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Veteran educator running for School Committee


Having been “tied in with education” for the past 56 years, one of the few things Laurence Aiello has not done is serve on the School Committee – now he is looking to change that. A first-time candidate for public office, Aiello spent 25 years as an elementary school principal in Salem, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Cambridge and Salem, N.H.

“It’s the place where kids need the most care,” he said of elementary school.

On the other end of the spectrum, Aiello was also an adjunct graduate professor at Fitchburg State College and has lectured about bullying and school needs. Currently a practicing attorney in Revere, Aiello said he is well versed with the laws governing education as well as the intricacies of constructing a budget.

He described his campaign as being “quite an adventure so far.” “Everybody I’ve met has been vitally interested in the community,” he said.

In addition, Aiello said it is often assumed that senior citizens are against the schools, particularly during budget season. “This is not the case, they’re not against education,” he said. “They just want to make sure that the money is being spent properly.”

Aiello also said that more work is needed in order to truly recognize the toil that teachers endure on a daily basis. “Not too many people know what teachers do,” he said, adding that that toil is not exclusive to elementary educators. “High school teachers do one hell of a job.”

A principal for more than two decades, Aiello said those employees are usually the first to be let go if budget cuts are needed. “Principals are the least protected people in a school system,” he said, adding that their contracts are renewed on a yearly basis. “They’re susceptible to a lot of anxiety and angst.”

Looking ahead, Aiello outlined what he considers to be the top three challenges facing Peabody’s schools. The first challenge is to hire a new superintendent of schools. To accomplish this, Aiello said the School Committee needs to find a candidate who is a proven educational leader rather than just another administrator. “An educational leader excites and ignites,” he said.

The second challenge is the budget. Aiello said that, if elected, he would want to know how every dollar is spent and what the ultimate benefit is for the students. “If I’m sitting there, I’m going to ask the hard questions,” he said. “I’m about making things better; you only accomplish things through cooperation.”

The third challenge is to have meaningful professional development sessions. Aiello said he would like to see those sessions facilitated by the district’s own employees rather than hiring an outside person. “Listening to their own people talk is a lot better than bringing someone in from Concord or Carlisle,” he said.

By Christopher Roberson

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