Clerk, School Committee candidates take out papers in Northampton

By AMANDA DRANE

@amandadrane

Published: 05-02-2017 11:57 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A slow trickle of residents has so far taken the first step toward candidacy in the city election in November. Joining the familiar cast are two new faces: Bob Driscoll for city clerk, and Susan Voss for School Committee member at-large.

Driscoll, 41, of Florence, is a middle school history teacher at Blessed Sacrament in Holyoke. The Northampton native said he’s worked elections for the city since 2003 — most recently as Ward 2A clerk.

“I respect the process and I’d like to stay involved,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve always been interested in politics and government.”

Driscoll has taught middle schoolers for 20 years between Blessed Sacrament and the now-closed Notre Dame-Immaculate Conception School in Easthampton. He has a master’s in education from Westfield State with a concentration in history.

Driscoll, a genealogy buff who has helped others map their family trees, also said he’d be honored to preside over the city’s vital records.

“I have a great appreciation for the value of those records,” he said.

Pamela L. Powers, currently the administrative assistant to the City Council, filed for city clerk last week.

Nomination papers became available in the city clerk’s office on April 24. Those seeking a spot on the November ballot have until July 27 to pick up papers and collect the required signatures.

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Voss, a Smith College professor, said she has long been passionate about education, and that’s why she’s running for School Committee.

As a founding member of Smith’s engineering department — the first accredited engineering program at a women’s college — she helped forge the college’s engineering curriculum. Before she moved to Northampton and began working at Smith in 2001, she was an instructor at Harvard Medical School and research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which she got her doctorate in speech and hearing sciences and electrical engineering.

Now that her eldest is in college and her son, 14, is older, she said she has the time to commit to giving back.

“My passion really is about educating our community and making sure these kids growing up in a changing world are getting what they need to be productive citizens,” she said. “This is a role where I think I can make a difference.”

For five years she served as the treasurer for the Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways. She also has served on the Northampton Education Foundation’s small grants committee, and has coached basketball during her children’s tenure in city schools.

“I’m really excited to be running,” she said. “I’m hoping to make our schools even better than they are.”

As of Tuesday, incumbents at-large Nathaniel Reade and Molly Burnham had not pulled papers.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.

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