Charlie Gallo, an attorney and North Shore Community College instructor, is seeking a first term on the Lynn School Committee. A longtime Lynn resident, Gallo attended Sacred Heart School, Sisson Elementary, and Pickering Middle School. After graduating from St. Mary's High School in 2001, he went on to earn both his Bachelor's and law degree from Suffolk University. Please see below for the answers to a few questions posed to Gallo regarding his candidacy for school committee.
What skills or qualifications do you think you would bring to the school committee?
Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words.
As an educator currently teaching at North Shore Community College, I will bring a practical basis for decision-making and debate on the School Committee.
As an attorney, I will use my legal training to be an advocate for our students and schools. School Committee members can be advocates in several ways – including for funding from city and state sources, but also for the students themselves. We must publicize the good that comes out of our schools, essentially advocating for our students’ reputation as they prepare for life beyond the classroom. I’ve already started to do this in a small way by posting positive newspaper stories about our students on the Charlie Gallo for Lynn School Committee Facebook page.
As a young person (28 years old), I will lead by example, showing that there is an opportunity to give back to the community and to our most important asset: our public schools, which will shape the future of our city. We have great history in Lynn. It is important to honor our past, as well as respect, learn from, and work with those who have spent all or much of their lives here. Still, we must recognize that one of the big problems that Lynn faces is that younger people are moving out faster than they are moving in. Many feel that they do not have an opportunity to have their voice heard, and they move out in their 20s and 30s. I will provide leadership to help reverse that trend.
What do you think are the top 3 issues that school committee needs to address? Do you have any thoughts/solutions to these issues?
- Preparing for Life Outside the Classroom We must prepare our students not only for the MCAS exam, but also ensure graduation and prepare them for life outside of the classroom. One way to accomplish this is by teaming up with local businesses, community leaders, and nonprofits. We should use the community as a resource to help our students learn about civics, personal finance, the arts, trades, and real-world life skills that too often fall outside of the formal curriculum. Expansion of the educational experience outside of the formal curriculum will keep students interested in continuing their education, while also preparing them for adulthood.
- Funding In this difficult economy, we should take advantage of all sources of funding rather than relying so heavily on property taxes, which can present financial difficulty to working families, too many of which are facing foreclosure. We should increase our investment in grant writing to ensure smaller class sizes, more teachers and staff, as well as improvements to our school buildings.
- Early Childhood Education I commend the current School Committee for offering all day kindergarten, as well as pre-kindergarten in several schools. As a long-term goal, I hope to make quality, all-day pre-kindergarten available to every child in Lynn.
How do you think the school committee could be more transparent as far as meeting times, agendas, etc.?
I have long been an advocate for the televising of School Committee meetings. This finally has been done in the last few months, and I would support continued televising of meetings. Many people cannot attend meetings because of transportation issues, work schedules, or family commitments. For these and all people, the meetings should be rebroadcast at various time on various days. Televising meetings is important in and of itself, but really is about the bigger issue of open and honest government. This extends to being accessible to the public. If elected, I will return phone calls, respond to emails, and be available to meet face to face with parents and community members, so that they are able to be a meaningful part of the process.
Meeting agendas are made available online, which I support.
Lynn residents look to the School Committee to address problems such as low MCAS scores and the dropout rate; do you think there is a limit to what the school committee in itself can do?
The School Committee is limited, particularly by the Education Reform Act of 1993. [Editor's note: For more information about the Ed Reform Act of 1993 see here]. As an attorney, however, I appreciate that in areas where the School Committee cannot act in its official capacity, members of the School Committee are in a position to advocate on behalf of our students, schools, and community.
Anything else you would like to add about yourself?
I welcome input from the readers of this blog. Please feel free to email Charlie@CharlieGallo.com or call me at 781-592-9498 with your ideas, questions, comments, and concerns. I also invite you to check out www.CharlieGallo.com, find Charlie Gallo for Lynn School Committee on Facebook, and follow GalloForLynn on Twitter. Thank you for your time in reading this post.
*For another Q & A with Charlie Gallo, see - School Committee 2011 - Charlie Gallo