Published DateTo the editor,
My name is Chris Mega. I'm running for the 3-year Meredith position on the Inter-Lakes School Board. Many people in the community know me for my music endeavors as pianist and chairman of the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, and as an active fundraiser for the music programs at Inter-Lakes High School. I'd like to share some of my qualifications, background, and some of the issues that prompted me to run for the School Board.
I'm a 13-year Meredith resident, and have owned property here since 1992. I have two children — now a freshman and sophomore in college — who were successfully educated from K-12 at Inter-Lakes. When our older son was ready for first grade, we visited the Elementary School and were struck by the colorful open-concept library. That first impression spoke volumes about the care and quality of the educational environment. We moved here in 1999 because of that visit.
I have a degree in Computer Engineering from UMass Amherst. I worked in the technology industry for 12 years, at Digital Equipment Corporation where I received two U.S. patents for technology inventions, and as a founding member of a successful technology start-up company.
Regarding leadership qualities, after the startup I became president of an Internet marketing company, managing clients, employees, capital budget, and the technology for our 60-person parent firm. I recently stepped down as chairman of the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, a position I held for seven years. I currently own my own business, where I primarily work with school music departments throughout New England.
I am no stranger to finance. I was a licensed financial advisor; I managed the Internet banking program at Meredith Village Savings Bank; and I worked at a financial planning firm working with high-net-worth clients.
For community service and educational involvement, I've been working with students in various capacities for the past 13 years. Some notable highlights include:
— Volunteering with I-L Junior High science program on "Weedbusters" — a milfoil awareness campaign that won a $10,000 national prize for students and the science department.
— Teaching Laconia High School math students about compound interest and investing.
— Participating in Junior Achievement teaching kids about banks and saving.
— Working with Laconia High School students to complete their Independent Study requirements.
— Involving Moultonboro Academy students in a symphony dress rehearsal and concert.
— Working with Tilton School to produce their annual school musical.
So why run for school board? I am as concerned as any about the rising costs and continued downshifting of expenses at the state level. Politically I am a conservative independent who tries to see balance in all issues, will cut unnecessary costs, and will fund investment when lasting value can be obtained. I thought once my kids graduated from ILHS I would become the disinterested parent, but that is not the case. I am just as concerned now for our students, our town, and our collective children's futures as I was when my children were attending Inter-Lakes. I am a regular guy struggling to pay college tuition and lie awake wondering how my children's generation will manage in the face of today's technology, economic, and social challenges.
My wife Diane is in her 13th year as a math and computer science teacher at Inter-Lakes high school. Some may raise an eyebrow about potential conflict of interest, but this is not a unique situation and it is addressed in District Policy 8345. Conflict exists with boards of any organization, and rules such as Policy 8345 allow boards to function normally. Over the past three years one former and one current ILSD board member had spouses who were employed by the district. Schools function, administration works, and the board governs despite recusals and absences. The system works. In addition, we are in year one of a 3-year contract cycle with the ILSD teachers — negotiations won't happen for another two years.
Even the State of New Hampshire agrees. On January 30, 2013 a N.H. Senate Committee vice-chaired by Jeanie Forrester unanimously killed SB-73, a proposed bill that would disallow family members from sitting on school boards if an immediate family member was employed in the district. They realized conflict could exist, but local municipalities are equipped to function with policies such as 8345.
I am excited to put my cumulative knowledge — as board chairman, financier, educator, technologist, entrepreneur, community servant, husband, father, and musician — to work for the benefit of students and families of the Inter-Lakes School District. You can read more and contact me through my web site ChrisMega.com. I respectfully ask all residents of Center Harbor, Sandwich, and Meredith to vote for me on March 13th.
Candidate for ILSD School Board