BTU Unafraid Educators Help Undocumented Students Thru Workshops, Scholarships and More

A group of Jamaica Plain educators are part of an organization that is fighting for the rights of undocumented Boston Public School students. Jamaica Plain residents Adriana Costache and Maya Taft-Morales have been working with BTU Unafraid Educators for more than two years, or as Maya Taft-Morales described it -- since Trump was elected. Both fielded questions about their involvement in the organization. Q: What school do you teach in, and what do you teach? Costache: I teach math and science to English learners at Fenway High School.


JP’s Robert Santiago is Boston’s First Puerto Rican, LGBTQ Veterans Commissioner

Boston's new Commissioner of Veterans’ Services will be the first-ever Puerto Rican to hold the position, as well as the first LGBTQ person, and he's a Jamaica Plain resident. "I am grateful to Mayor Walsh for this opportunity to serve the veterans of Boston," said Robert Santiago. "I remain dedicated to promoting the Mayor’s agenda to serving all veterans no matter the zip code, status, or orientation.”

Santiago started working for the city as the deputy commissioner at the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Services in 2016. Before working for the city, Santiago served 20 years in the military, including duty on four warships, with overseas tours in Belgium, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Japan. Santiago was in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Eastern Exit, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.


Jamaica Plain Resident Named Boston’s First-Ever Chief Information Security Officer

Jamaica Plain's Gregory McCarthy was recently named Boston's first-ever Chief Information Security Officer, and will lead the city's cybersecurity team. "I'm proud to welcome Gregory to a leadership position in our Department of Innovation and Technology, which works to utilize technology in the best and smartest ways possible to make residents lives better," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh via press release. McCarthy's appointment elevates his previous role to protect Boston's technology platforms and data from from cyber threats. Since joining the city's cybersecurity team in 2010, McCarthy has managed the implementation of numerous information security solutions and helped develop Boston's first Cybersecurity Awareness Program for employees. In his new role, McCarthy will continue to lead efforts to strengthen the cybersecurity capabilities across Boston and further the team's mission through modernizing technology, partnerships, and regular training. "Cybersecurity is something we clearly have to take seriously, and there are always new challenges ahead; a humbling reminder that our work in this field is never done," said McCarthy via press release.


Jamaica Plain’s Planeta Appointed to Nonprofit United South End Settlements’ Board of Directors

United South End Settlements (USES) recently announced five new board members, including a Jamaica Plain resident, who will join USES’s 20-member board of directors starting in March. The new board members are leaders in social work, nonprofits, education, diversity, inclusion, finance and design. The five new board members are:

Professor of Practice and Director of Urban Leadership Program at Simmons University Gary Bailey
Director of Diversity Recruiting and Advising at IES Abroad Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Investment Analyst at Finepoint Capital Kevin Koslosky
Executive Director at Parenting Journey Imari Paris Jeffries
Owner/Principal at Planeta Design Group LLC Patrick Planeta

Jamaica Plain resident Patrick Planeta is a Boston based interior designer, well known for his work in innovative design solutions that implement client vision and desire. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree, Planeta became a standout Senior Associate/Senior Designer at CBT Architects where he worked prior to and following graduation. After much recognition for his dedication to his work at CBT Architects for 12 years, he founded his own company, Planeta Design Group LLC.


Jamaica Plain’s Christine Poff Wins Landscape Design Council Award

The Landscape Design Council (LDC) of Massachusetts has recognized Jamaica Plain's Christine Poff, the director of Boston's Community Preservation Committee, as a 2018 awardee for excellence in the field of landscape design. Poff is the 2018 recipient of the Landscape Design Council Award for Excellence, given in recognition of outstanding civic accomplishment. “Throughout her career, Christine has worked in many ways to make life better for citizens,” said LDC chairman George Papavasiliou, via press release. “We particularly applaud her efforts on behalf of Boston’s Franklin Park and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, which stand out as supportive of the Landscape Design Council’s mission.”

As political director of the National Association of Social Workers, Poff advocated for economic and social justice bills at the Massachusetts State House, but she is likely better known for her 14 years’ service as executive director of the Franklin Park Coalition, a nonprofit organization that gives a community voice to Boston’s Franklin Park. She worked to bring back such beloved park institutions as the Elma Lewis Playhouse, the FPC Youth Crew, and the annual Kite and Bike Festival.