Ramsden: 'Pragmatic, Real-World Solutions' Needed for Schools
Republican Chris Ramsden, CEO of a medical device outsourcing firm, says quality of education 'has slipped a bit'.
Three candidates covet the vacant Barrington School Committee seat that is up for grabs in the Jan. 18 special election.
Republican Chris Ramsden faces off against Democrat Joshua Berlinsky and an independent, Joel Hellmann. The winner will join two Republicans and two Democrats on the School Committee and, thus, could be the swing vote for a new chairman if members follow the party line when the board reorganizes after the special election.
Introductory looks at the candidates are running in Patch this week. Here is a look at Ramsden, CEO of an orthopedic medical device outsourcing company.
Chris Ramsden moved to Barrington 16 years ago with his wife and two children. His daughter is a senior in high school; his son is a junior. His wife teaches 3 and 4 year olds at the Barrington Early Childhood Center.
Ramsden has been CEO of Millstone Medical Outsourcing in Fall River, Mass., and Memphis, Tenn., for almost seven years. He has lived in New England all his life, and graduated from Providence Country Day school in East Providence, where he serves on the board of directors and has been co-chairman of the annual fund.
Ramsden holds an M.B.A. in finance and operations from Northwestern University and a B.A. in economics from Dartmouth College. He served in the Navy as a lieutenant and chief engineer.
The quality of Barrington's schools is what attracted him and his wife to the town. But he believes the quality "has slipped a bit" and he wants to serve on the School Committee to help return the schools to the top spot in Rhode Island.
"I have the skills, the time now with my children almost out of school, and the motivation," Ramsden said.
The motivation is the same as when he enlisted in the Navy, he said. He believes everyone has a responsibility to give something back as a citizen of his country.
Ramsden describe himself as a "pragmatist, non-political, and not an intellectual."
"A lot of people live in theory," he said. "You can't analyze something to death."
As a small businessman, he said, "I understand how to make decisions … I see the results of that every day. I truly believe that it takes common sense."
"We need real-world solutions," he continued. "Barrington needs that right now. I understand that taxpayers are being pushed."
At the same time, as a member of the board at Providence Country Day, Ramsden said, "I have become pretty familiar with education."
Indeed, Ramsden said, he believes his background meshes well with the three principal areas of concern in the Barrington schools right now: Maintaining academic excellence, constructing a new middle school, and fiscal responsibility.
Regarding the latter two concerns in particular, he said:
"I have real hands-on experience and knowledge of construction projects and build-outs" in business and the Navy, where he was directly involved in building a destroyer.
"Everyone wants money spent as prudently as possible." He said he has years of experience doing that in business.
Ramsden said he started his campaign for the School Committee about a week ago with a mailing to about 400 people in Barrington he hopes will support him. He also plans to spend a lot of time going door to door.