Ward 5 is gearing up to be an active corner of Somerville in this year's municipal elections.
Laura Pitone recently announced she's decided to run for the Somerville School Committee in Ward 5, joining at least two other people in the race.
Pitone has two kids in the Somerville public school system, a fifth grader and first grader, both at the Healey School, and as a parent she became involved in the school's recent efforts to unify its programs.
She said she's eager to take her experience with the Healey School and bring it to the School Committee.
"A lot of the work we've done at the Healey … could benefit the work the School Committee is doing," she said, pointing to work the school has done to "take the best of all programs" and "continue the tradition of high parent involvement in the school."
Pitone said she supports the direction the school district is taking in emphasizing "emotional and academic support for kids."
"I really want to work with that group and continue forward," she said.
She feels Somerville schools have "made lots of strides" in recent years, and she thinks "cross-school collaboration" can improve things further.
Pitone has lived in the Somerville and Cambridge area for most of the last 20 years, she said, and she's been in Somerville for 12 years. She has a background in business and technology consulting, she said.
One of the Somerville public school system's challenges is its reputation, she said, which, coupled with the high cost of housing in the city, presents difficult decisions for families trying to determine where to send their kids to school.
After her own experience, she feels "I could send my kids to any of these schools," she said of Somerville's schools.
Because of Somerville's size and diversity, "We have a lot of demands on the school's, financially," she said.
At least two other people are planning to run for School Committee in Ward 5. Ross Richmond said he's running, and Caroline Shea Rosas is also running, according to Ward5Online.
Meanwhile, Ward 5's current representative on the School Committee, Mark Niedergang, is running for alderman in the ward.
Speaking about a possible crowded field of candidates, Pitone said she decided to run because she felt she had something to add to the School Committee.
Also, a competitive race will "expose a positive dialogue about the schools," she said.
Somerville Patch hopes to post information about other candidates in the race soon.
Also, if you're a candidate running for office in Somerville this year, we'd love to hear from you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.