SOUTH HADLEY — The Select Board and School Committee met on April 30 to fill the vacant School Committee seat and appoint members to the Mosier Elementary School Building Committee.

The School Committee has been looking to fill a vacancy until the April 2025 election after former member Lynda Pickbourn resigned.

School Committee Chair Eric Friesner said they had one applicant who was interview by the joint committee.
The one applicant was Jackson Matos, who recently served on the South Hadley School Committee but resigned in 2022 after surviving a heart attack.

Matos talked about why he was interested in joining the committee again.

He said, “I enjoyed my time on the School Committee. I learned the opposite of what I kind of grew up with which is politics is corrupt and I worked with a lot of good people who were doing service and were doing really good work. I enjoyed meeting people in the community and being a part of everything.”

When Matos ran for the School Committee in his first stint, it was on a social justice platform and is something that he has committed his career to.

“That is something that I have committed my career to and all of my service to and what I brought to the School Committee. My voting record showed that, my work with the racial justice taskforce showed that, so I wanted to bring that to the School Committee as well,” Matos added.

Matos said social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion is the work of everybody and representation matters.
“As a person of color and member of the queer community, I wanted to bring that representation and expertise,” he added.

Matos also expressed his love for South Hadley and the community.

He said, “I believe the schools are essential to community and the cornerstone for a society and that’s true for the South Hadley Public Schools. We are kind of a small town but I love when the schools are producing something, whether it’s sports, arts, and how the community rallies around them and shows up for that.”

Friesner said he was excited that Matos applied and the School Committee and Select Board then unanimously approved the appointment of Matos to the School Committee.

The joint committee then talked about the nine applicants who were interested in joining the Mosier Elementary School Building Committee.

The committee was tasked with adding more members to the School Building Committee to choose seven members, two South Hadley School staff members and three members with architecture or construction background and two parents who have children in the district.

The building committee already includes two School Committee members, Superintendent Mark McLaughlin and can be upwards of 18 members.

After interviews and discussion, the group voted to appoint South Hadley High School Principal Elizabeth Wood, Mosier Elementary School Teacher Brook Bealieu, Diane Mulvaney, Ryan Moore, Rudi Hall, Teresa Winter and Brian Kennedy to the Mosier Building Committee.

The building committee is tasked with the planning, design and implementation of a new school to replace the Mosier building.

The total commitment for this committee is approximately 5-7 years so the joint committee members hope that those who weren’t selected still come to the eventual public building committee meetings to provide their input.

Select Board member Jeff Cyr said, “I am impressed with the pool of people we have. I hope the people who don’t make it there, are still interested in the event there is a turnaround. I think the talent pool we have is amazing and if we could retain that if a vacancy comes up for personal reasons or commitment reason, we can fill it in.”

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