DRACUT -- A milestone lured Mike Miles back.
Miles, 58, a two-term incumbent, Lowell police officer and licensed substance-abuse therapist who was recently named a runner-up in The Sun's inaugural 2013 Person of the Year contest, announced Tuesday he has pulled nomination papers to seek re-election to the School Committee for a third term.
"I'd like to serve one more term. There's a lot to do. I'd like to stay on and see the new high school built and open before I go," said Miles.
"I began to feel that leaving would be like cutting bait and taking off, with too much work left undone."
Miles will be joined by Chairman Michael McNamara in seeking re-election. Potential challenger Betsy Murphy, a Lakeview PTO member, was the first to pull nomination papers Friday and may ensure the School Committee election will be a contested race.
The deadline to place one's name on the ballot by submitting the signatures of 50 registered voters is March 12.
Miles first won a seat on the School Committee six years ago, and again in 2010, and until recently had made it generally known that his plan was to serve two terms and then bow out. Besides seeing the $60 million high-school renovation project through to completion, Miles said Tuesday the district is also still faced with a "financial crisis" that he can help solve by using the budgetary knowledge he's gained over six years.
"We also have a very cohesive board right now, the best board I've been on," Miles added. "Though we don't always agree on everything -- sometimes we agree to disagree. Bottom line is, I'd feel like I was quitting if I walked away now."
Miles is a grandfather of two whose three adult children graduated from Dracut schools. He refuses to accept the no-cost insurance policy or annual stipend of $2,000 before taxes for serving on the School Committee, instead quietly dispersing those funds among Dracut High graduates.
McNamara, too, said Tuesday he is seeking re-election to what he plans to make his final three-year term on the School Committee, after having served for four and half years starting with his appointment to fill the seat vacated by Mary Gail Martin in 2008.
"This will mark the end of my career in education," said McNamara, 64, a former longtime Dracut school principal.
"I've given my whole life to education, still enjoy it, and have enjoyed the time spent on this School Committee developing policy," said McNamara.
Because he is a believer in term limits, and is "getting up there in age," becoming more of an in-demand grandfather among his grandchildren, seven-and-a-half years of board service at the completion of the coming term will be enough, said McNamara.
McNamara said among the School Committee's greatest achievements during his tenure was hiring Steven Stone as superintendent.
"We have a great superintendent who I think is going to be there for the long term, which was one of the big things we were lacking," said McNamara. "(Stone) has done a great job. He's very thorough and comprehensive in what he does. And I'm very proud to be on the School Committee with him as our educational leader."
McNamara has scheduled his re-election campaign fundraising-kickoff party for Sunday at 2 p.m. at O'Hara's Tavern in Dracut.
Follow John Collins on Twitter at johncolowellsun.