Thursday January 07, 2016
Dan Fleming, a South Burlington resident and current school board member, announced in December that he would not be seeking re-election to the board in March. Fleming decided to run for the school board after he had been appointed to fill out the remainder of long time board chair Richard Cassidy’s remaining term when he resigned. After that term was complete, Fleming ran unopposed for the two-year seat in 2014.
Fleming’s professional experience has been invaluable to the school board. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering and spent several years as a practicing engineer. He worked at IBM in Essex during his family’s first residency in South Burlington. Then, his work took him to Connecticut. The Fleming family returned to South Burlington in 1999. He and his wife, Joan have two adult children who graduated from South Burlington High School (SBHS) and have gone on to pursue graduate degrees and professional careers.
School board chair Elizabeth Fitzgerald said, “Dan began his most recent public service to South Burlington schools serving on the Citizens’ Finance Advisory Committee, which had responsibility for budget development insights prior to board approval. At least the five most recent annual operating budgets have been approved, in large part, based on Dan’s diligence working with administration to ensure that a quality education was being delivered to students at a cost the community chose to support.”
As with any volunteer position, there are challenges and victories. For Fleming one of the most rewarding aspects of being on the board has been working with South Burlington’s teachers, administration, and staff who “carry the lion’s share of the day to day efforts and deserve the credit for the district’s accomplishments.” When Fleming ran for the board, he cited several goals he would pursue as a member, the safety and well being of students and staff, continuing excellence in the delivery of education, a sustainable budget, and finding a way to integrate technology into the delivery of education. Fleming feels the district has been attentive to all of those goals.
As for challenges, Fleming noted his need to adjust to the pace of decision-making demanded of the public rather than private sector, as well as the relative lack of public engagement except in the case of higher profile issues.
Fitzgerald said, “Dan has been instrumental in his role on the board at challenging us to take a more strategic and longer-term view on first, capital planning for maintenance and repair of facilities, but more recently on financial stewardship which includes school configuration, relationships with the city and adjoining districts, and total compensation programs which recognize excellence and innovation. Dan’s professional experience in leadership and general management roles gave him unique perspective on the board and, though his children have long graduated from SBHS, he represents a perspective of the majority of South Burlington taxpayers . . . those who no longer have children in the public education system and who continue to support a growing investment in our youth.”
As for the future, Fleming plans to continue his involvement with neighboring districts by mentoring students in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with a focus on engineering. He also hopes to be involved with the district’s master planning and visioning process and work on “a long walk ruined” otherwise known as golf.
Fitzgerald added, “The board is grateful for Dan’s service and looks forward to his continued engagement in special projects for the district as a valued community member.”
If you are interested in finding out more information about school board member roles and responsibilities, contact Dan Fleming at home by phone at 864- 6460 or via his district e-mail email@example.com.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent