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2013 Watertown grad on the 2014 Board of Education ballot

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WATERTOWN — One of the names on the Watertown City School District 2013 graduation program will appear on the Board of Education ballot Tuesday.

Watertown High School alumnus Brendon L. Webb, 19, is running against Jeffrey A. Wekar, a Sackets Harbor teacher and technology coordinator, for a vacant Board of Education position.

“I know people might say my age is a disadvantage, but I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” Mr. Webb said. “I want to bring new and fresh ideas to the board.” Mr. Webb said he wanted to run for a school board position since the first time he attended a meeting at Gouverneur Central School in 2011.

“I decided I wanted to be a part of making children’s days a little better in school,” Mr. Webb said. Mr. Webb is just one year older than John W. Allen, a Belleville Henderson student who was elected to its Board of Education in 2012.

“I feel like our generation has a lot to offer, and I want to get involved and be a part of the school,” Mr. Webb said. “As a board member I know you need to look not just one year down the road but look five to 10 years to keep programs.”

Mr. Webb plans to attend Jefferson Community College to pursue a degree in secondary education and to receive his teaching assistant certificate. Eventually, he wants to attend SUNY Delhi for his master’s degree.

Mr. Webb said one of the advantages he will bring to the table is the fresh experience of what students in the high school perceive.

“I’ve been to the board meetings, and they have a lot on their plate,” Mr. Webb said. “They don’t get to go in and see how kids are doing in the school district.”

Mr. Webb attended Gouverneur Central School until his last two months of high school, graduating from Watertown High. As a child who moved around a lot, he knows the value of a solid education and a well-rounded environment for children. Mr. Webb said he learned a lot in high school through the Student Senate and Key Club.

His opponent Mr. Wekar said he wants to serve on the school board because of his two children, ages 5 and 7.

“Our kids will be going here for a while,” Mr. Wekar said. “It’s important to us that the school continues to provide the programs they need.” A Watertown resident and Sackets Harbor teacher, he understands the needs of the school and the community.

Mr. Wekar said he hopes his background in technology will help the Watertown City School District progress. “I feel I could offer something to the district,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping Watertown continue to improve it’s infrastructure.”

From working in the Sackets Harbor School District, he sees that the state Education Department is putting more and more emphasis on Internet-based learning and tests.

At Sackets Harbor, he is co-chairman of the technology committee, has served on curriculum boards and is the site administrator for delivering technology and training information from Boards of Cooperative Educational Services to teachers.

Both Mr. Webb and Mr. Wekar say balancing a budget will be a challenge for the district.

“There are a lot of unknowns of what is going to be handed out by the state,” Mr. Wekar said, “The Common Core requirements and the different mandates the state presents will be a growing challenge.”

The two candidates are competing for the Board of Education seat held by Michael R. Flick. Jo-Ann Nevin, assistant to the superintendent, said Mr. Flick took over the seat for one year after Patrick J. Powers, who served on the board since 1999, retired last year. Ms. Nevin said whoever is elected will begin serving May 21.

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