role in the young lives of this town.”
An “accomplished educator and non-profit executive,” Patuleia worked as a public school teacher for more than three decades before transitioning to the world of nonprofits, where he has worked as an executive director over the course of the last 18 years. Patuleia currently serves as the interim executive director for The Welcome Project, and at one point served as the acting superintendent of schools in Peabody. Patuleia was also the principal at Lynn English High School, Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, and holds a master’s in education from Harvard University.
Stunkel, a relatively recent Marbleheader, having moved to town in 2018, is a self-described “hands-on software engineering leader,” who currently works as the associate vice president for engineering at Dotmatics in Boston. He said the “role of educator” has played a big role in his life, explaining that he “always had a knack for “explaining” technology to both those older and younger than me.” Stunkel holds a master’s of science from Northwestern University, and worked as a secondary school teacher for four years in Chicago.
A self-described “lifelong educator” Winer worked as a full time instructor at Boston University before getting a law degree from Yale and joining the faculty at what is now the Sandra Day
O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Winer spent 34 years there, and still holds the title of professor emeritus, before retiring in 2016, and moving back to Marblehead with his wife. Winer added that he has an “abiding interest in education at all levels” and said he is “committed to the idea of providing excellent education through public schools for children across a broad spectrum of talent, ability and interest.”