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Idelson finds a home on the School Committee

Janine Idelson. Reminder Publications submitted photo
By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW Janine Idelson spends two days a week working as an embedded lawyer with MFS Investment Management in Boston. The rest of the week she's busy playing tennis, doing housework and helping with homework. She's recently added another task to her busy schedule Idelson is the newest member of the Longmeadow School Committee.

"I'm a committed mom," Idelson said in an interview with Reminder Publications. "I have three serious jobs. I'm very organized and I don't mind having a lot to do. At times, I need to be really focused, and I may need to give up some of my free time, but that never affects my jobs. I'm always going to be a professional."

A resident of Longmeadow since 1994, Idelson served since 2000 on the School Board at the Grammar School in Somersville. While there, she helped craft budgets and negotiate contracts for the institution. Her youngest son attended the Grammar School before becoming a student at Glenbrook Middle School.

"He's happy to be part of this community," Idelson said of her sixth grader. "Here, he has kids to play sports with, friends nearby. We moved him back here to make things easier.

"The principals and teachers in Longmeadow are fantastic," she continued. "[Glenbrook principal] Mike Sullivan is great. Whether or not I was on the school board, I felt like I could really talk to him."

This openness is one of the key ideals for the newest committee member. Idelson believes that different children have different needs, and with her appointment, she can serve as somebody who can address the needs of the town.

She was sworn into her position and attended her first official meeting on Sept. 24. "I felt it was important to go in thinking I didn't know too much," Idelson said. "The people on that board have been there a lot longer than me and I have a lot to learn from the people participating in Longmeadow government. I went in as a watcher and listener."

One thing Idelson does feel strongly about is the upcoming vote for the override. "We definitely need the override," she stated. "It seems to make sense. We just have to make sure we explain it to people, make it transparent and comprehensible for everyone.

"It would be great to get the override because we need it," she said. "But we need to tailor it to make it successful."

Although her appointed position on the School Committee only runs through June 2008, Idelson said she definitely plans on running for the position again at election time. She has some long-term goals for the school district.

"I want to solve the financial problems and build brand new schools," she said with a smile. "I've read the Massachusetts School Building Authority's replies to our Statements of Interest, and I've walked through our schools and I've seen firsthand the work that needs to be done. I just wish we could make all this happen in a decent time table.

"There are benefits and burdens to every decision, though," she added.

The next Longmeadow School Committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Longmeadow High School's School Committee Room.