Northeast Voke Invited into MSBA’s Feasibility Study Phase for New Building Project

Superintendent David DiBarri is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) invited Northeast Metro Tech to participate in a feasibility study for its new building project.

Northeast Metro is operating out of a more than 50-year-old building that requires educational, capital and maintenance improvements.

The MSBA – a state agency that works with communities to support educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities –= invited Northeast into the feasibility study phase to explore potential solutions to identified problems.

During the feasibility study phase, Northeast and the MSBA will determine a project manager and designer to conduct a study of the current building. Once the study is completed, Northeast will then apply to the MSBA’s building project reimbursement grant program.

“We’re thrilled to have been invited by the MSBA into the feasibility study phase for our building project,” Superintendent DiBarri said. “Our hope is that we will be able to construct a new building that will better meet the demands of 21st Century learning.”

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Finalists Superintendent Search Committee Forwards Three Names for Consideration

The Chelsea School Committee announced this week the Superintendent Search Screening Committee (Screening Committee) has forwarded the names of three finalists for the Superintendent of Schools vacancy for consideration.

After the application deadline of March 15, 2019, eighteen applications were forwarded to the Screening Committee and on March 25, after a thorough review of the written application materials, the Screening Committee met and engaged in an extended discussion of each candidate, ultimately reaching consensus to invite seven candidates in for an interview. All candidates accepted the invitation and were interviewed during the evenings of April 1, 2 and 3.

The 13 members of the Screening Committee reached unanimous agreement and forwarded the following three educators for consideration as the next superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools (in last name alphabetical order).

•Almudena (Almi) G. Abeyta

Dr. Almi Abeyta is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Somerville Public Schools. She was a kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico for seven years and was the Principal of the Donald McKay K-8 School in East Boston for four years prior to assuming a role as the Assistant Academic Superintendent for Middle and K-8 schools in the Boston Public Schools for two and a half years. Dr. Abeyta then served as the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in the Santa Fe New Mexico Public Schools for five years and in July 2017 she began her role as the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Somerville. Dr. Abeyta has a Bachelor of Arts, Communication, and Journalism from the University of New Mexico, two Master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in School Leadership and Education Policy and Management, and a Doctor of Education from HGSE in the Urban Superintendents Program.

•Ligia B. Noriega-Murphy

Ligia Noriega-Murphy is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools in the Boston Public Schools. Ms. Noriega-Murphy was a Spanish teacher for three years at the Donald McKay Middle School in Boston. She then was a founding faculty member and chair of the world languages department at the Boston Arts Academy for five years. In 2004 she became the Headmaster at Excel High School in South Boston and served in in that role for six years before becoming the Assistant Academic Superintendent for High Schools. In 2012 she was an Assistant Superintendent on Assignment as the Headmaster of The English High School in Boston, where she served for five years. Ms. Noriega-Murphy has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UMass Boston, a Master’s degree in Management from Cambridge College, and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Education Leadership from UMass Boston.

•Anthony A. Parker

Anthony Parker is currently the Principal at Weston High School, where he has served in that role for the past thirteen years. After several years as a journalist, Mr. Parker was a high school history teacher in the Newton Public Schools for 13 years (at Newton South and Newton North High Schools). From 2000-2006 he served as a Housemaster at Newton North High School, prior to his move to Weston. He also has been a Massachusetts Education Policy Fellow at the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy in Boston. Mr. Parker has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology-Anthropology from Earlham College, a Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has additional graduate studies at Boston College.

The school community will have the opportunity to meet these finalists when they visit Chelsea during the week of April 29 and to attend the School Committee interviews with the finalists during the week of May 6. The schedule of these district visits and School Committee interviews will be communicated when it is finalized.

The Chelsea School Committee said they would like to especially thank the members of the Screening Committee for their dedication and commitment to this search process.

The Screening Committee met on five different evenings to prepare, review,

interview, debate, deliberate and decide on the finalists presented to the Chelsea School Committee. Each member played a key role in ensuring that all individual members were listened to and their perspective considered. Those members were Jeanette Velez, Priti Johari, Monica Lamboy, Peter Pappavaselio, Margo DiBiasio, Anibal Santiago, Lisa Lineweaver, Tom Ambrosino, Louise Campanella, Kathryn Anderson, Ilana Ascher, Angelica Bachour, and Marisol Santiago.

The Screening Committee was assisted in this process by search consultants from the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

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Council, School Committee Seeks to Fill Vacancies Quickly

The Chelsea City Council and School Committee held a joint meeting on Tuesday night, April 9, to get a quick step forward on filling two vacancies on the School Committee.

Members Present included City Councilors Roy Avellaneda, Damali Vidot, Bob Bishop, Luis Tejada, Enio Lopez, Judith Garcia, and Yamir Rodriguez.

School Committee members present were Frank DePatto, Rosemarie Carlisle, Jeannette Velez, Rich Maronski, Lucia Henriquez, Ana Hernandez, Kelly Garcia, and Yessenia Alfaro.

Due to the recent resignations of School Committee Chairman Richard Maronski and Vice Chairman Julio Hernandez, the Chelsea City Council and Chelsea School Committee are looking to fill their seats.

“This is a job that should be taken seriously and hopefully we get someone that’s responsible and will show up,” said Maronski.

“It’s unfortunate that we have these two sudden resignations, but I’m hopeful as it has allowed for significant dialogue around expectations and the representation our families deserve,” said Council President Damali Vidot. “I am looking forward to working with the School Committee to fill the vacancies.”

Any residents of District 3 or District 5 that are interested in serving the remaining unexpired terms through December 2019, are asked to submit their resumes and letters of interest to City Council and Chelsea School Committee at: LKoco@Chelseama.gov or mail to City Council at 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150.

Candidates must be registered voters in their respective districts and must be able to pass a CORI. The Chelsea City Council and School Committee will be accepting resumes until Friday April 26, and will conduct interviews on Monday April 29. Anyone that lives in either District 3 or District 5 is encouraged to apply. If you aren’t sure of your district, please visit HYPERLINK “http://chelseama.gov” t “_blank” chelseama.gov under the City Clerk’s department for a map or call the City Clerks office at (617) 466-4050.

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School Committeeman Julio Hernandez Resigns

School Committeeman Julio Hernandez Resigns

By Adam Swift and Seth Daniel

In a sudden move, District 5 School Committee member Julio Hernandez has resigned – one of the City’s up-and-coming political figures that many thought had a big future on the Committee.

Hernandez, a Chelsea High graduate, told the Record this week that it was with a heavy heart that he resigned, and he felt it was necessary as he had to work more hours and attend college at the same time.

“When I ran for office, I had more support from my family,” he said. “As rent started getting higher, I knew that I needed more income, and while still being in college, I decided to look at other jobs.

“I loved working in the School Committee, but it also made me angry to see some members not show up to meetings, not ask questions, and not have thorough discussions regarding our students’ education,” he continued. “Student advocacy has always been my platform, to serve all students the right way. From starting the policy of an outdoor graduation, to having the opportunity to work with many teachers who really care about this community. I now believe School Committee Members should be appointed, because our student’s education is no joke.”

Hernandez, 20, said college, family and financial constraints hit all at once this year, and he couldn’t in good conscience serve on the Committee while not being able to show up.

“I know once I’m done with college, I’ll be back to serve the community I love and cherish,” he said. “I want to thank all the people who supported me, and are still supporting me in my time of sorrow.”

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Council President Damali Vidot said Hernandez had given notice to the City Clerk that he would be stepping down as of April.

Because his resignation is more than 180 days from a City Election, Vidot said the City Charter calls for a joint meeting of the Council and the School Committee within 30 days to appoint a replacement. That replacement would serve through the city election in November, when the position will be on the ballot.

“Julio was an incredible leader during his tenure,” said District 5 City Councillor Judith Garcia. “He did an incredible job while on the School Committee and was a great representative for District 5.”

Garcia encouraged anyone from District 5 who is interested to apply for the open seat.

However, Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda said the Council and the School Committee may want to leave the position open until the municipal election.

“I may have some reservations about filling the post,” said Avellaneda. “There’s only one more month until (candidates can) pull papers, and then the election is in November. I feel it may be best to leave the seat unfilled.”

Appointing someone to a short-term on the School Committee would give that person a leg up on other candidates who run for the seat in the general election, Avellaneda said.

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City to Get Mitigation from MassDot for Viaduct Project

City to Get Mitigation from MassDot for Viaduct Project

The City might have to put up with traffic backups for nearly three years on the Chelsea Viaduct, but there will be a mitigation package for the City when the dust all settles.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they have received a mitigation package to go along with the Viaduct project, which starts on April 1.

“We got what I thought was a reasonable mitigation package from MassDOT,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but at the end of the day it was reasonable.”

One of the major improvements will be two new, fully constructed public parking lots under the Tobin curves when the project is done.

Ambrosino said it will include 135 public parking spaces just a block from downtown Chelsea, something he hopes will help alleviate some of the parking crunch in the area.

There will also be parking constructed under the curves at Carter Street too.

One key piece of the puzzle that will remain as part of the package is the Arlington Street onramp by the Williams School. MassDOT had toyed with the idea of eliminating that ramp in early designs, but pushback from the community seemed to keep that idea at bay.

Other pieces of mitigation include:

•A robust snow fence for noise mitigation.

•Money for community engagement to inform everyone of the project over the three years.

•Repaving Fourth Street. •lighting improvements under the Bridge after the project is completed.

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Simon A Diamond on The Track Chelsea High Junior Star Heads to National Meet

Simon A Diamond on The Track Chelsea High Junior Star Heads to National Meet

At a certain point, it would be wise to just leave the Chelsea High record books in girls’ track blank until junior Stephanie Simon graduates.

Chelsea High junior Stephanie Simon is putting together another outstanding indoor track season this year, and will head to the National Championship meet in New York this weekend. When she’s not on the track, though, one might find her weaving in and out of the streets on her skateboard.

The champion jumper, runner and hurdler tends to break most school records, and then break her own records time and time again. At a certain point, her coaches say, they will probably fill it all in after she graduates.

Simon, 16, comes from a strong athletic family – and her sister, Martine – is the only runner to have ever beat her in a meet. Now, she has focused in on jumping events and has put together a string of wins during the indoor season this winter.

Recently, she took first place in the Division 2 state long jump, and took second place in the New England Championship meet. Earlier this year, at the multi-state Dartmouth Relays, she took first in the long jump and high jump.

This weekend, she will travel to New York City for the second year in a row to compete in the National Championship indoor meet.

But back in Chelsea, if you see a young lady cutting it up on a skateboard, that might be Stephanie Simon.

“When I’m not training or practicing, I like to ride a penny board,” she said. “I ride it everywhere, even to school. I think that’s why I can jump. I think that’s something every jumper has to have to be successful and that is being able to take a risk. You have to be willing to take a risk to throw yourself in a pit of sand or give it everything you have to flop up and over the high jump bar. It’s the adrenaline I like.”

Simon was born in Chelsea to Hubert and Mathilde Simon, who originally came from Haiti. Her older brother, Norbert, was also a track standout, as was her sister, Martine, who graduated last year. She said her younger brother, Emanuel, has potential in the 200 sprint.

She attended the Early Learning Center, the Berkowitz School, the Clark Avenue Middle School and has settled in at Chelsea High – where she keeps a 3.4 grade point average and is active in academics.

But her cool demeanor likely comes from having to contain herself on the track. Unlike with the sprints – where she also has great success within the conference meets – she said she has learned that a jumper (whether high jump, long jump or triple jump) needs to stay in control.

“Adrenaline is good for running, but for jumping you have to kind of put it in a bottle and use it to motivate you and counter it with technique,” she said. “For jumping and sprints, unlike distance running, it’s half mental and half physical.”

It will be a very important quality when she arrives at the New York City Armory this weekend with her coach, Cesar Hernandez. Last year was her first indoor national meet, and she said it was overwhelming.

“Last year, stepping into that building was so overwhelming,” she said, noting that there hasn’t been another Chelsea runner since Bobby Goss decades ago to go to nationals. “Every runner there was working hard and wanted to win. I didn’t do so well, but it made me even more determined to do better at the national outdoor meet in North Carolina last spring and I did.”

When she went to the Dartmouth Relays earlier this year, she said that same New York feeling came upon her, but she was able to shake it off, which is something she said she will do when she goes back to New York this week.

“I told myself it’s the same events and the same sand,” she said. “I was able to recover and move on.”

Amazingly, Simon was never a runner until she got to high school, unlike many top runners who have been at it since grade school.

“My freshman year I didn’t even run that first season,” she said. “I liked soccer. I was able to make varsity my freshman year. In the winter, I played basketball. Then I did outdoor track and I was really good at it. In track, there was so much support and it was like a big family. My freshman year I was trying to figure everything out. Everyone kept telling me I had more potential in track. I listened to them and I’m glad I stayed.”

Simon credited Coach Hernandez with helping her take bigger and bigger steps as a runner and, especially, as a jumper. As a raw athlete, she had talent, but she said Hernandez helped her to develop technique and pushed her not to just rely on athleticism.

“If he wasn’t my coach, I would not be doing what I’m doing,” she said. “He fits the kind of coach I need.”

She also credited her teammates for being a great support system.

She also credited her family, who she said has been very proud of her academically and in sports.

“In our family, everyone has their thing they are best at,” she said. “I guarantee I win at track.”

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Clark Avenue Middle to be Named After Legendary Morrie Siegel

Clark Avenue Middle to be Named After Legendary Morrie Siegel

By Seth Daniel and Laura Plummer

The City Council and the School Committee have voted to name the new Clark Avenue Middle School after long-time School Committeeman and former Williams School Principal Morris ‘Morrie’ Seigel.

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the matter was brought up for a vote on a request forwarded from the School Committee – who had voted to approve the move.

The late Morrie Seigel pictured here in May 2013 when he served as the Chief Marshal of the Memorial Day Girl Scout Parade. The new Clark Avenue Middle School has been named after him.

The Council voted unanimously on the proposal by City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to dedicate the Clark Avenue Middle School to the late educator and community member. It will now be known as the Morris H. Seigel Clark Avenue Middle School.

City Council members spoke fondly about Seigal.

“Mr. Seigal was not only a wonderful person for the city of Chelsea, he was a great gentleman,” said Councilman Calvin Brown. “When he wasn’t in his professional attire, he had his Chelsea jacket on, his Chelsea hat on, displaying his pride.”

Said Councillor Giovanni Recupero, “There’s only one [way] to describe Mr. Seigal–great person. If anyone deserves this, it’s Mr. Seigal. He was the teacher of my kids for many years. For 40 years, I knew the gentleman and he was a very nice person.”

Seigel was an educator in the City and served as the principal of the Williams School. He was a School Committeeman for 29 years, and a youth leader at the Chelsea YMHA.

In 2013, as a noted veteran, he was the Chief Marshal of the Memorial Day Girl Scout Parade.

He passed away in October 2013.

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Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi Continues Family Tradition

Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi Continues Family Tradition

When it comes to dentistry it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree and Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi, DMD is living proof.

Sure he could have become an environmentalist, he graduated from Bates College with a degree in environmental science and economics, but it was the influence of his father John, also a dentist, and grandfather Leo, a physician in Revere, who steered him toward dentistry and to being a 2009 graduate of the Tufts Dental School.

“I think it’s in our family history. I always had it in me with my father being a dentist,” Benecchi said from his office at 140 School St. He loves dentistry from the hands-on nitty gritty parts of the business to the patient interaction. His father John graduated in 1976 from Tufts Dental School and started his practice a couple years later

Today Jeffrey runs the practice by himself since his father retired at the end of last year. He has 10 employees. Most who also had worked for his father.

“He’s still says hi to everyone,” Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey has always liked working with his hands and he felt dentistry was a natural fit. He liked being around the patients and see what his father was working on. Not the corporate model of dentistry but a hands-on approach.

“I still like that personal touch,” he added.

“It’s been a good job to help people and be able to see things done with the artistry of dentistry,” Jeffrey said. “I like everything there is to do with dentistry.”

The Benecchi dental practice specializes in general dentistry for everyone from children to the elderly.

“Basically we offer what a lot of people need to have done.” Jeffrey said.

Keeping up with the latest technology, Dr. Benecchi uses digital scanners to avoid goopy mouth molds for dental impressions.

There are also digital x-rays and cameras now that they use when working with a local laboratory for caps and crowns.

He noted that he will also be having a couple of associates added to the practice to help with an increasing patient load.

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