Barnstable School Committee Candidates Turn Out For Forum in Advance of November 3 Election

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Candidates running for two seats on the Barnstable School Committee are, from left, incumbents, Patrick Murphy and Christopher Joyce and challengers Mike Judge and Peter Bertling. Nora Montiero did not attend the forum.

Candidates running for two seats on the Barnstable School Committee are, from left, incumbents, Patrick Murphy and Christopher Joyce, and challengers Mike Judge and Peter Bertling. Nora Montiero did not attend the forum.

HYANNIS – There is a competitive race for three seats on the Barnstable School Committee at the upcoming town election. But there are no challengers for seven seats on the Barnstable Town Council.

The Greater Hyannis Civic Association and the Centerville Civic Association joined forces this week on a candidates forum in advance of the Town Election on November 3.

Two incumbents on the school committee, former chairman Patrick Murphy and first term member Christopher Joyce, are both seeking reelection.

Murphy said that in the 12 years he has been on the board, “We’ve accomplished a lot.”

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy

The Barnstable School District is looked at as a model in the state for how it handles its finances in collaboration with the town’s finance department, Murphy said.

Among other accomplishments, he said, all five-year-olds have access to free full day kindergarten. The number of Advanced Placement courses has tripled and the number of students taking them has grown five-fold.

There’s been a commitment of high quality pre-school targeted at the town’s neediest children, Murphy said.

Also, he said, the school department built an all-purpose track and sports field, that is one of the top facilities in the region.

Murphy said he has also been appointed to the governor’s Local Governance Committee and intends to run for the presidency of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, which has an election on November 4. That goes forward if he wins reelection to his local seat on the school committee on November 3.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Christopher Joyce

Christopher Joyce

Chris Joyce, a 1990 graduate of Barnstable High School, is the only candidate running for a seat on the school district who is a product of the Barnstable Schools system.

A parent of four children in the district grades one to seven, Joyce said he was very involved in the design of the new Early Learning Center.

“I’m excited about the work that I’m doing and I think my last four years make me a great candidate for the school committee,” he said.

Three others are challenging the incumbents for the four-year terms on the school committee: Mike Judge, Peter Bertling and Nora Monteiro.


Mike Judge

Mike Judge said he has lived in Barnstable for 16 years and also has four children in the school system, in fourth to ninth grades. His wife is a school teacher.

A retired firefighter/paramedic with the Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire Department, Judge said he has been involved in the schools for a number of years, serving on numerous parent committees and councils.

Judge said, “I believe this is a very serious position. It’s looking at our kids’ education.”

To demonstrate his commitment and to learn more about the district, he said he has gone to over 30 meetings having to do with the schools since he decided to run in July.

Peter Bertling, a security guard at Cape Cod Hospital, has three children in the district. He was originally a School Choice parent. He and his wife lived in Mashpee, but they sent their children to school in Barnstable as participants in the School Choice program for six years.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Peter Bertling

Peter Bertling

They liked the Barnstable schools so much, he said, they decided to move to Barnstable last year.

“I see a lot of greatness in the schools here. I see some room for improvement,” he said.

The candidates were asked a range of questions from budget issues to whether students should be drug tested. On the question of drug testing, all of the candidates said they would not be in favor of it and would not be inclined to do it, unless it was mandated by the state.

The fifth candidate, Nora Monteiro, did not attend the candidates forum.

The four Barnstable Town Councilors whose precincts include parts of Hyannis also spoke to the small audience gathered at Town Hall for the candidates forum. They spoke on a range of issues, from the opiate abuse crisis, to schools and roads, to the town manager search process.

The town council seats are for four-year terms.

The new person on the dias was John Flores who is the only candidate running for the Precinct 1 seat vacated by Ann Canedy. Canady, having served 12 years, has to step down because of term limits.


John Flores

Flores said, “Having been involved in the village and in Cummaquid for a number of years now, I felt that I have the time, wanted to make the effort, and I have the energy to bring I think some common sense, some rationalization, to what’s going on in town government.”

Flores, a businessman and former schools superintendent, said he premises his campaign on three core values: integrity, transparency and preservation.

A town councilor, Flores said, has to balance “representing their respective precinct and how it fits in, if you will, to the whole puzzle, of making sure that Barnstable as a community is well-maintained, well-respected, is safe, that our schools are excellent, that our police and fire and safety services are excellent.”

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Jennifer Cullum

Jennifer Cullum

Running for reelection for her third term is Town Councilor Jennifer Cullum, who represents Precinct 13. Cullum has taken an activist role in the realm of community safety and quality of life in Hyannis.

Cullum said she is focusing on the homelessness and drug problem. “I work pretty closely with other elected officials and boards and committees and children to try to curb the scourge of drugs through prevention programs, and lately through the police department and other avenues,” she said.

Cullum spoke of her deep seated concern with safety issues in Hyannis. She said, she has just purchased a house on Oak Neck Road and the first week living there, her family was not able to sleep because of drug dealing across the street. She said she also found a person on drugs wandering in her yard.


Paul Hebert

“My next stay on the council will I hope be more dedicated to finding ways to better curb that problem, to make our neighborhoods safer and make the fabric of our community safer and stronger,” she said.

In his second time running, Town Councilor Paul Hebert of Precinct 3, said, big issues for him are environmental pollution, infrastructure concerns especially with wastewater and high cancer rates.

Another matter of particular concern to him, Hebert said, is the town manager search process that is underway. A member of the search committee, Hebert said the

fact that a search was started at all came as a surprise to him because, as he has said in the past, the town manager has received high marks for his performance.


James Tinsley

Running for the fourth time is Town Councilor James Tinsley of Precinct 9.

Tinsley said, supporting the schools is important to him, having had two children in the schools.

He said the drug and opiate abuse problem are also a concern. “With community involvement, that’s what it takes at the grass roots level, getting people involved on your street, in your community,” he said.

Also at the forum was Hilary Greene, the executive director of the Cape, Islands and Southeast Massachusetts Red Cross, who is running unopposed for reelection to her seat on the Barnstable Housing Authority.

Deborah Converse is also running unopposed for her seat on the authority but she did not attend the forum.



  1. I would like to clarify that the question, as asked, referred to drug testing. However, researching the matter, the Senate is considering a bill to mandate screening through interviewing by staff. While I would not support testing because of so many questions, I fully support a mandate on the proposed screening.

  2. Also, there are three (3) seats up for election for the School Committee.

  3. Joseph Kennedy says

    Mike Judge is running for school committee while his wife is a teacher. Isn’t this a conflict-of-interest issue?

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