CEO of Opportunity Communities Ann Houston (former CEO of TND), Joe Rettman of NEI Interiors Construction, and Rafael Mares, executive director of TND, during the Nov. 13 40th anniversary Raising the Roof fundraiser for TND. The power-packed event took place at the Mystic Brewery in Chelsea and marked the organization’s 40th birthday.
The Neighborhood Developers (TND) announced this week in a release ahead of its 40th Anniversary celebration that long-time Executive Director Ann Houston will be departing to become the new CEO of a new, merged community development corporation.
“TND will honor outgoing Executive Director Ann Houston as she takes on the new role of CEO of Opportunity Communities, where she will continue to provide leadership and vision to TND through this exciting new partnership,” read the announcement.
Houston was not immediately available for comment on the move.
TND declined to comment on the matter as well this week.
The announcement indicated Houston would be the new CEO of Opportunity Communities.
That new collaboration is with Roxbury’s Nuestra Communidad Community Development Corporation (CDC), a partnership between that organization and TND that launched in April.
“In April 2018, we launched a company for back office operations known as Opportunity Communities (OppCo) with a sister organization, The Neighbor Developers (TND), based in Chelsea,” read the website for the new partnership. “This is our newest partnership, designed to achieve better results for the Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods we serve. There is no change to Nuestra’s board, staff, leadership, mission, office, programs, projects, agreements, relationships and commitments to neighbors and local stakeholders.
“This new company allows Nuestra and TND to combine our back office operations and staff,” it continued. “By centralizing our accounting, purchasing, data collection, HR, IT and other management functions, Nuestra can most efficiently deliver high-quality, effective services and programs for Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan.”
Houston has been the face of TND since it planted its flag in the Box District many years ago and built out several blocks of what used to be derelict industrial properties. Using a formula of creating civic awareness in a mixed-income development of subsidized and market-rate housing, TND created a successful model in the Box District.
Since that time, they have developed other properties in Chelsea, including the old American Legion Post that houses homeless veterans in supportive housing. They are currently developing the old French Club into affordable housing.
In year’s past, TND moved into Revere to develop affordable and senior housing there. It has just expanded to Everett, where a proposal is on the table for a large senior housing development there on the former site of St. Therese’s Church campus.
Chelsea has a new leader for what will be a new school, as current Chelsea High Assistant Principal Ron Schmidt has been tapped to lead the new Chelsea Opportunity Academy, which starts on July 1.
Supt. Mary Bourque announced the hire this week, soon after she announced the organization of the Opportunity Academy, which is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation.
“A new school, needs a new principal,” she wrote. “It is therefore, with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Chelsea High School’s Assistant Principal, Mr. Ronald Schmidt, to Principal of the Chelsea Opportunity Academy, effective July 1, 2018. The appointment of Mr. Schmidt to Principal of COA was an easy one to make as a Superintendent. Mr. Schmidt’s education as well as his deep career experience has prepared him to run his own school – a different type of school. He is committed to students in need of a different high school experience to be successful… Mr. Schmidt was hired as Assistant Principal of Chelsea High School in 2003 and has served the students and families of Chelsea with all of his energy and heart.”
The Barr Foundation awarded Chelsea Schools the ‘Engage New England: Doing High School Differently’ grant to purposefully implement the Opportunity Academy in the 2018-2019 school year. It will be the district’s 10th school and second high school.
The Opportunity Academy will be a school within a school model, so it will be located on the campus of Chelsea High School.
The design of the school is to serve students who are overage, under-credited, and who are struggling with the traditional American high school experience.
It will provide students with flexible scheduling, blended learning, and individualized support in order that students make continual progress towards earning a high school diploma.
“Mr. Schmidt is the only one I want to lead this high school, so great is my faith and confidence in him,” wrote Bourque.
Former City Council President Paul Nowicki said officially this week that he will be submitting an application by the March 31 deadline to be considered for the city manager position.
“Absolutely,” he said on Monday. “As a life-long resident who still lives in Chelsea and a long-time public official here, I am very interested and excited about the opportunity and the process. I will be putting in an application for city manager of Chelsea by the March 31 deadline.”
Nowicki said he has always felt he would like to be the city manager of his hometown, and knew that he would be a part of the process once former City Manager Jay Ash announced he would leave late last year.
“It’s the opportunity that’s so exciting,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always thought about. Opportunity is everything and this is a special opportunity to give back to a community that my family has been part of since the early 1900s. I’m very excited and pumped up for the chance to participate in the process.”
Nowicki currently works at the Chelsea Housing Authority as a community engagement specialist, and has been there since 2011.
He served 16 years on the City Council, with four terms as Council President.
He was also a court officer for several years as well.
He noted that he has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.