There are wonderful candidates for School Committee, a position I know firsthand is critically important. Now that I am leaving the School Committee, I want to share my thoughts on the candidates who deserve your consideration.
Having weighed all the candidates, I am sure the district will be in good hands come next January. I encourage a #1 vote for José Luis Rojas Villarreal. I know he would be a great addition to the School Committee. José Luis has exactly the background the SC needs. He combines an understanding of numbers, strategy and business – since he has been a banker – with a clear focus on community and progressive values – most of his financial work has been in cooperatives and community-based enterprises, including worker-ownership as a strategy to address income inequality. He now works at LEAF, which does that cooperative financing work. And he has pledged to work 80% time at LEAF if he wins School Committee so he can devote time to SC work.
José Luis has deep experience working with a wide range of people from different backgrounds and focused on bringing people together to accomplish the work. That attitude and experience is critical to be effective at promoting positive change in our school district. And he will be a strong advocate for all students – of all backgrounds, all learning types and styles. He is co-chair of the Amigos School Council, where his children attend school and understands and fully supports bilingual education. He himself and his family are English Language Learners [ELL]. He is an immigrant – brought to this country from Mexico by his parents who moved the family here to get a better education for their children. We have a significant number of ELL and immigrant families in our school district. And I believe having someone who has lived the issues faced by ELL and immigrant families would be an asset. If elected he will be only the second Latinx to be serve on the School Committee. And, his involvement in the wider community of Cambridge has proven he is a collaborative convener and people-focused advocate. Overall, he is a great candidate and I am glad he decided to run. He has an uphill battle, so please join me in voting #1 for him.
My # 2 vote will go to Emily Dexter. She has been as consistently focused as I on what really matters and what really works. For example, her focus on absenteeism to better understand why kids are falling behind led to a significant policy change in the district, to the benefit of all and with real impact on students of color and low income students who are disproportionately absent. She is also endorsed by Bob and Janet Moses – civil right icons after whom Cambridge named one of our youth centers in recognition of them both as local African Americans luminaries focused on education. And she has served two terms, so knows something about how to move things forward. She works hard at the job and puts in the time to be thoughtful and effective.
And I’m enthusiastic about these other newcomers: Elechi Kadete, Chris Lim, David Weinstein and Ayesha Wilson.