Candidate profile: Ronald Besse for School Committee

Apr 28, 2021

Ronald Besse has quite a stake in the Wareham School District. As a parent to five kids, who range in age from seven months to 13 years old, Besse — in his own words — “is going to be in the school system for a very long time.”

This long-term involvement in the district and Besse’s belief that “children need more of a voice” in their education is ultimately what convinced Besse to run for office, he said. 

Currently, Besse serves as vice chair of the Conservation Commission. He ran for selectman last year and came up short, but he hasn’t ruled out another run again in the future. 

Besse said he’s been in retail management for about 15 years, meaning he has a history of managing a large number of people — something he thinks will be useful as a member of the School Committee. In addition, Besse said his business background and his ability to “crunch the numbers” or identify areas to cut back on spending would be an asset to the committee.

Asked what issues he’d like to focus on if elected, Besse said he would prioritize “having full-on transparency” and giving students more control over their education. 

“I think that’s a really big opportunity,” he said. “To allow our students to really dictate their path — and being able to [...] have a much larger voice than they currently have.”

He said giving students a chance to make more choices would help them grow. In practice, Besse said that could look like any number of things — including, for example, allowing the student body to vote on certain decisions being made by school administrators.

“So maybe not necessarily a vote that would change [policy],” he said. “But the vote would allow the students to be heard and, obviously the superintendent or the School Committee — whoever might have the purview of making the change — can at least take that into consideration.”

Over the next three years — the duration of one term on the School Committee — Besse said he thinks one of the board’s biggest challenges will be dealing with the effects of covid-19. 

“I think that there’s going to be a lot of change that’s going to take effect over the next three years, just because of what we’ve dealt with with covid, so I think that’s going to be a challenge to figure out what’s going to be in the best interest of our children,” Besse said.

He also noted that finances would likely be a challenge in the future, because towns have taken a “big hit in the wallet” because of the pandemic.

If elected, Besse said he would strive to be accessible to his constituents because in his mind School Committee members are responsible for more than just attending meetings.

“No matter how many times you meet, that’s not where it stops,” Besse said. 

He explained that, in his opinion, part of being on the School Committee would be about “really having conversations all the time — via an email, a text message or a phone call. I really think that you have to be available at any time to be able to address an issue that comes up.”

Voters who want to get in touch with Besse before the election can reach out with questions or concerns by emailing, or by calling him directly at (508) 332-2106.