Easthampton School Committee member resigns 10 days into term

  • Easthampton School Committee candidate Marin Goldstein speaks Oct. 6, 2017 during Easthampton Media's School Committee Forum at the high school.

  • New Easthampton School Committee member Alexandra Dodge is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Published: 1/23/2018 11:31:54 PM

EASTHAMPTON — After less than two weeks on the School Committee, Alexandra Dodge has stepped down and Marin Goldstein has filled her place.

In a resignation letter dated Jan. 12, Dodge said her reason for leaving is due to “unforeseen personal circumstances.” She was sworn in on Jan. 2.

Dodge, the operations manager for the software company Autodesk Inc., has two children, including one who just started at Center Elementary School. Attempts to reach Dodge for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Goldstein was one of eight candidates for six seats on the committee. He received 2,113 votes, 92 fewer than Dodge, who was the sixth-place candidate.

In her letter, Dodge said she supports Goldstein filling her vacancy and said “I believe the committee and community will be well-served by his stewardship.”

Dodge also apologized to the voters who had supported her.

“My commitment to our schools remains strong and I hope to offer my support in other ways as my circumstances allow,” Dodge wrote. “Thank you to the many community members who encouraged my candidacy — I’m sorry to let you down.”

The city charter stipulates that, when a vacancy occurs on the school committee during the first 18 months of the term, it is filled by the unelected candidate who received the most votes.

Goldstein, a project manager at Trinity Solar in Holyoke, has served on the School Building Committee for the past three years, working on plans for a new pre-K through grade 8 school. He’s also been involved with the search committee for a new superintendent, but had to resign to be a member on the School Committee. His son attends fifth grade at White Brook Middle School.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. He was sworn in Jan. 16.

So far, Goldstein said, he has only missed one School Committee meeting and he is in the loop in regards to the superintendent search and school building project — two issues he said he is passionate about.

As a School Committee member, Goldstein said, he wants to improve relations with school community groups such as the Parent-Teacher Organization.

Another issue Goldstein said he wants to be involved in is work around diversity, which includes following through with the district’s action plan on transforming school climate. The plan comes after a civil rights investigation by the state attorney general’s office and an internal investigation by Superintendent Nancy Follansbee into bias-related incidents at the city’s high school.

“I really want to see that play out through all grade levels,” Goldstein said of the action plan, adding that diversity can be taught at a young age, sometimes through children’s books.

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.
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