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Boston School Committee reelects chairs, appoints new member

BOSTON — The Boston School Committee on Monday, January 4, reelected Michael O’Neill to Chair and Dr. Hardin Coleman to Vice Chair in unanimous votes during its Annual Organizational Meeting.
The voting came a short time after Mayor Martin J. Walsh swore in Alexandra Oliver-Dávila to her first term as a School Committee member. Oliver-Dávila is the executive director of Sociedad Latina Inc. and is a longtime advocate for Latino youth. 

"Oliver-Dávila is a great addition to the Boston School Committee," said Mayor Walsh. "Her experience focusing on building strong partnerships and creating opportunities for young people in the City of Boston will add to a cadre of leaders serving in this capacity."

Oliver-Dávila replaces Meg Campbell, who opted to not reapply for a Committee seat at the end of serving one four-year term.

"Oliver-Dávila's longtime advocacy for youth is well known and will inform her work on the Committee," O’Neill said. "She has worked closely with many members of the Committee, myself included, whether through her co-founding role of the Boston Youth Service Network (BYSN), her involvement in helping to publicly interview the Superintendent finalists, her role on Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang's transition team or her current involvement in the School Committee's Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force. I have no doubt these experiences will allow her to quickly hit the ground running as an active and involved School Committee member."

O’Neill also expressed thanks to Committee members for re-appointing him to Chair.

“I am honored to be re-appointed as Chair, and very much looking forward to the work ahead,” O’Neill said. “There are many important initiatives occurring in Boston Public Schools, and it’s reassuring to have such dedicated and qualified Committee members on board.”

Oliver-Davila group photo
New School Committee member Alexandra Oliver-Dávila (center) poses for a photo with School Committee Chair Michael O'Neill, School Committee member Regina Robinson, Mayor Marty Walsh, Superintendent Tommy Chang, and School Committee members Jeri Robinson, Vice Chair Hardin Coleman, and Michael Loconto. (Photo by Don Harney)

O’Neill mentioned the hiring of Chang and the implementation of the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force as highlights from the past year. He said the coming year will largely focus on issues around the school budget, expansion of extended learning time and pre-K, and the implementation of projects connected to Chang’s 100-Day Plan.

“The Boston School Committee has provided incredible support to me as a new Superintendent,” Chang said. “I’m very excited about the progress we will make as we continue to work together.”

The seven members of the School Committee are Boston residents appointed by the Mayor of Boston to serve four-year staggered terms. Mayor Walsh made the appointment of Oliver-Dávila based on a list of candidates recommended by a 13-member Citizens Nominating Panel composed of parents, teachers, principals, and representatives of business and higher education. Under the legislation that established the appointed School Committee, "the Mayor shall strive to appoint individuals who reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the city."

School Committee member Dr. Miren Uriarte has been re-appointed to a full term. She was initially appointed in February 2015 to serve out the unfinished term of a previous member.