Return to Headlines

BPS announces hiring of Assistant Superintendent of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness

BOSTON -- Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang is proud to announce that Amalio Nieves on Monday will start serving the district as the assistant superintendent of social emotional learning and wellness. This newly created position is believed to be the first such cabinet-level post in a public school district in the nation.

Nieves, whose appointment was announced to the Boston School Committee on October 28, will help BPS focus its resources on students who need social emotional instruction or assistance—ranging from early-age lessons on interpersonal interaction to assisting students and families who have gone through a traumatic event.

"In order to give all of our children the opportunity to learn and succeed, we must have the resources available to support the emotional and social needs of our students," said
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. " I welcome Amalio Nieves to BPS and thank Superintendent Chang and the Boston School Committee for their leadership and support on this important initiative."

Michael O’Neill, chairman of the Boston School Committee, praised the new position.

“The Boston School Committee’s strategic vision for the district calls for targeted interventions and support to meet the needs of all learners,” O’Neill said. “The hiring of Mr. Nieves is a great step forward as we work creatively to improve student outcomes.”
Superintendent Chang emphasized the importance that social emotionalwellbeing has on a student’s academic and career goals.

“Social emotional learning is key to a student’s academic success, and it needs to be incorporated into a child’s learning at a young age,” Chang said. “Amalio Nieves has a track record of building powerful partnerships and putting into place best practices that have demonstrated tangible results. We are excited he will be bringing his experience to Boston to help our youth succeed.”

Nieves will work closely with Dr. Karla Estrada, deputy superintendent of student support services for BPS, and oversee the district’s new Office of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness. The office will be integrated into academic and behavior initiatives already in place at BPS, and will facilitate partnerships and initiatives to provide additional resources and support around SELW.

“Amalio shares our vision of a strong collaboration with school stakeholders and community organizations to develop the best support for students and families,” Estrada said. “This is a crucial position, and having Amalio on board is an enormous benefit for BPS due to his extensive experience in social emotional learning and multi-tiered systems of support in behavior”

Nieves has spent more than 30 years in the field of education, most recently for the Broward County Public Schools in Florida. He also worked for the Chicago Public Schools.

“I am honored to be a part of the Boston Public Schools,” Nieves said. “The school district is really taking an innovative approach to addressing the needs of our students, not just academically, but socially and emotionally. I look forward to working with the BPS staff, our students and families, as well as the community on enhancing the framework in this area to prepare our students for college, career, and life-long learning experiences.”

Nieves was the director of the Diversity, Prevention, and Intervention Department in Broward County, the sixth-largest U.S. school district. Nieves led Broward’s efforts in adopting the first anti-bullying policy in Florida, which led to noticeably lower rates of bullying—with 13% of Broward students reporting bullying incidents compared to 16% of students in Florida and 20% of students nationwide, according to data published in the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Nieves is credited with spearheading an effort in his former district to eliminate the “school-to-prison pipeline,” signing an historic collaborative agreement on school discipline and helping develop the nationally recognized PROMISE initiative. As a result, school-related misdemeanor arrests in Broward County were reduced by 64%, and student suspensions were reduced by 29%.

Nieves was also an essential figure in authoring, launching, and overseeing major policies and initiatives in the areas of social emotional learning, including: multi-tiered systems of support; positive behavior intervention supports; racial equity; human relations; violence prevention; peer counseling; substance abuse prevention; LGBTQ inclusion; character education; and sexual health.