Student Instrument Concert

Somerville School Committee

The School Committee is an elected body that oversees the Somerville Public Schools. Members work with the Superintendent to set broad policies and educational goals, develop a recommended budget for submission to the Mayor, and provide fiscal oversight of the School Department. The Committee is composed of seven members elected by ward every two years (on the odd years). The Mayor and the City Council President are ex-officio members with full voting rights. The School Committee has regular meetings the first and third Monday of every month during the school year (September through June). Meetings, held in the City Council Chambers at Somerville City Hall located at 93 Highland Avenue in Somerville, are open to the public, with the exception of Executive Session meetings. Public meetings are broadcast live on Somerville Cable Channel 16.

Subcommittees

Subcommittees of the Somerville School Committee are where much of business associated with overseeing the Somerville Public Schools happens. There are four subcommittees of the School Committee composed of the following members:

  • Education Programs and Instruction: Sarah Phillips (Chair), Sara Dion (Vice Chair) and Emily Ackman
  • Finance and Facilities: Ilana Krepchin (Chair), Emily Ackman (Vice Chair) and Laura Pitone
  • Rules Management: Ellenor Barish (Chair), Laura Pitone (Vice Chair) and Sara Dion
  • Special Policing: Andre Green (Chair), Sarah Phillips, Ellenor Barish, Matt Buchanan, Les Lartey, Glenda Soto, Dayshawn Simmons, Aisha Banda, Caterina Sanz, Johanne Thomas, Anuj Bhardwaj, Silvia Martinez de Mejia, Bryan Recinos, Nancy Nimako

In addition, the Committee for Long Range Planning is a Standing Committee of the Whole. It is chaired by the Chair of the School Committee.

Subcommittee Meetings and Subcommittee Meetings of the Whole are usually hosted in the Somerville Public Schools Central Office located at 8 Bonair Street. Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings. To request meeting handout and materials, please contact Jeff Curley. Agendas, Weekly Calls, and Minutes for Regular and Subcommittee meetings are available online under "School Committee Meetings" in the menu to the right. 

Committees and Initiatives

School Committee representatives also serve on the following committees/initiatives:

  • Children's Cabinet: Ellenor Barish
  • Food Security: Ellenor Barrish
  • Out of School Time: Sarah Phillips
  • CAAS Board of Directors: Sarah Phillips
  • Charter Commission: Laura Pitone
  • SHORE Collaborative Board: Emily Ackman
  • Community Cabinet: Ellenor Barish
  • Sick Bank Representative: Emily Ackman
  • Wellness Working Group: Ellenor Barish
  • Negotiation Representatives: Ilana Krepchin, Ellenor Barish
  • Somerville High School Building Committee: Laura Pitone

School Committee Members

Andre L. Green, Ward 4: Chair of School Committee, Special Policing Subcommittee

(617) 201-9512, 88 Governor Winthrop Road, Somerville MA 02145, agreen@k12.somerville.ma.us

Andre L. Green has represented Ward 4 on the School Committee since January 2016. Andre has 15 years of experience covering education policy, data analysis, technology, and advocacy. A 14 year resident of Somerville, Andre was raised by a single mom and is the first person in his family to get a Bachelor's Degree.

Emily Ackman, Ward 1: Finance & Facilities Subcommittee, Education Programs Subcommittee, SHORE Collaborative Board, Sick Bank Representative

 (617) 863-7740, Somerville MA 02145 eackman@k12.somerville.ma.us

Emily Ackman started representing Ward 1 in January 2018. She is a proud K-12 public school graduate and has spent her career dedicated to education. She holds two masters degrees and a Ph.D. in Education Policy. Emily is trained as a Montessori educator and worked as a preschool teacher in Athens, Georgia, and then an elementary teacher in New York City. She has influenced state-level education policy in Arizona, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Her research expertise is focused on the intersection of education and politics. Emily lives in East Somerville with her partner, Jonah (who was also her senior prom date!), and their two kids TJ & Ruby. She is a proud graduate of UMass, Amherst. In addition to serving Ward 1 as the representative to the School Committee, she is also on the Board of East Somerville Main Streets.

Ilana Krepchin, Ward 2: Vice Chair of School Committee, Finance & Facilities Subcommittee Chair, Negotiation Representative

(617) 852-8562, 7 Waldo Ave. #1, Somerville MA 02143, Ikrepchin@k12.somerville.ma.us

Ilana Krepchin has been a member of the Somerville School Committee since 2019. She has lived in Somerville for over 20 years, 13 of those in ward 2. She lives with her 11 year old daughter, Molly, her husband Rich, and their cat, Panda. Molly went to Pre-k at the Capuano and has been a student at the Argenziano since Kindergarten. Rich is a long-time nurse at Boston Medical Center and an avid city and long-distance cyclist. Ilana is a jeweler and teaches jewelry making and runs the jewelry studio at the Artisan’s Asylum (also in ward 2).

Before joining the School Committee, Ilana was the President of the Argenziano School PTA, where she worked extensively to enhance and improve the student experience at the Argenziano. She has seen firsthand how change is made - what works and what doesn't - and how best to coordinate the efforts of teachers, parents and school administrators. She is committed to the continued improvement of our schools and to finding consensus among all stake holders. 

Sarah Phillips, Ward 3: Education Programs and Instruction Subcommittee Chair, Special Policing, CAAS Board of Directors, Out of School Time

(617) 863-0826, 19R Prospect Hill Ave #2, Somerville MA 02143,  sphillips@k12.somerville.ma.us

Sarah Phillips has spent over 20 years working to improve public education as an educator, social worker, and activist. Highlights from her work as a practitioner include: teaching English as a Second Language in the Oakland public schools, improving afterschool program quality with cities and counties across the country, and forcing the Chicago Transit Authority to expand subway service through three low-income communities of color. Since receiving a PhD in 2013, Sarah has researched the school and out-of-school contexts that promote healthy development. She is an expert in student engagement, school climate, and social and emotional learning. Sarah has lived in Somerville since 2009. She was a leader in Progress Together for Somerville Schools and, most recently, a member of the Argenziano School Improvement Council. Sarah is married to Josh Rosenstock and the proud mother of three children. She was elected to the School Committee in November 2019.

Laura Pitone, Ward 5: Finance and Facilities Subcommittee, Charter Commission, Somerville, SHS Building Committee

(617) 776-6035, 46 Rogers Ave., Somerville MA 02144, lpitone@k12.somerville.ma.us

Laura Pitone has represented Ward 5 on the School Committee since 2014. Laura originally moved to the area to attend college and quickly found herself drawn to Somerville's "diversity and small-scale urban environment." She has been a Somerville resident for 12 years. Laura's experience in data analysis, team-building, and budget management, along with her commitment to participatory leadership, have helped her excel in industry and community work. She earned an engineering degree from MIT and a business degree from Babson College, and has worked as a manufacturing engineer and information technology consultant. She was a member of the Healey School Improvement Council for three years, where her leadership, communication, and team-building skills helped ensure the successful redesign of two distinct programs at the school into a unified program. Laura has also served on the Somerville City and Schools Children and Youth Study Team, and the Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SPED-PAC). Laura and her husband, Tom Cole, have two children enrolled at the Healey School.

Ellenor Barish, Ward 6: Rules Subcommittee Chair, Special Policing Educational Programs, Community Cabinet, Wellness Working Group, Children's Cabinet, Food Security

(646) 337-8840, 6 Henry Ave, Somerville MA 02144, ebarish@k12.somerville.ma.us

Ellenor Emery Barish has lived in Somerville with her spouse Mike since 2004. Ellenor and Mike’s three children attend public school in Somerville. Over the past decade, Ellenor has been an active volunteer with various local organizations including Shape Up Somerville, Somerville Youth Soccer, and the Brown School PTA. Ellenor is a Registered Dietitian and she has a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Italian. She has been a School Committee member since January 2020.

Sara Dion, Ward 7: Education Programs Subcommittee, Rules Management Subcommittee

(978) 866-6080, 1274 Broadway, Apt. 1, Somerville, MA 02144; sdion@k12.somerville.ma.us

Sara Dion was elected to the School Committee in November of 2021. She has been a Somerville resident for five years. She lives in Ward 7 with her partner Will, his daughter Charlotte, and their cat Snuggle. She has been working as an English Learners Teacher at the McGlynn Elementary School in Medford for nine years. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Providence College, and a Master's Degree in Educational Studies with an ESL Concentration from Wheelock College (now part of Boston University). 

Sara first got into politics through her teachers' union; she served as a Building Representative and Political Action Liaison for the Medford Teachers' Association for several years. She led organizing efforts for No on 2 (keeping the cap on charter schools) during the 2016 election. She has also worked as a Summer Member Organizer for the Massachusetts Teachers' Association (MTA), a position in which she learned valuable boots-on-the-ground organizing skills. She has volunteered for progressive political campaigns at the state and federal level, and also sits on MTA's Candidate Recommendation Committee, where she helps to guide MTA's endorsement process for candidates for state-level offices. 

Honorable Mayor Katjana Ballantyne

(617) 625-6600 x2100, 49 Russell Road, Somerville MA, 02144

Visit the City of Somerville website Mayor's Office page for more information about the mayor.

Matthew McLaughlin, President, Somerville City Council

(617) 999-0924, 28 Mt. Vernon St. #2, Somerville MA 02145, mattforward1@gmail.com  

Superintendent Mary E. Skipper, Secretary to the School Committee

(617) 629-5200, 8 Bonair St, Somerville MA 02145, mskipper@k12.somerville.ma.us

Mary Skipper joined the Somerville Public Schools as Superintendent in July of 2015. She joined the district in July of 2015 following an outstanding career at Boston Public Schools, and has made her mark in Somerville as an innovative and visionary thinker, a passionate advocate for all youth, and a strategic systems builder whose approach includes leveraging community resources to support students.

Under her tenure, Somerville has emerged as a leader in the use of data to inform continuous progress and to ensure a student-centered approach to teaching and learning. Her innovative approach to ensuring the support of the whole child has led to the development of “game-changing” resources, such as the district’s home-grown Student Insights data system which provides teachers with centralized student data and near real-time information of how students are doing and the supports and interventions students need to be successful in their classrooms. Superintendent Skipper’s commitment to equity of access and opportunity, coupled with her dedication to providing students with rich outside learning experiences has led to new and stronger partnerships that enhance the student learning experience outside the school day and the school walls. Under her guidance, Somerville has become known as a forward-thinking district that consistently ranks among the top urban districts in overall student growth, and a district that has seen a declining drop-out rate to a current all-time low of 1.2 at Somerville High School, along with an increasing four-year graduation rate to an all-time high of 87.9%.

Before coming to Somerville, Superintendent Skipper was Network Superintendent of High Schools for BPS, where she oversaw 34 high schools serving approximately 19,500 students. During her time as Network Superintendent, Boston High Schools achieved the lowest drop-out and the highest graduation rates in BPS history. Among her most notable accomplishments while at BPS, Superintendent Skipper helped launch TechBoston Academy (TBA) as the founding Headmaster in 2002. Under her leadership, TBA grew from a 9-12 high school serving 75 students, to a 6-12 school with a staff of more than 100 serving a diverse student population of more than 1,000, 30% of which were English Language Learners and 25% of which were Special Education students.

Superintendent Skipper holds a Bachelor's in English and Latin from Tufts University. She earned a Master's in Education Policy from Harvard and a Master's in Urban Education Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.

Superintendent Skipper and her husband Peter, a retired BC High School teacher, have three children:  Kassie, a teacher in Denver Public Schools; Lani, who works in agricultural policy at the Vermont School of Law; and Peter, who works as a consultant at Deloitte in Washington, D.C. She is also the very proud grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren under the age of 2, Adela and Zana.