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The Waltham candidates: Stephen Rando Jr. (incumbent)

Posted by Ralph Ranalli October 22, 2007 10:20 AM

Stephen Rando, Jr. (incumbent)

Age: 63

Family: wife Barbara, four adult children, one of whom, Julie Ranucci, is a Waltham High School teacher

Neighborhood: "fringes of Cedarwood"/West End

Education: Attended Cambridge Junior College and earned Bachelor's degree in History and Sociology from Suffolk University. Also earned a Master's degree in Education from Suffolk University.

Occupation: retired principal of Jonathan Bright Elementary School

Experience: 34 years as a teacher and administrator in the Waltham Public Schools; past supervisor of the Adult Basic and Civic Education Program (which oversaw teaching English and Citizenship to foreign-born students).

Key issues: Rando said he is especially concerned with health and safety issues. He'd like to look into having dental screenings reinstituted in the schools, strictly enforce the district's anti-bullying policy, encourage walk to school programs and recess as a way of battling obesity in schoolchildren, and better train teachers in how to deal with children who have experienced traumatic events like the death of a parent. More broadly, he wants to see if there's a way to expand the district's options for gifted students. He's also doesn't want electives like arts and music to be jettisoned in favor of MCAS preparation. "Rather than eliminating some of the fine arts areas, we me may have to look into making the day longer to provide academic support in some of the other subject areas."

What distinguishes him: Rando said that his range of experience in the schools, from teacher and principal to administrator, sets him apart. "I've been there, done it all. I've seen it from the administrative side and from the teacher's perspective."

Listen to an audio clip of Stephen Rando Jr. describe what should be done to recruit and retain more qualified teachers in Waltham's schools.

-- Stephanie Siek

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