Paul at Peirce School

Energized Schlichtman brings deep background to key challenges -- rebuild, new super • February 9, 2020

From a joke about his cat, delivered with a trace of a Long Island accent, to a serious presentation about enrollment numbers, Paul Schlichtman reflects a range of qualities that he has brought to the School Committee over many years. 

Paul Schlichtman, School Committee
                            candidate, 2020 photoSchlichtman

The incumbent seeks his sixth term in the April election.

Here are Schlichtman's responses to basic questions to all who take out papers. [read more]

You have three votes. Here are the write-ups for candidates  Liz Exton, Bill Hayner, and Lynnette Martyn.

Pink and Purple Panacea: A guide to how the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law influences public meetings.

Arlington Advocate Weekly Questions:

Question 1. (Published February 27)   Why do you feel like you are the best candidate to be on the School Committee?

I view successful school committee service as contributing to a governing team, where nothing can be achieved without a majority vote. My skills and experience in public school and municipal governance enables me to be an effective contributor to the team.

I served four years on the Minuteman School Committee, and 14 years on the Arlington School Committee. I have served in Town Meeting for 24 years

I have also played a statewide leadership role in public school governance, having served as President of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees in 2004.

I also bring the perspective of a professional educator who has worked primarily in urban districts. I have been an elementary teacher, a high school math teacher, a principal, and a central office administrator. My bachelor’s degree is from the City University of New York, and I earned my master’s and C.A.S. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Question 2. (Published March 5)  The new Arlington High School project is going to be a major aspect of Arlington Public Schools over the next few years. Is there any part of the project you have a particular concern about or that you would like to focus on? 

The school committee doesn’t oversee the building project; that is the responsibility of the building committee established by the Massachusetts School Building Authority. I don’t have any particular concerns, as I have confidence in the building committee’s ability to manage the project. The members include folks with an understanding of what we need in a successful high school, as well as others with prior experience in completing successful town building projects.


For the school committee, we will need to focus on the experiences our students have while attending school adjacent to a construction site. We must make sure the high school is sufficiently resourced to provide a safe environment conducive to learning. We will rely on the superintendent and high school principal, who serve on the building committee, to keep the high school community informed about how we must work around the construction activity.

Question 3. (Published March 12)  Last year the School Committee mentioned that they would like to increase the diversity of its teaching staff. Do you think teaching diversity is important to APS? Why?


Twelve years ago, the student population in Arlington included 20% children of color; now it’s 30%. We understand our community is becoming more racially diverse, even as we are becoming less economically diverse.


We need to strive to employ educators who reflect our student population, for obvious reasons. Research shows that students have a better school experience when they attend schools with teachers who look like them. Less obvious, but equally important, is that our students are preparing for a life in a global society.


This is a statewide challenge. The biggest barrier is the Massachusetts teacher test, which discourages qualified out-of-state educators from considering a career in Massachusetts. The test is an expensive barrier for applicants, and isn’t a valid or useful measure. The Arlington School Committee sponsored a resolution to abolish this test, with was approved by last year’s general assembly of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.
Question 4. (Published March 19) Over the next year, Arlington will be in the process of hiring a new superintendent? What quality would you look for first in a superintendent?

Last year, we were able to pass an override and a debt exclusion because voters have confidence in our leadership. We need to maintain this trust in order to build upon our success, and we need a superintendent who communicates well with the community.

We need a superintendent who recognizes the excellence of our staff, and promotes our culture of continuous improvement. I find value in a leader with a sense of humor, a leader who brings joy to the work.

As a former teacher, principal, and district administrator, with 18 years of school committee service and statewide leadership roles, I have worked with dozens of superintendents. I have seen how great superintendents make a school system a better place, and how others can impede the work of educators. My experience will help me to evaluate candidates who will be a strong addition to an already strong system.

THANK YOU for re-electing Paul Schlichtman
Arlington School Committee in 2020.

Experienced leadership for challenging times.

WE WON! A map of election returns for Arlington's 21 precincts, June 6, 2020
A map of Arlington & Belmont state primary election returns, September 1, 2020

2022 Update! Paul is running for re-election to his seat in Arlington's Representative Town Meeting, representing Precinct 9.
In person voting for Precinct 9 has moved to Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue. In person voting is from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Precinct boundaries have been redrawn
to align with population changes reported by the 2020 census. There are significant changes to Precinct 9.
Click here to view a map of Arlington's new precincts.
Click here to view your voter registration status, your precinct, and your polling place.

2020 voting procedures do not apply in 2022. The town is not mailing postcards to registered voters. All voters can request absentee ballots by following the instructions at
Absentee ballots must be received at the Town Clerk's office on or before 8:00 p.m. on April 2.

As a veteran Town Meeting Member, Paul is working to address pedestrian safety issues on Chestnut Street. Paul has worked to enact and strengthen the town's Dark Skies bylaw. Paul led the effort to move the Precinct 9 polling place from Bishop School to Town Hall. He is also the primary sponsor of articles for the 2022 Annual Town Meeting that will provide for fair and equitable enforcement of the town's bylaws, and ensure that the town does not schedule discretionary excavations in the overnight hours.

Paul is also working on securing high-quality bus service from the new Green Line Extension stop at Medford-Tufts to Arlington Center and Arlington Heights. For details on his plan for great connections to the Green Line Extension, please visit

2022 Endorsements: Paul is pleased to announce his endorsement of Town Moderator John Leone's re-election campaign. While uncontested, Paul also urges votes for Kirsi Allison-Ampe and Len Kardon for School Committee.

We find ourselves in challenging times.
It’s much easier to close down a school system than to bring it back.

We need an experienced, collaborative school committee to work together to make the difficult decisions ahead.

Checks can be mailed to the Committee to Elect Paul Schlichtman
Kim Haase, Treasurer
88 Park Avenue, apartment 401
Arlington, MA 02476
PLEASE NOTE: Massachusetts Campaign Finance Laws require us to file periodic reports of receipts and expenditures with the Town Clerk. Donations totaling more than $50.00 in any calendar year must be identified by name and address of the donor. If an individual donates $200 or more in a calendar year, the law also requires us to ask for the contributor's occupation and employer. Donations by check drawn on a joint account as well as donations designated to be from two donors jointly will be treated as having been given half by each, unless you specify otherwise. Cash and corporate checks cannot be accepted.

In the past three years, we worked together to meet some significant challenges. We welcomed new families to our town and built classrooms for our children at the Gibbs, Thompson, and Hardy schools. We worked together to fund a new high school. Now we must bring the system back from the COVID closure, operate a high school on a construction site, and select a new superintendent when Kathleen Bodie retires next year.
Paul Schlichtman is uniquely qualified to share his experience and dedication to Arlington, as a member of the School Committee, as we meet the challenges ahead.

Paul Schlichtman is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). Attracting educators of color is not just an Arlington problem: it is a challenge faced by every district in the state. That’s why Paul authored a resolution that was adopted by the MASC delegate assembly in 2019 to advocate for the elimination of the state’s teacher testing program. The tests are expensive (the applicant pays the fee to Pearson), and don’t provide a valid measure of teaching ability. They are a barrier for out-of-state educators who might consider working in Massachusetts.


Paul Schlichtman is a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s School & District Accountability & Assistance Advisory Council. He spent the past 20 years analyzing school and district performance and accountability data to help principals and teachers to understand the levers of change that improve their schools.
He understands that measures like the MCAS are just indicators that inform our work, not desired outcomes that drive our decisions. Too much emphasis on MCAS and accountability scores takes time and resources away from art, music, world languages, social studies, social-emotional learning, and other essentials not tested by the state.

                    Enrollment Changes
Looking for a data-informed school committee member? Paul built this interactive map and documented the enrollment growth in Arlington to support the 2019 operating override and high school project. Here's the map that shows a six year increase of 1,036 students; the 21.13% increase is the largest of any municipality with a student population over 100 children.

Read about how Paul's experience as an urban educator informs his decisions on race and equity in the Arlington Public Schools.

Watch Paul's one-on-one conversation with James Milan of ACMi, a 15 minute talk about data, the superintendent search, the pandemic, and the advantage of having a highly-functional, collaborative school committee.

Watch the ACMi School Committee debate & read the transcript.

Keep in touch with Town of Arlington COVID-19 updates here. During the COVID-19 emergency, the Secretary of the Commonwealth advises that no-excuse early voting is available now.Download the application here, and return it to the Town Clerk's office, Arlington Town Hall
730 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington MA 02476.
Fax: 781-316-3079

"The Arlington Public Schools will ensure that every graduate is prepared to enter and complete a post-secondary degree program, pursue a career, and be an active citizen in an ever-changing world by offering a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based and data-driven K-12 system of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that integrates social, emotional and wellness support."
Overarching Goal 1 - Arlington Public Schools (Adopted September 27, 2012)

• B.S., City University of New York
• Ed. M.
Harvard University Graduate School of Education
• C.A.S.,
Harvard University Graduate School of Education

• Completed National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) Executive Development Program & Massachusetts District Governance Leadership Program

• 27 years of volunteer service
for the Town of Arlington.
• 37 years of professional experience as a public school teacher and administrator.

School Committee - Member (2001-2007 & 2012-2023), Chair (2004-2005 & 2015-2016)
(Appointed to fill the unexpired term of Joseph A. Curro, Jr. on May 3, 2012, and elected to fill the remainder of the term on April 4, 2012; re-elected on April 5, 2014 and April 1, 2017.)

Please visit Paul's school committee blog.

Minuteman Regional Technical Vocational School Committee - Member (1997-2001)
Association of School Committees - President (2004)
President-Elect (2003), Immediate Past President (2005)

Arlington Town Meeting - Representative TMM (1993-2003, 2006-2022)
(Re-elected to a three-year term on April 7, 2018)

Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, School & District Accountability & Assistance Advisory Council, M.A.S.C. Representative (2015-2021)

Did you know?
• The Arlington Public Schools enrolls 6,047 students (October 1, 2019). Our students are 70.5% white, 13.0% Asian, 6.1% Hispanic, 3.4% African-American, 6.8% multiracial. 12.7% of our students have a first language that is not English, and 4.8% are classified as English Language Learners.
• 100% of Arlington high school graduates complete the MassCore curriculum.
• 99.8% of Arlington's core academic classes are taught by highly qualified teachers.
Arlington's per pupil spending of $14,594 (2018) is $1,901 less than the state average of $16,495
Arlington's education spending as a percentage of total municipal expenditures (2018) is 46.3%, below the state average of 49.4%.

Arlington is a diverse, fiscally prudent, high-achieving district.

For "higher academic standards, transparent hiring protocols, and strict accountability measures... Paul Schlichtman... the best chance for a cleansing breath of fresh air." Lowell Sun, June 25, 2013.

2020 Virtual Campaign Kick-Off

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Paul Schlichtman • 47 Mystic Street - 8C • Arlington MA 02474 • 781.641.3401
©2014 The Committee to Elect Paul Schlichtman

Last update Saturdat, March 20, 2021

photo credit: Charlotte Pierce, Pierce Press

You have three votes for School Committee. Please visit the websites of the other candidates:
Rieko Tanaka and Paul

Paul is married to Rieko Tanaka, a classically trained pianist, who became a U.S. Citizen in 2017. They both serve as Town Meeting Members representing Precinct 9.