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Editorial: Four good picks for school board

The job of a Concord School Board member is tough, time-consuming and, despite its importance, thankless. This year, voters are fortunate to have two competitive races – each with a strong field of candidates.

Concord School District voters will be asked to choose four school board members. In one race, four candidates are competing for three seats. In the other race, four candidates are competing for one seat. Each of the contenders is qualified and would no doubt serve admirably, so voters can’t lose.

That said, in the first race incumbents Kass Ardinger and Clint Cogswell have thoroughly earned reelection to three-year terms. They have not only helped lead the school district through incredibly tough financial times but did so while overseeing the construction of three elementary schools that came in ahead of time and under budget.

Our choice for the remaining three-year term is newcomer Oliver Spencer, a soon-to-be-retired member of the Marine Corps and veteran of four tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Spencer, 46, is the father of three children in Concord’s schools and has been, in his way, an educator. For much of his career he has overseen the pre-deployment training of soldiers bound for possible combat. He would seek the same kind of excellence in education that he sought as a Marine officer, and he impressed us by crediting teachers with providing influences that shaped his life. Spencer comes from a family of educators. As a school board member, among his interests would be increasing the use of peer-to-peer teaching and policies that encourage students to take charge of their own education. He would be an asset to the board.

In the second race, four candidates are competing to fill a single seat for a two-year term. All are earnest and qualified, but one candidate, Tom Croteau, stood out by dint of his long experience in public education as both a teacher and a principal.

Croteau taught at Broken Ground School for 19 years before becoming the assistant principal and then principal of Winnisquam Regional Middle School. As he said, he retired but “never stopped loving education.” As a board member, he would be interested in overseeing the transition, already under way, to national common core standards to improve accountability and student outcomes. Croteau is keenly aware of the need to balance the cost of public schools with the taxpayers’ ability to afford that cost. He gets our vote.

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