ELECTION'S EARLY LOOK: Those who take out papers in races that may be contested in April respond to basic questions about themselves and Arlington.
Humor and a broad knowledge of educational issues -- that's what longtime observers see in the School Committee performance of Paul Schlichtman, who is seeking a three-year term.
Asked what he sees the top challenges facing the public schools, the 61-yearold who has lived in Arlington 22 years wrote: "the urgent need to rebuild Arlington High School. Our accreditation was placed on warning status, and we must resolve the problems in this 10-year accreditation cycle or risk losing accreditation."
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In addition, he wrote, the district has not been successful in several searches for district and school leadership positions, which indicates a need to make work with the superintendent to make Arlington more attractive to potential administrators.
They include the director of special education.
Asked how he would address these challenges, he wrote:
"We need to educate the public about the critical need to rebuild Arlington High School.
"We need to begin the task of working with the state in order to gain funding for the project. We need to work with town officials and the community to build a reasonable plan to finance this urgent work."
As to filling key positions, he wrote: "We also need to work with the superintendent and our human resource officer to identify strategies to make the district more attractive to quality candidates for senior administrative positions, such as principal and special education director.
"One of the most effective strategies for excellence in education is to successfully recruit and retain outstanding employees."
Local school background dates to 1997
He was a member of the Minuteman School Committee from 1997 to 2001 and the Arlington School Committee from 2001 to 2007 as well as from 2012 to the present. He served as president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees in 2004 and is a current Town Meeting member.
Schlichtman's day job is district coordinator for research, testing and assessment for the Lowell public schools as well as principal of record for the Rogers Early Learning Center, a 210-student early childhood-grade one school housed in Lowell's central office building.
Asked why he is seeking reelection to the School Committee, he wrote: "I have the honor to work with some really capable and thoughtful people. We have a great working relationship, and I would like to continue to work with them to make the Arlington public schools even better.
His background in school issues includes a bachelor's degree in elementary education and psychology from the City University of New York, a master's in education and a certificate of advanced study from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
A former journalist in New York, spending a significant time covering local school boards, he is also a former elementary and secondary teacher.
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In the 2012 town election, in which 28.7 percent of the 30,069 registered voters cast ballots, Schlichtman was unopposed and received 5,283 votes plus 174 write-ins. He was profiled here >>
2014 town election: Town | YourArlington
This story was published Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.