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The Waltham Candidates: Susan R. Burstein for School Committee (incumbent)

Posted by Ralph Ranalli October 22, 2007 10:00 AM

Susan R. Burstein

Age: 49

Family: husband Richard Scales, 5-year-old daughter, Abigail, who attends James FitzGerald Elementary School

Neighborhood: Warrendale

Education: Waltham High School, bachelor's degree in Public Administration from New York University

Occupation: Chief Budget Officer for City of Newton

Experience: Waltham School Committee member since 1999 and current vice chair, former Ward 7 City Councilor from 1992-1993. Before her current job, she was a budget director for the state Department of Transitional Assistance.

Key issues: "We've had, and I think will continue to have, turnover of some leaders and educators. and finding qualified people who understand the really diverse nature of the community has been and will continue to be important," she said. She also said that the need to improve MCAS and SAT scores is important, but that the city should not have to sacrifice its advanced arts and performing arts programs to do so. She wants to better communicate the district's achievements and improve the School Department website.

What distinguishes her from the other candidates: Burstein said it's her experience in the public sector that sets her apart - as a Newton budget official, a former city councilor, and a former state official - and as one of only two candidates with children currently in the schools. "I think it gives you, albeit somewhat anecdotal, experience and knowledge of what's going on on a daily basis; how information is being communicated to parents. It gives a unique opportunity to communicate with other parents and find out what their experiences are, because obviously experiences are not uniform. "

Burstein: Listen to an audio clip of Susan Burstein talk about what should be done to recruit and retain more qualified teachers to Waltham.

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