JP's Claudio Martinez stepped down from the School Committee, but another neighborhood Latino leader has taken his place. The city announced Wednesday that Miren Uriarte of UMass Boston will join the board that runs Boston Public Schools.
“I’m a mom with a son who graduated from BPS, a longtime member of Boston’s Latino community, and a researcher who has focused on issues faced by English language learners,” Uriarte said in a statement. “I believe in using data and evidence to make informed decisions about policy development. I’m looking forward to bringing these experiences to the School Committee, and working with a great team.”
Cuban-born Uriarte researches how educational policies help — or hinder — Latinos and students learning English.
Mayor Marty Walsh, who made the appointment, said her perspective will help the city close a still-tenacious "achievement gap" among ethnic groups.
“Today, Latino students are the largest racial ethnic group enrolled in the Boston Public Schools, and a recent BPS study showed that the achievement gap, especially for young Latino males persists in Boston,” Walsh said in a statement. “Ms. Uriarte has spent decades in Boston’s Latino community, and has the firsthand knowledge about what policies and investments can be made to make headway on this issue."
Among her achievements, Uriarte was founding director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at UMass Boston
According to the city, Uriarte holds a PhD in Sociology from Boston University, a Master's of Social Work from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, and a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology from the University of Florida. She immigrated to the United States with her family in 1961 and has lived in Boston since 1973, the city said in a press release.
Martinez, executive director of Hyde Square Task Force, wrote in a resignation e-mail that "I need to refocus my time and energy on personal matters that require my attention." (hat-tip to Universal Hub for the document.)
Hyde Square Task Force is ramping up a huge fundraising and renovation effort to transform the former Blessed Sacrament Church into a community center.
Martinez said among the highlights of his time on the school board was his work on the English Language Learners Task Force.