I grew up in small towns and cities in the American West: in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Their population has grown significantly since I left, but even now the three states combined have half the population of Massachusetts, on more than thirty times as much land. New Englanders might be surprised to hear that these rural states valued education at least as much as we do here. The schools were not large or luxurious, but we had superb teachers, good facilities (my Montana high school opened a computer lab in 1968), and broad community support and engagement. The local public library was as important and as well-supported as the schools. In a town where the nearest bookstore might be sixty miles away, that’s where you went to learn, to explore, to be entertained.
The only college I was interested in attending was in Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to be one of four students from Montana who were admitted that year, and found that I was prepared to compete with all of the kids from Bronx Science or Lexington. After graduation, I just stayed: there were jobs in Boston that Montana would never have, and I’d grown to love the cranky, crusty New Englanders with their distinctive accents, the non-work opportunities–jazz clubs, orchestras, museums, beaches, food from all over the world–even the seasons.
We moved to Sudbury in 1996, attracted by the natural beauty, the schools’ reputation (we were planning to start a family), and Sudbury’s affordability. We’ve stayed because, well, why would you leave?
I have always been a software engineer, and Eastern Massachusetts is still a great place to pursue that. But part of engineering, especially as you become more senior, is working out the compromises and accommodations that have to be made: the needs of the people who will be using your software; the requirements imposed by the customer–who may not be the user; the requirements imposed laws and regulations; the temperaments and needs of the people you work with and for. I’ve discovered that I’m good at listening, at finding common ground between disparate viewpoints, and at eliciting and supporting solutions no matter who came up with them.
I would not come to the Goodnow Board with a fixed agenda. I believe that public libraries are one of the most important assets we have as a nation, that Goodnow is that one of the most important assets that Sudbury has as a town, and that I can use my skills, intelligence, and enthusiasm to help sustain and grow it. My daughter’s college has as its motto Meliora, “Ever better,” and that is what I want for Goodnow.