EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 17, 2013

Three running for School Committee

By Paul Tennant

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — With a couple of weeks remaining until the filing deadline, the local election scene is starting to get interesting.

Three residents have now taken out nomination papers for one School Committee seat. Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile, meanwhile, is running for a fifth three-year term.

The election will take place March 26, with voters from all eight of the town’s eight precincts casting ballots at North Andover High School.

Mark Mezzina, a 19-year-old college student running for School Committee, has already secured a place on the ballot by turning in his signed nomination papers and having them validated. Mezzina completed his freshman year at the University of South Carolina and has said he plans to enroll at a college closer to home.

During the summer and fall, Mezzina, who said he’s always had a passion for politics, worked on Karin Rhoton’s campaign for state representative. Rhoton, who served a three-year term on the School Committee and ran for the Legislature as a Republican, was defeated in the Nov. 6 election by Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen.

Mezzina said he wants to promote openness in local government.

Zora Warren is the most recent candidate to take out papers for School Committee. The mother of a student in the local schools, she has attended several School Committee meetings recently.

Warren has taught middle school social studies and English. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Christine Allen, first elected to the School Committee in 2007, has taken out papers but has not made an unequivocal commitment to run for a third term, she told The Eagle-Tribune. Allen chaired the committee from March 2011 to March 2012.

Smedile served on the Finance Committee before she won her first term on the Board of Selectmen in 2001. She said she if she wins another term, one of her top priorities will be to “continue to keep our finances in order.”

Smedile also said she wants the town to maintain the level of services residents expect, but “without constantly raising taxes.” She pointed out the town acquired the new police station on Osgood Street without asking for an override.

She also gave high marks to the town managers with whom she has served since she joined the board: Mark Rees, now the city manager of Portland, Maine; and Andrew Maylor, the town’s current chief executive.

Voters will elect one selectman, one School Committee member and one member of the North Andover Housing Authority. So far, no one has taken out papers to run for the latter board.

Mary Beth Soucy’s five-year term on the Housing Authority will expire this year.

Those who want to have their names on the March 26 ballot must obtain their nomination papers at the town clerk’s office in Town Hall before 5 p.m. Feb. 1. Nomination papers, with at least 50 valid signatures of North Andover residents, must be submitted by Feb. 5.