School Committee candidate profile: Geoff Swett

Mar 21, 2018

Candidate Geoff Swett said his business experience and strong management background will serve him well if re-elected to the School Committee. He is the committee’s current vice chair and has served since 2005. Swett’s passion for education drove him to seek election initially.

“I do believe that any community’s future is fundamentally tied to the success of its educational system,” he said.

Swett has lived in Wareham since 1999 and is retired after a career in healthcare. He was on Wareham’s Finance Committee from 1999 to 2005, currently coaches the girls tennis team, is chairman of the YMCA Southcoast Board of Directors and is on the board of directors for the New Bedford Symphony.

In the past, Swett has served on the Board of Directors of the Big Brother Big Sister organization, where he also was a Big Brother himself.

Swett said his experience working with kids through the YMCA and New Bedford Symphony has been “tremendously beneficial.”

“Kids are really very observant and are absorbing things that many adults don’t realize,” he said. “The kids have insights, they can be powerful.”

When a policy or money consideration comes before the School Committee, Swett said he considers how students will react to the changes.

“I think that’s been particularly helpful for me,” he said. “I consider it almost a second career now that I’m retired – taking all this information that kids are giving me and using it in a powerful way.”

With his management background, Swett said one of his strengths includes advising the superintendent. Though he’s never been an educator, he has “enjoyed tremendously” working with educators, finding them to be “really interesting, passionate, idealistic people.”

One of the issues Swett finds most important is declining enrollment, which raises the cost of education per student. As a member of the Minot Forest School Building Committee, Swett said replacing and consolidating the elementary schools in a cost effective way is another major issue. Swett said he feels a responsibility to effectively manage cost while enrollment declines in the district. He also wants to promote student discipline and school security.

Swett said accountability has improved with administration, but believes it can be better.

“We implemented a more effective evaluation system and are doing a much better job of supporting new teachers and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” Swett said.