Hudson Candidate Statement – School Committee – Steven Sharek


Hudson Candidate Statement – School Committee – Steven Sharek
Steven Sharek

Please provide a brief biographical background on yourself. What should voters know about you?

I enjoy public service and consider it an honor and privilege.

Before moving to Hudson ten years ago, I had been an elected official in two communities, serving as Town Moderator in Dartmouth for eight years and serving on the City Council in New Bedford for six years, including one year as its President.

In Hudson, I have served on the Finance Committee as a member and vice-chair, and the Recycling and Sustainability Committee as its chair. In July, I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the School Committee.

For work, I serve as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA), a statewide association that advocates for high-quality career and technical education. I previously served as Assistant Dean of Academic Services at Southern New England School of Law and Superintendent at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School.

While I do not practice law, I hold a Juris Doctor and passed the Bar exam.

With your vote, I hope to continue serving on the Hudson School Committee.

Why are you running?

With the imminent retirement of our Superintendent and with tight budgets ahead of us, this is an important time for the Hudson Public Schools. It is a time that will likely call for tough decisions by the School Committee, decisions that will require Committee members to demonstrate foresight and courage.

While I certainly do not have all the answers, I have been fortunate to have had a series of work and personal experiences that have helped me develop particular skills that may serve helpful to the School Committee. This includes significant experience in municipal and school budgeting, school law, town and state government, and public communications. In addition, I have worked in and around schools — in different roles — for more than 20 years.

I understand the duties of the School Committee. We hire and supervise the Superintendent of Schools, adopt the budget, and establish school policies. We make decisions, always mindful of those whose lives and futures we impact most: the students.

There has been discussion about a “budget cliff” for the school budget in 2025. If elected, what steps should the schools take to brace for this? 

The “budget cliff” we are approaching is very real. It has multiple causes, not the least of which is the changing demographic and personal profiles of Hudson’s school-age population. Simply put, many of our incoming students have significant language, learning, and social-emotional needs that require extra financial resources so these students can be successful in school and as citizens. Fortunately, the federal government gave schools extra funds — known as ESSER grants — to help meet these needs. These funds will be running out soon, though the language, learning, and social-emotional needs of our students will not.

Using ESSER, Hudson has hired reading specialists, school adjustment counselors, and staff to assist students who are newcomers to our country. These are critical jobs, essential to our students’ success.

The Hudson Public Schools has been slowing adding these jobs to its budget. It must continue to do so, at the same time educating the public about what it is doing, and why.

Supporting English Language Learners (ELL) students was a topic of conversation during recent superintendent interviews. What can the district do to support this group of students? 

As a fundamental matter, I think we need to continue to publicly embrace the students who come here from other countries, who lack the English language skills of their peers. As a community, we need to remember that virtually all of our families (except those of Native Americans) came from somewhere else. My own grandparents came from Poland and Sweden. They spoke a different language when they arrived here. Today’s newcomers are no different.

Beyond that, we need to get our English learners the educational support they need to acquire the English language skills essential to their success. We need to do this by whatever teaching method that educational research tells us is most effective. We need to actively reach out and communicate with the students’ families in the languages they speak and in whatever manner proves most comfortable for them.

Finally, the Hudson Public Schools needs to continue to grow its Dual Language program. Superintendent Dr. Marco Rodrigues and his staff are rightly proud of this initiative.

What are the three biggest issues facing Hudson schools?

1 – Continuing to improve communication with town boards, including the Select Board, Finance Committee, and Town Meeting

2 – Raising the public profile (and educational “rankings”) of the Hudson Public Schools to make the system more of a “magnet” for young families seeking to live in the MetroWest region

3 – Smoothly transitioning to new leadership of the school district

4 – Building stronger ties with state policymakers to address the system’s financial and legislative needs

5 – Maintaining critically needed educational specialist services for our students once federal ESSER funds are gone

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