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Software architect, 49, among 6 eyeing School Committee

Ian JacksonJacksonA 49-year-old software architect is among six potential candidates who have taken out papers for School Committee. Ian Jackson of 232 Highland Ave. has joined a race for two seats, those of incumbents Cindy Starks and Jeffrey Thielman, both of whom seek reelection.

A town resident for the past 14 years, plus five years here after college, Jackson told why he wants run for School Committee in an email Jan. 29:

"Arlington is a great place to live, and our schools should reflect our community. Careful planning would be required to achieve that goal with the current economic environment.

"During the '80s in another challenging economy, my mother was told that she had too much experience to work as a teacher at Arlington High. She had served as a teacher years before that. She went on to work in the computer lab at the high school for a number of years.

"My son is a graduate of Arlington High. I feel that he received an excellent education here in Arlington, and I want to help continue to support our school system so other children can reap the benefits of a well-rounded education."

In software for the past 27 years and currently a software architect at Harte-Hanks in Billerica, he explained his qualifications to serve:

"I have years of experience serving on various committees, including at least 12 years serving on the Board of Property and Finance at First Baptist Church of Arlington. I currently serve as chairman on the Martin Luther King Birthday Committee."

He wrote that family members have been long-term residents of Arlington. His brother and sister graduated from Arlington High School. In Arlington, the latter ran the Arlington High School computer lab, and his brother worked for the Town of Arlington in the information technology department. His brother-in-law is working as a teacher in the Lowell public-school system.

He wrote that his son, rather than help the advanced-placement French class, assisted sisters from Haiti with their math homework in their native French.

Asked what challenges he sees ahead for the committee, he wrote:

"While the economy will remain a challenge in the foreseeable future, it is important for our schools to maintain and continue to improve the quality of education. Students will need current technology and a well-rounded education to prepare for their futures.

"I see a School Committee working toward these goals with consideration to the needs of the community as a whole. The students, parents, taxpayers, teachers and retirees need to be considered in these needs. Even within these larger groups, they have diverse needs."

Asked how he would address these challenges, he wrote:

"Knowledge of software will assist in selecting the tools that will aid students, teachers and administrators.

"The years serving on committees gave me experience with diverse groups of people, budgets and building issues.

"A minor health incident has enabled insight into the challenge of health care.

"Appreciation of Arlington as a great community and the desire to see it improve."

Jackson has a master's of science in computer science from Northeastern University and bachelors of arts in computer science with a business major from Baylor University.

Three others who have taken out papers and who remain in the race are Pallett of 127 Winchester Road; James J. Flanagan of 49 Trowbridge St. and Sean Harrington of 10 Woodside Lane.

Greg Brogan, who took out papers in October, told YourArlington Jan. 17 that he will not seek a School Committee seat. "It is just not the right time for me. For now, I will focus my energy on securing membership in the Town Meeting," he wrote in an email.

Nomination papers for Flanagan, Pallett and Thielman have been certified.

Nomination papers for town and school offices may be taken out until 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. Papers must have 50 certified signatures.


2012 Town Election information | YourArlington election information


This story was first published Monday, Jan. 30.

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