Meet write-in candidates for Mattapoisett School Committee

May 9, 2022

MATTAPOISETT — No candidates returned nomination papers for the two open seats on the Mattapoisett School Committee. As a result, voters must write in candidates of their choice for the positions.

Four residents have announced a write-in candidacy: Cristin Cowles, Amanda Hastings, Lynne Bailey Pelland and Rich Reilly.

Meet the four candidates:

Amanda Hastings

“Over the last several years, during some of the hardest times in recent memory, I’ve been so impressed with the passion that I’ve seen demonstrated at our town’s school committee meetings,’’ Hastings said in a statement. “It is clear to me that the members of this community want the very best for our youths.’’

She said that “at the end of the day, it has been a spirit of cooperation and compromise that has gotten us through, together. As a professional analyst and consultant, not to mention a passionate mother, this is something that I can continue to foster through my contributions as a committee member.’’

Disagreements can happen, she noted, but “I really do believe that at the end of the day, we all ultimately believe in this ‘special’ town. I’m looking forward to bringing my own open-minded, data-driven reasoning to the position. I’m looking forward to being a voice for my peers in the school community. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to continuing to strengthen and preserve this amazing community through civil debate and discourse, where the common goal is building a positive future for our children and the generations yet to come. ‘’

Lynne Bailey Pelland

In a statement, Bailey Pelland spoke of the “privilege of growing up in this beautiful town and graduating from ORR. I have two amazing kids heavily involved in our community and attending our school system. Like any mother, I want what is best for my children and feel strongly about standing up for what is right. I am looking forward to serving our town and doing what is best for our kids and schools.’’

She said that, during the last two years, “our children have been put on the back burner and they have been politicized with personal and hidden agendas. Our children's education and their mental health were not at the forefront of the school committee’s decision-making.’’

She referenced a February School Committee meeting that lasted more than three hours, in which, she said, “we had committee members who refused to listen to their constituents and were putting their own personal opinions before the voices of parents. We can do better for our kids. I am more than eager to listen to everyone’s point of view, hear them out and take into consideration all information put in front of me, basing my decisions on what is best for our children regardless of who and where the ideas come from. ‘’

Rich Reilly

Reilly said he has reached a period in his life where he has time to devote to the committee. After watching the schools go through the pandemic, “I felt I could be of some service.’’

He said he is waiting to sit on the committee and gaining some experience before commenting on issues the board faces.

He said he has skills that can help in the position. “I want to lend an ear and be a good listener,’’ he said. “Through my life experiences, maybe I can contribute.’’

He and his wife co-own Lighthouse Learning Center in Mattapoisett, which provides early childhood day care and education.

The school sets “very high’’ standards and graduates children into kindergarten with skills that help them succeed, he said.

He noted that he is proud that public school system representatives have visited the school to learn more about their operation and how the students develop those skills.
He is also global sales director for Tykma Electronics, which has an office in Mattapoisett.

Working with preschool children, he said, gives him empathy and understanding of family situations.

“This allows you to see what families go through,’’ he said. “I thought that insight could be helpful.’’

Cristin Cowles 

Cowles said she and her husband moved to Mattapoisett 16 years ago “for all of the amazing reasons you live here too, but particularly for the great school system.  We have 2 daughters at Old Hammondtown and can't think of a better place for them to be.  Center School and Old Hammondtown are remarkable schools - the teachers, the friends, the art shows, the concerts....the list goes on.  Given the opportunity, I would love to give back to our community through the School Committee.’’

She is a patent attorney with a degree in molecular biology but she said her “most important qualifier and number one job’’ is mother to Phoebe and Ellie.

“If elected, I will listen to you and your concerns, work hard to keep our schools special, and improve where needed (I tell my kids - nothing is perfect - there is always room for improvement).  There are real challenges on the horizon, e.g., consolidation of the schools and the budget.  I will approach each challenge with an open mind and help identify and implement solutions that make sense for both our kids and the town.’’