Dana Guarino School Committee Candidate Announcement

My name is Dana Guarino, and I am running for a position on the Reading School Committee. Please give me the opportunity to earn your vote on March 5, 2024. My wife and I have three kids, a daughter who is ten and twin boys who are seven, all who attend Joshua Eaton. What you can expect from me is someone that will be passionate, diligent, honest, and persistent.

What makes Reading a desirable place to live and raise a family? Is it the close proximity to Boston and other business locals, the picturesque downtown and historic districts, the wide variety of activities offered to residents of all ages, or perhaps the reputation of our school district? I would argue that it is the sense of community and the tireless efforts by residents to maintain and improve Reading.

I grew up in Reading and am a product of the public schools, having attended Killam, Coolidge and RMHS. Sports was a big part of my life at the time, participating in the district’s Football, Baseball and Basketball athletic programs. These experiences helped foster my understanding of teamwork and leadership. I had the privilege of being one of the defensive captains on the RMHS varsity football team.

Both of my brothers also attended the Reading public schools, one is now a Physician’s Assistant, and another a Special Education Teacher at Minuteman Technical. My parents still live in town in the same house I grew up in.

Looking back, and now with a family of my own, I never realized the sacrifices and commitment my parents gave to support me and my two brothers. My Dad volunteered as a baseball and Pop Warner football coach, and my Mom volunteered with the RMHS football club. They never missed any of our sports or other extra circular activities and they emphasized the importance of family and faith.

The Reading public schools provided me with a solid foundation for my college career. I graduated from Springfield college with a Bachelor of Science (Psychology and Chemistry) and went on to earn a Master of Science from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPH).

Since graduating from MCPH, I have been employed as a Physician’s Assistant (PA) for the past 15 years. My wife is a pharmacist at Dana Farber. Growing up in a house where money was sparse. I understand fiscal responsibility. Both my wife and I were able to pay off our student loans off in 5 years. We prioritized necessities, and sacrificed luxuries. Although this was a challenge, it was the right thing to do.

When I submitted my application to attend MCPH, I wrote the following about my motivation to become a PA: “My greatest motivation is knowing that someday I will be able to impact and hopefully enhance an individual’s quality of life.” I believe it is time for me to contribute to that “Sense of Community” and give back to Reading with efforts aimed at moving the district forward and trying to improve, inhibiting any backward motion. 

Reading public schools has continued to make huge strides over the last few years. With support from the community, they have added dedicated vice principals to each school, and school adjustment counselors to help students emotionally. The following are just a few of the items I consider to be important priorities:

  • I strongly believe that we should be able to offer full day kindergarten without the burden of finances on the parents. Having faced this problem personally, this is a struggle for parents both financially and emotionally.
  • I support the project of revamping the Killam school. We need to ensure the project not only meets the needs of the district but also provides a fiscally responsible solution for the community.
  • Students need to be able to access the resources they need to be successful, and we need to ensure all schools and students perform to their potential. Today we have a significant discrepancy between our two middle schools that needs to be addressed.
  • I recently had experience with the special education process (one of my sons needed extra help with reading). I knew very little about Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504’s. I am fortunate to have a brother with 20 plus years of experience who helped me advocate for my son. We all don’t have a family member with a masters in SPED who can be their advocate. Helping parents in this situation should be a priority for the district.

My three kids will all be a product of this public school system. My goal in running for a School Committee seat is to make sure we continue to strive to be better. Yes, we are doing well and have moved forward over the recent years, but it’s easy to become complacent and stagnant. It isn’t always easy to be self-critical and accept that we can do better, but it’s the right thing to do. With me I will do what is right not what is easy.

In high school, my favorite motivational verse on the walls was “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” This is what you can expect from me, a fight for what is right.

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