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School Committee Elects New, But Familiar, Leaders

Paul Bockelman will serve as chairman, and Mary Jo Rossetti will serve as vice chairwoman.

Somerville's School Committee voted unanimously to elect two new leaders Monday during a night of . 

Paul Bockelman, the former vice chairman of the committee, is now chairman, and Mary Jo Rossetti will serve as chairwoman.

Bockelman, who has lived in Somerville for more than 25 years, is the director of administration and finance at the Massachusetts Municipal Association and has a master’s degree in city planning from MIT, according to his biography on the Somerville Public Schools website. He has been a member of the School Committee since 2006 and held the position of vice chairman twice and chairman once before. 

Bockelman said in a speech (see attached PDF) that he would like the district to expand early childhood education and join together more with parents to provide them access to and information about their child’s school, especially with regard to after-school programs. Finally, he reiterated his support for the establishment of a Massachusetts Innovation School in one of the schools.

In an email, Bockelman went into more detail about his goals as chairman.  

"We need to make sure the unification of the Healey School is a great success, we need to hire super talented people to fill the leadership vacancies in our schools, we would like to hear from people more often, and I will be advocating with my colleagues to encourage more informal participation during our subcommittees." 

New vice chairwoman an experienced advocate for city's schools 

Rossetti has lived in the city all her life, served on the School Committee for more than a decade and presided over it before. She is also the president-elect of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

Rossetti did not give a speech at the inauguration ceremony, but said after a School Committee meeting on Tuesday that she felt honored to have been elected to the position, which she has held in the past. 

As vice chairwoman and head of the finance and facilities subcommittee, Rossetti said she intends to collaborate with her colleagues to help Somerville families better make sense of how the schools spend revenue from taxes, for example. 

"We're a good team," she said. "It's important to work together on something as important as education." 

"I love a challenge," she added.

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