HSTF head joins school committee

January 11, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

Claudio Martinez, a Jamaica Plain resident and executive director of the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), has been appointed to the Boston School Committee by Mayor Thomas Menino.

“Having a dedicated and diverse School Committee is extremely important not only for our students, but for the future of our city,” Menino said in a press statement to the Gazette. “Both Claudio and [re-appointed member Marchelle Raynor] have experience in backgrounds that translate well to improving the education of our children.”

“I was encouraged by a lot of young people I work with to do this,” Martinez told the Gazette. “I’m going to bring all my personal experience as a community member, father of a former BPS student and Task Force [youth advisor] to this group.”

Martinez has helmed expansion of the youth-oriented HSTF, including a variety of after-school and leadership development programs. Among the group’s recent successful efforts was convincing Boston Public Schools (BPS) to adopt a core civics curriculum.

He is also a former chair of the Boston Parents Organizing Network, a group that promotes BPS improvements.

Martinez has been a vocal opponent of BPS programming cuts and state policies that restrict bilingual education. A native of Argentina, he noted that he brings to the table personal experience as an English-language learner and immigrant.

But, he added, when formulating policy, he prefers to listen to all sides rather than relying solely on his personal experiences.

Martinez’s various awards include a 2005 honor as a Fellow of the Barr Foundation, which included a long sabbatical and a trip to see organizing efforts in Africa.

The seven-member school committee sets BPS policies. Committee candidates are nominated by a citizens panel, with members selected and appointed by the mayor.

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