2021 School Committee Race

The mission of CNS is to encourage families to engage with our schools and school leadership, and to provide timely information about the Needham Public Schools. The 2021 School Committee Race will be a contested election, as two long-serving members are not running for reelection. And so we are sharing information about 1) what a school committee member does, 2) the candidates, and 3) how to vote in the April 13th election. Read on to learn more about this important elected role!



What is the role of a school committee member?

The role of school committee is not as hands-on with the day-to-day running of schools as some may assume. The primary responsibilities as outlined by Massachusetts state law consist of three main functions:

  • select and terminate the superintendent

  • review and approve budgets for public education in the district

  • establish educational goals and policies which are consistent with the requirements of law and statewide goals and standards established by the board of education

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) offers additional guidance on the roles and responsibilities of school committees, and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) provides detailed information on duties, ethics, and public comment procedures.



Who are the candidates? (listed alphabetically)

This year there are three candidates competing for the two openings on the Needham School Committee:




Liz Lee

Website: VoteLizLee.com

Facebook: @VoteLizLee

Email: votelizlee@gmail.com






Michael O'Brien

Website: MikeForNeedham.com

Facebook: @MikeforNeedhamSchools

Email: votemichaelobrien@gmail.com






Rebecca Waber

Website: RebeccaWaber.com

Facebook: @RebeccaWaberNeedhamSchool

Email: rebecca@rebeccawaber.com







How do I decide who to vote for?

We strongly encourage all voters to learn more about all three candidates. Visit their websites (listed above), attend events where you can ask questions and share concerns, and reach out to them by email. It's important for the candidates to hear from you!


In addition, League of Women Voters of Needham is an excellent resource for information. They will be hosting a Candidate Night on Wednesday, March 24, at 7pm, which will be streamed live and recorded for later viewing. On the LWVN website you will find a Voter Guide with information about the three SC candidates as well as the candidates for all other races, including Select Board and Town Meeting Members. With large school building projects and possible budget challenges on the horizon, your choice for all of these town leadership positions matters.



Does CNS endorse candidates?

No, our board does not endorse candidates for public office, though our individual members may support one candidate or another.



When is the election and how do I vote? (updated 4/19)

The Needham Town Election is April 13, with polls open 7am to 8pm. If you are unsure what precinct you are, check the Voter Precinct Map.

Precincts A & B: Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue

Precincts C & D: Newman Elementary School, 1155 Central Avenue

Precincts E & H: Needham Golf Club, 49 Green Street

Precincts F & G: Rosemary Complex, 178 Rosemary Street

Precincts I & J: Town Hall, 1471 Highland Avenue


In addition to in-person voting, both absentee and vote by mail options are available. Absentee voting is for those who are unable to vote at the polls due to being out of town during polling hours, disability, or religious beliefs, while vote by mail has no eligibility requirements. Detailed voting information can be found on the Town of Needham and LWV-Needham websites.

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