EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 19, 2013

North Andover School Committee candidate touts education background

By Paul Tennant

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Zora Warren has taught social studies in middle schools and worked as an educational consultant.

She also has a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has served on the board of directors of the YWCA of Greater Lawrence.

Warren, 37, is running for the single School Committee seat that’s up for election this year. The current holder of that position, Christine Allen, announced Thursday night she’s not running for re-election.

The only other candidate for the three-year seat – so far – is Mark Mezzina, a 19-year-old college student. The election will take place March 26.

“I think I can provide value to the committee,” said Warren, who has been attending School Committee meetings for the past few weeks. She said she’s been interested in running for some time and received encouragement from friends.

“I have a passion for public schools,” she said.

The election will take place March 26.

“I don’t have an ax to grind,” she said. Warren said her campaign is focusing on three objectives for the schools: Continuing to promote a strong, centralized curriculum that is aligned with state standards and consistently followed; enhancing communication between the schools and the community; and establishing well-defined goals for the district as a whole and each school.

Better communication would have helped the School Committee avoid the recent controversy over the grading system at North Andover Middle School, she said. The middle school changed from traditional letter grades to standards-based reporting, in which students receive numbers for marks.

Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson scrapped the numbers after a large number of parents complained their children were not being graded consistently and for now, at least, middle school students will receive the traditional A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s and F’s.

Warren noted the purpose behind the number grades was to encourage greater achievement by students.

“The plan didn’t work out as expected,” she said.

Warren is the daughter of immigrants from Slovakia who came to the United States in the 1960s. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Illinois, where she met her husband, Robert Warren, a 1993 graduate of North Andover High School.

Warren taught social studies at Groton-Dunstable Middle School and R.J. Gray Junior High School in Acton. She then worked for a consulting firm, Sun Associates, where she evaluated the American History Teaching Grant for school districts.

Her master’s degree is in technology and education.

Besides serving on the YWCA board, her volunteer work includes the St. Elizabeth’s Ministry of St. Michael Church, where she serves on the baking committee; the North Andover Historical Society; and serving as treasurer for her daughter’s Brownie troop and as co-secretary of the Sargent School PTO.

“I’m busy,” she said. She and her husband reside at 129 Weyland Circle and are the parents of two daughters. One is a second-grader; the other will attend kindergarten next year.

This is Warren’s first run for public office, but she has already made use of her technology background. Her campaign has a website, www.zoraforschoolcommittee.org; and a Facebook account.

Her campaign kickoff is scheduled for Jan. 31, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at the home of her neighbor, Charlotte Murphy, at 130 Weyland Circle.