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The Select Board deliberated about the reappointment policy for the Minuteman School Committee and for other direct Select Board assignments at its May 22 meeting.

The term of Arlington’s current Minuteman representative, J. Michael Ruderman, is scheduled to end 30 days from now, and he wants to be reappointed, said board Chair Eric Helmuth.

However, not everyone in town wants him to be.

The Select Board became the reappointment body and accounting authority for Minuteman High School in 2021, a duty previously handled by the town moderator, explained Helmuth.

“Do we want a policy, or [to] take it case by case?” asked Helmuth.

He said that the Minuteman reappointment is a unique situation and that there’s clear consensus for advertising open nominations. He plans to work with the other Select Board members to promote availability and to notify the Arlington community and especially its Minuteman community; some 200 Arlington teens currently attend the vocationally oriented high school in Lexington, which draws students from nine municipalities in total.


“Depending on the volume of applicants, we’ll figure out if we need a new subcommittee,” Helmuth said.

Board Vice Chair John Hurd recommended having a policy and wants to open the process to nominations and public hearings regarding who will be selected. “It’s important to make sure we put the best people on these boards and commissions, and the Select Board has a duty to make sure they reflect the will of Arlington residents.” 

Board member Len Diggins concurred with the need for a policy, even though “it may take a while to implement.” 

However, board members Steve DeCourcey and Diane Mahon recommended keeping the choice a Select Board appointment.

Town Counsel Doug Heim explained that the Select Board is the appointing authority, though there’s no specific process about how to make an initial appointment or reappointment. “Nothing is guiding us except good practice to make sure we see good candidates and take the appropriate steps to vet them,” he said.

Residents weigh in

During the meeting’s open forum, several Arlington residents expressed their views:

  • Katherine Reisz-Hanson (Precinct 11), whose daughter attends Minuteman, wants to expand its School Committee. “I’m disappointed that Ruderman has not shared information or views, or solicited feedback from constituents from Minuteman families. This raises the issue of the Select Board’s policy for reapplication. I’d like the policy to include the parents and guardians [being] notified of the call for nominations, the names [to be] publicly announced and [to] allow feedback to the Select Board. This encourages us to prioritize candidates that have a connection to Minuteman―teachers, parents, alumni and teachers at other technical high schools.”
  • Sarah Montague, another Minuteman parent, said that she and other parents would like to be involved in finding the next School Committee representative. “I am not in favor of Ruderman continuing.”
  • Michelle Orfanos (13) also joined the growing number of parents who do not want Ruderman renominated.
  • Sylvia Stevens hopes that going forward, candidates are connected to Minuteman and that the general community gets to know them and will have a more communicative process with them. “I’m concerned that our representative hasn’t been forthright in communication with the greater community and hope that can be corrected.”

The Minuteman School Committee at its May 25 meeting heard from Arlington residents about the upcoming committee vacancy in light of the major changes over the past 30 days at Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District, including Superintendent-Director Kathleen Dawson being placed on leave and an acting superintendent, Kevin Mahoney, being brought in. These committee decisions followed widespread local uproar after Dawson declined to renew Minuteman High School Principal George Clement's contract; his tenure, like Ruderman's, is currently set to end June 30.

Watch the May 22, 2023, meeting on ACMi:

May 23, 2023: '23 meeting ends as session 7 OKs Ottoson students' compost plan, CPA 


This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert was published Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

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