SHREWSBURY – After over a decade on the Shrewsbury School Committee, Dale Magee announced last month that he did not plan to run for re-election in the spring.
“Twelve years is a quite an amount of time, and I’m not one who believes that I should stay there because I can,” Magee recently told the Community Advocate.
There’s something to be said for hitting the refresh button and getting new people into elected offices like the School Committee, he said.
“I feel that 12 years is enough from my point of view, and that getting someone else in is going to bring a different perspective, different skill set and it may well benefit the organization,” Magee said. “Time will tell.”
Magee shared praise for his colleagues as he gets set to wrap up his School Committee tenure.
“I enjoy my time on the School Committee — I still do,” he said. “I have nothing but admiration for the people that I work with,” Magee said.
Magee looks back on career
Magee ran for School Committee in 2010 following the recommendation from Selectman John Lebeaux.
“What drew me in that direction actually was an appreciation of how important education is in a community and for a child,” Magee said.
Magee and his wife are both the first in their families to graduate from college.
“We know what a difference it made in our lives,” he said.
Magee grew up in Niagara Falls, New York, when that community was a factory town. There, graduating from high school was an achievement, and most people didn’t go onto college, he said.
“It is sort of the poster child of what happens to a community when people don’t get a good education,” Magee said.
He went to college at the University of Buffalo with the help of scholarships. After three years of undergraduate schooling, Magee attended medical school and became an OB-GYN.
Magee went into private practice in Shrewsbury until he retired in 2015.
Magee separately joined an infant mortality task force in Worcester when the city was experiencing high infant mortality.
Magee reached the conclusion that it was “extremely unusual” to have a medical issue be the primary cause. The people who experienced higher rates of infant mortality had low socioeconomic status, he said.
“To me, the lever that we as a community could approach and say, ‘How can we address this problem’ wasn’t necessarily increasing access to health care; it was identifying how to get people to perform to their max, to get to college and realize essentially the American Dream,” Magee said.
The economic vitality and health of those who followed would improve if those key opportunities for upward mobility were made more accessible, he said.
Superintendent praises Magee
Grateful to have been elected to the School Committee, Magee has similarly been lauded by district leaders.
Superintendent Joseph Sawyer told the Community Advocate earlier this month that Magee has made “significant contributions” to the district throughout his time on the committee.
“I have greatly appreciated his deep commitment to educational innovation and improvement, always with an eye on how students who may be disadvantaged in some way can benefit from strong public schools,” Sawyer said. “He has been an outstanding public servant for our town.”
For Magee, following a childhood of personal educational triumph, and a career spent helping others, the Shrewsbury School Committee was yet another chance to give back.
“The notion of running for School Committee and playing some role in trying to see how we can improve the school system primarily to address the needs of those for whom the school system will make the biggest difference was very appealing to me,” Magee said.