Rochester appoints Tri-Town Against Racism director to School Committee

Jul 19, 2021

ROCHESTER — After a failure to elect a Rochester School Committee member in the May Town Election, a seven-person selection committee comprising the Selectmen and School Committee members appointed Jason Chisolm to the position on July 19.

Chisholm is a father of two Rochester Memorial School students and the Executive Director of Tri-Town Against Racism.

Chisholm will fill the seat left open after the May Town Election, which had no official candidates. There were a small number of write-in candidates for the position, but the results of the election ended in a tie between Michael Amato and Craig Parker with four votes each.

According to Town Bylaws, when there is a failure to elect for a position other than selectman, town clerk, treasurer, collector of taxes or auditor, the position becomes appointed.

Three candidates appeared before the selection committee seeking appointment, but Chisolm was the only candidate nominated, and was unanimously approved for the position.

“My motivation is about the environment we’re building, not only for my children, but the children around the area,” Chisholm said.

He said the School Committee has “room for improvement.”

“And that’s not a criticism, it’s an observation,” he said. “It’s really about serving the entire community, and I feel called to do that.”

The other two candidates, Maciel Pais and Tim Scholz, spoke of their expertise and qualification for the position as well.

Scholz, a recent retiree and former School Committee member, said his prior experience on the board was valuable.

“When I heard there was an opening, it just kind of made sense,” he said.

Pais, Informational Technology and Digital Learning Director at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, said his experience in schools qualified him for the position.

“I’ve been to countless school committee meetings. I do understand the commitment behind it,” he said. “My decisions have always been to do right by students.”

School Committee member Sharon Hartley and Superintendent Michael Nelson both commended all the candidates on their qualification.

“I just want to thank the three of you for taking the time. In my view, we’ve gone from zero to three great candidates,” Nelson said. “Thank you very much, and I’m glad I’m not a voting member tonight.”