Candidate profile: Geoff Swett for School Committee
Geoff Swett has served a total of 12 years on the School Committee, and he’s hoping for another term on the board.
Swett has been involved with Wareham town government and schools for years. He first served on the Finance Committee for six years before being elected to the School Committee, and he has coached the high school’s girls tennis team for 17 years.
Most recently, Swett chaired the School Building Committee, which was responsible for managing the financing, design and construction of the new school on Minot Avenue, which will house Wareham students in pre-K through fourth grade.
The project, Swett said, is coming to a “very successful end.” The school is set to be complete in mid-October — six weeks ahead of schedule. Additionally, the project is well under-budget, with 82 percent of the contingency fund untouched as of mid-March.
Swett attributed that success in part to the board’s sound decisions early in the process: selecting the right project manager and architect, and aiming to have the school complete in the winter, rather than ahead of a new school year. That schedule decision gave the committee access to a greater number of bidders at a lower cost. That, with extremely low interest rates on the bonds the town took out to pay for the school, means that the project will cost taxpayers far less than projected.
Because of those savings, the school has nicer amenities than the committee originally thought would be possible: The building is fully air-conditioned, and it has design details like terrazzo flooring.
As that project winds up, Swett has more time, and said he has heard from many people — including one anonymous person who left a note on his car outside Shaw’s — who think he has more to offer the School Committee.
Although he’s been off the committee for three years, Swett said he has maintained good relationships with various school administrators and teachers: Relationships he says are vital for doing good work on the committee. There’s no better way to know what’s going on than to talk to those doing the day-to-day work, Swett said.
Over the next few years, Swett said he thinks the School Committee will reckon with the aftermath of the pandemic. While some students struggled with remote learning, others thrived. He said he hopes to help the schools work to best educate each student based on their own individual interests and capabilities while utilizing the technology available. Swett said the “individualization of education is of critical importance.” Schools should work to help kids find what they are really excited about so that they can thrive educationally, he said.
During the pandemic, Swett said, the schools have been flooded with one-time grant money, and more is on the way.
“How we spend the money is critically important, and what we spend the money on is critically important,” Swett said, adding that he thinks capital spending and maintenance are good priorities.
His experience on the Finance Committee and during his career in healthcare management would translate to the financial and operational work the School Committee does, Swett said, noting that he has extensive experience working in highly regulated service industries.
Swett said he is dedicated to Wareham and the schools in particular, and that he thinks that older generations have a duty to help care for those to come.
“I’m looking to have a positive impact on the town,” Swett said.
To contact Swett, email firstname.lastname@example.org.