PLYMOUTH – The race for Plymouth School Committee will include at least one newcomer.
PLYMOUTH – The race for Plymouth School Committee has suddenly gotten crowded.
Less than a week ago, only two candidates were running for three seats on the board. Last Friday, a third candidate and political newcomer joined the race. Now a name familiar to voters has been added the contest.
Town Clerk Laurence Pizer said he has certified incumbents Margie Burgess and Kim Savery Hunt and newcomer Vedna Heywood for spots on the May ballot. Jay Ferguson submitted papers Tuesday, which were certified Tuesday by Pizer’s office.
Heywood, a South Plymouth resident who works as a trauma nurse in Boston, returned nomination papers for a seat on the board Friday. She joins Burgess and Hunt, who returned papers for the May election last month.
Three seats on the seven-member board are up for election this year. Hunt and Burgess have already served multiple three-year terms. Former chairman Dennis Begley decided not to seek re-election because of health issues.
Heywood, a Ponds of Plymouth resident, has lived in Plymouth for nine years. She and her husband have a 5-year-old son, who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.
Heywood is making her first bid for public office, but she has been involved locally and in her home state of Florida on a variety of volunteer positions.
She has served on the Plymouth No Place for Hate Committee for the last six years. She has also been a volunteer for the state Department of Children and Families and the March of Dimes.
She works as a nurse in the trauma, burn and surgical critical care unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and leads a bereavement group in Kingston for families that have lost young children from pregnancy through toddlerhood.
Born in Haiti, Heywood moved to the United States when she was 3. She lived in Connecticut and New Jersey before her family settled in South Florida. She grew up in Coral Springs, adjacent to Parkland, and her family there knew some of the victims of the February school shootings there.
She moved to Massachusetts with her husband, a Cambridge native, 10 years ago. They settled in Plymouth after a day trip downtown.
Heywood said her connection to Parkland, Florida, her work with gun violence victims in the hospital and her son’s imminent entry into local schools combine to make her a strong advocate for school safety. She also describes herself as an advocate for the under-served – the economically disadvantaged, children who are disabled and English language learners.
Burgess and Hunt are long-time veterans of the school board.
Hunt, the board’s current vice chairman, has been on the committee since running unopposed for a seat in 2012. She has state and national education experience, having served as president of the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association and as a member of the Board of Directors of the National PTA.
Burgess, a former board chairman, is completing her 20th year on the School Committee.
A retired bank manager, Burgess has served on the board since winning a two-year term in 1998. She has served on the town’s Energy Committee, Distinguished Visitors Committee and Building Committee. She has served on the former Audit Committee and the Capital Outlay Committee and has been a Town Meeting representative.
Ferguson is a Town Meeting representative from Precinct 7. A retired marine engineer, he has run for county sheriff, state representative and prior open seats on the school board.