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Newton TAB School Committee endorsement: Margie Ross Decter

Wicked Local Newton
Posted Oct 21, 2009 @ 12:05 AM

Newton —


Margie Ross Decter

Regrettably, we never had the chance to sit down with Tom Mountain so he could explain to us why he is running for School Committee. When we invited him for an endorsement meeting during the preliminary, he rejected our invitation by sending us a statement that he would not solicit or accept the TAB’s endorsement because his friendship with the TAB editors presented a conflict of interest.

We endorsed his opponent, Margie Ross Decter, in the preliminary, for reasons having nothing to do with Mountain and the TAB.

We’ve been impressed by the way Decter, a former national health care policy consultant and business executive, has reached out to virtually every corner and constituency in this city. She’s talked to the head of the teachers’ union. She’s talked to principals and teachers and anyone else who wants to tell her what’s on their mind.

She’d be a welcome addition to the School Committee and has earned our repeat endorsement.

Original Tab Endorsement

2 endorse Decter for School Committee
Posted October 5, 2009 09:42 AM

Newton School Committee candidate Margie Ross Decter has been endorsed by two of her former opponents, her campaign announced Thursday.

Linda Green and Tom White, whom Ross Decter defeated in the Sept. 15 preliminary election, are now publicly backing her.

“I am honored that Tom White and Linda Green are supporting me,” Ross Decter said in a statement. “They each ran formidable campaigns on the issues important to the future vitality of the Newton Public Schools. We share a vision for excellence in which all children can meet their full potential and benefit from sustainable programs for the future. I value their ideas and expertise and look forward to our future collaboration.”

Ross Decter dominated the preliminary election for the Ward 8 seat, which is being vacated by term-limited Dori Zaleznik. Ross Decter took 48 percent of the vote, easily outpacing the 24 percent garnered by second-place finisher Tom Mountain.

Ross Decter, a management consultant, has called for curbing rising health care costs, expanding differentiated instruction, and partnering with local colleges and universities.

Mountain, a former Newton Tab columnist, has called for a number of controversial changes to the schools system, including phasing out local participation in the Metco voluntary school integration program, reducing the number of children being diagnosed with learning disabilities, and modifying social studies instruction that he says focuses too heavily on multiculturalism.

Ross Decter and Mountain will face off in the Nov. 3 general election.

-- Calvin Hennick, Globe Correspondent

Linda Green and Tom White Endorse Margie Ross Decter

The Committee to Elect Margie Ross Decter announced today that Linda Green and Tom White, former candidates for School Committee in Ward 8, are endorsing Margie Ross Decter for the Ward 8 School Committee seat, a position being vacated by Dori Zaleznik due to term limits.
“Margie and I strongly agree that in order to create a sustainable school system, we need to find ways to fundamentally restructure the financing and delivery of educational services in Newton,” White said. “I believe that Margie is the responsible choice for change. She will provide the right leadership and management skills needed on our School Committee. Margie will take action on critical issues that can no longer be solved at the margins, but require a comprehensive and strategic rethink to deliver a 21st century education.” 
Green said, “Margie has the intellectual energy to grapple with complicated issues.  I like that she can see the big picture.  Whether in public meetings or behind the scenes, I’m sure that Margie will quickly become a valued member with her thoughtful analytic approach.  Her knowledge of health care benefit structure will be an asset to the contract negotiating team.”In her first run for public office, Margie ran a citywide campaign and won 5,924 votes on September 15, more than any other candidate in the primary election. She faces Tom Mountain In the November 3 municipal election.
Ross Decter says, “I am honored that Tom White and Linda Green are supporting me. They each ran formidable campaigns on the issues important to the future vitality of the Newton Public Schools. We share a vision for excellence in which all children can meet their full potential and benefit from sustainable programs for the future. I value their ideas and expertise and look forward to our future collaboration.”


Newton's math program, school finances debated
Posted October 21, 2009 01:07 PM

Newton School Committee candidates faced each other Tuesday night in a rapid-fire series of debates that touched on issues ranging from the city’s math curriculum to the school district’s finances to the search for a new superintendent.

Candidates in the six races debated each other 20 minutes at a time at the event, which was sponsored by the Ward 6 Democratic Committee. The election is Nov. 3.

“I have had issues with the math curriculum,” said Steve Siegel, running for the open Ward 5 seat being vacated by Susan Heyman. “There’s good evidence that the math curriculum is not doing all that it can for our students.”

Siegel’s opponent, Susan Rosenbaum, said she wasn’t convinced the math curriculum has major problems.

“It’s definitely something we should look into, but I don’t think we should definitely throw out the program,” Rosenbaum said.

Margie Ross Decter and Tom Mountain, the two candidates to replace term-limited Dori Zaleznik in the board’s Ward 8 slot, demonstrated their different approaches to the race in their opening statements.

Ross Decter said she was in the race because of her three children, the youngest of whom will graduate high school in 2023. “I’m really in it for the long haul,” Ross Decter said.

Mountain, meanwhile, said he was running to fight the “far left” ideology and emphasis on political correctness he sees in the school district’s curriculum.

“This is the white elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about,” Mountain said.
Sue Flicop and Matt Hills are also running for an open seat in Ward 7. The winner will replace the chairman of the board, Marc Laredo, who is term-limited.

Three incumbents are facing challengers. Margaret Albright is attempting to unseat Reenie Murphy in Ward 2. Olivia Mathews is challenging committee vice chairwoman Claire Sokoloff in Ward 6. And Dan Proskauer is running against Jonathan Yeo in Ward 4.

The mayor also sits on the School Committee. State Representative Ruth Balser and Setti Warren, a former aide to US Senator John Kerry, are running for the mayor’s chair.
School Committee seats are elected citywide.

Calvin Hennick can be reached at calvinhennick@yahoo.com.

Decter wins, Mountain places in School Committee race

Wicked Local Newton
Posted Sep 15, 2009 @ 09:48 PM
Last update Sep 15, 2009 @ 11:48 PM

Newton —

Ward 8 School Committee candidates Margie Ross Decter and Tom Mountain were the top vote getters in the preliminary election Tuesday night, securing them each a spot in the November general election.

Decter won 5,924 votes, which amounted to nearly 50 percent of all the votes for the School Committee seat. Mountain took second place with 2,913 votes. Linda Green came in third with 2,235 votes and Tom White receive 1,184 votes.

"What can I say, I’m honored, I’m thrilled, and I’m humbled," Decter said.

She said it has been an "incredible journey" going out in the community and getting to know lots of different people who share her concern and love for Newton schools.

"It was great to see so many people care about our schools and come out in the preliminary election to show their support," she said.

She said she was honored to run against White and Green, who she said were both strong candidates. She congratulated Mountain, and said she is looking forward to having healthy debates with him on different school issues.

Mountain said he was not surprised he made it past the preliminary, as he was expecting to do so. He said now his challenge is to fight against the Newton political establishment.

"You’ll notice she (Decter) had the endorsement of School Committee members...probably the entire School Committee...and much of the PTO...and also the Board of Aldermen...many aldermen, Mountain said. "So that’s what I’m up against. I’m up for the challenge. I’m going to fight the good fight and I am confident of victory in November."

Green said she was disappointed she did not win, but glad she got as many votes as she did. Her full-time public sector job limited her ability to campaign and raise money.

"Others have had the opportunity to flex their schedules and directly fundraise and I couldn’t do that," she said.

She said she enjoyed the campaigning she did do, and opportunity to reflect on important issues. She may run for School Committee again in the future, she said.

White, however, said he is done running for School Committee. He mainly ran because others encouraged him to do so.

"I really wasn’t particularly looking at this as a possibility," he said.

White said he put out the ideas he thought people wanted to hear, but evidently he was wrong about those ideas.

From the Boston Globe, October 23: Newton School Board Race Turns on Math, Finances


Campaign Letters to the Editor Newton TAB, October 20


From August 10 Newton Tab: Four Newton Ward 8 School Committee Candidates Compete for Preliminary Election

From August 2 Boston Globe:  Queue forms for School Committee




  1. Newton's Ward 8 crammed with candidates



  2. Letters to the Editor, Week of June 24, 2009



  3. Letters to the Editor



  4. War chests and change purses: Newton candidates’ cash varies greatly



  5. Contests shaping up to steer city’s schools



  6. Linda Green and Tom White join Newton's School Committee race



  7. Green and White join Newton Ward 8 School Committee race



  8. Newton School Committee candidates talk budget, Jeff Young, MCAS



  9. Who's pulled papers to run in Newton?




  10. Ward 8 battle joined in Newton School Committee race




Margie Ross Decter First to Pull Papers Officially Enters Race for Ward 8 School Committee 

March 5, 2009, Newton Mass- Margie Ross Decter was the first candidate to officially “pull papers” for School Committee in Ward 8, signaling the beginning of her campaign to fill the seat being vacated by Dori Zaleznik.

“Newton’s school system is under extreme financial pressure to do more with less. I am running for School Committee to ensure that despite these constraints, Newton will deliver on its promise of educational excellence for our children,” says Margie Ross Decter. “Drawing on my 20 years of experience as a business executive, entrepreneur, and leader on educational institution boards, I will bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to our School Committee that will spark innovation, a renewed sense of urgency, and a focus on performance and collaboration.”

Margie is President and owner of Enzyme Inc., a business consultancy focused on health and biotech industry performance improvement and communications. She has also run a multi-million dollar health care business, served as a health policy advisor in the Clinton White House, and holds a Masters Degree in Health Policy and Management from Johns Hopkins University. Margie and her husband Adam, a Newton native, have two children at Memorial Spaulding and another in pre-Kindergarten.

Over the next several months, Margie will be launching a series of “community conversations.” Her goal is to listen to parents, foster an open dialogue, and better engage the expertise of the community to identify best practices and drive positive change for the schools. She will focus the dialogue on defining new opportunities, such as public-private partnerships, and building on the momentum to  identify the priorities that can help support Newton’s educational goals in a more business-driven environment.

“Margie is a critical thinker and creative problem solver with a proven track record of delivering results. She is exactly the kind of person we need on the School Committee to get us through these critical times. ” said Ward 8 Alderman Cheryl Lappin.