There are four open seats on the Medford School Board. Candidate Betsy Chambers did not respond to the questionnaire.
What qualifies you to serve on the Medford School Board?
John Anhorn: As a business owner, I hope I bring a balanced and value-based approach to our school. I feel you have to ask “Does it make sense?” and “Can we justify it?” to our decisions. I am the new guy on the board, just a year and a half, but have tried to hit the ground running on understanding and solving our problems. I have served our community on the Medford Fire Department for the last 25 years, am a past Grand Knight of the Medford/Deerfield Knight of Columbus, and have been involved in many other groups in town.
Jackie Berg: It takes time to understand the workings of the schools, its administration, staff, governmental policies and funding formulas. These past eight years have laid the foundation and will allow me to seamlessly continue my service.
Jon Sutherland: I value education and believe in the ability of local schools to prepare our youth for the workplace or for further educational opportunities. I am a proponent of being a lifelong learner and look for opportunities to acquire knowledge to help in personal and professional advancement. I also believe my experience of being on the Medford School Board is beneficial in asking questions and looking for opportunities for the board to help the administration and staff.
What will be your top priority if you are elected and why?
John Anhorn: Fiscal responsibility balanced by opportunities for our kids in all aspects of their education and development.
Jackie Berg: With the unprecedented pandemic, on top of our one time spend down of the general fund for our security building addition, it will continue to be a priority/focus on rebuilding the general fund while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both our students and staff. It is the job of the school board and it’s members to keep Medford in a stable financial position.
Jon Sutherland: In today’s current education environment, keep our students and staff healthy and our schools open as much as possible is the top priority. COVID-19 has been very impactful to every job but especially so with regard to our teachers and school staff. We need to find creative ways to reach our students and continue to educate to the best of our ability.
What is another big challenge facing the Medford Schools and how would you address it?
John Anhorn: COVID-19 and post COVID-19 (hopefully soon) education and the effects that it will have on our kids. The state will probably cut some of our funding, so we will have some tough decisions in the future.
Jackie Berg: Government funding for education. It does not only affect Medford, but all public institutions State and federal funds have not kept up with both state and federal mandates. Continuous efforts are needed with local legislators as well as working closely with our Superintendent to advocate for the resources/funds to adequately execute the needs to enable all students to be prepared for their future after high school.
Jon Sutherland: Space at the school continues to be a challenge. I think the board and administration has done a good job in utilizing the space we have but during normal conditions, I think we still could use additional space to maximize programming. I am happy we were able to build a more secure High school entrance and redesign the parking lot this last summer. Those are both a couple of nice wins for the Medford district.
How will you work with the rest of the board members to overcome challenges?
John Anhorn: We have a great group on the current board and I look forward to working with them in the future. Discussions always lead to informed decisions. Having served in a number of organizations in town, I think I bring a broad knowledge to the discussions.
Jackie Berg: Transparency of the facts. The transparency in our board is lead by a very strong Superintendent that is providing the facts in which we base our decisions off of. This in turn makes for a very healthy and productive board. It is my duty to work closely with him and members of the board, understanding the needs of the staff and students and finding ways to help them achieve their goals. Medford is very fortunate Superintendent Ristau at the helm and his commitment to excellence.
Jon Sutherland: I think the Medford school system has been blessed with school board members who look for the best opportunities for our district. We have a good working relationship with the administration and we do a good job of asking questions and looking for places where we can make a positive difference in the education of Medford students.
Why do you want to serve on the board?
John Anhorn: So all of our kids can get a quality education like I received here at Medford Schools.
Jackie Berg: First and foremost, it is a genuine interest and passion to maintain and enhance a healthy and vibrate school of choice that is the benchmark of a strong community. As a successful alumnus myself, I, my husband (’81 Alumnus) and my three children (Class of 2014, 2018 and 2021) have been provided many positive experiences and opportunities within Medford School and I want to make sure these are passed on for generations to come.
Jon Sutherland: Looking to give back to the community of Medford and strengthen the school. A quality education is important for everyone in our society whether the students go directly to the workforce, military or continue their education at a college or university.