Johnson Edges Tidmarsh In School Council Election

Charlie McWeeny, News Editor

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After voting took place for a parent/guardian seat on School Council at the September 11 open house and online for the following two days, Michelle Johnson of Lanesbourgh emerged victorious with 64 votes. Tanya Tidmarsh, a Williamstown resident and candidate for School Council, came away with 63. 

Tidmarsh took a slight lead after the in-person voting at open house, gathering 13 of the 24 votes cast, while Tidmarsh walked away with 11 ballots. Over the next two days, electronic voting through a google poll was open to parents and guardians of students. Johnson took the lead in this round of voting, garnering 53 electronic ballots for a total count of 64, compared to Tidmarsh’s 50 electronic votes and total of 63. A total of 127 ballots were cast, suggesting a turn-out rate of around 12 percent. 

According to statements released by each candidate prior to the election, Tidmarsh moved to Williamstown from the UK last year. She has one child at Mount Greylock, another at Williamstown Elementary School, and is trained in art and design. Tidmarsh described herself as a pair of “fresh eyes with regards to the MGRHS approach” and said that after moving from the UK, she “would welcome the opportunity to have an active role within the community.”

Johnson also has two children, both at Mount Greylock, and served a two-year term on the Lanesborough School Council. Johnson has worked in education for the past twelve years, including at a private school for children with special needs, and said that “these experiences will help to provide background knowledge about other school cultures and a somewhat unique viewpoint.”  In an email with The Echo, Johnson said it was “great” to have more than one person run, and stressed that she thought it was “important to have representation from both Lanesborough – where I live – and Williamstown to provide a well-rounded perspective.”

Johnson will begin her term on the School Council this fall, joining two other parent/guardian representatives, student representatives, teachers, community members, and Principal Mary MacDonald. The  School Council is a representative committee that serves to develop the school improvement plan, review the school budget, and advise the School Committee. Under Massachusetts law, School Councils are required in every school. The Mount Greylock School Council has recently taken up topics from evaluating the school handbook to the impact of AP classes on social and emotional health at Mount Greylock. 

Principal and Co-Chair of School Council Mary MacDonald stressed that “it’s important that we have a full school council, and so now we have all the constituencies represented, which is terrific.” MacDonald said the Council was looking forward to “taking a look at our practices as recorded in the handbook and our thoughts around the budget and some of the programming we do.” 

Johnson said she “would like to work with the council to provide the best opportunities and education for the students who attend our school.”