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Sarah Nichols to join Braintree School Committee

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 15, 2013 03:22 PM

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Sarah Nichols was named to the Braintree School Committee in a vote taken by the board on Monday night.

Nichols was one of six applicants for the seat after the board’s youngest member, 22-year-old Joseph Zarella, resigned in the beginning of January.

“I am thrilled,” said School Committee Chairwoman Shannon Hume. “I think it was great to see six people come out and show some interest. I was very impressed that six candidates put their hat in the ring. They all brought a wide variety of experience, and any would have been great for the job.”

Three applicants, including Nichols, even came with an education background.

“We don’t have anybody on the committee with a background in education, so that interested me, and it happened to work out that this candidate has an extensive [background] in education,” Hume said.

Nichols said she was pleasently surprised to have been selected, especially considering the qualifications of her peers.

Although she doesn't have a set agenda in place, Nichols said she's looking forward to listening to the issues and having thoughtful conversations about them.

"I really just want to do what's best for Braintree," she said in a phone interview. "One of the reasons we moved here over the summer…we had talked to a lot of people and everyone was in love with the school district. They have had a superintendent in place for a long time and I like the direction, I hope to help maintain the positive environment that the Braintree schools have created."

According to her resume, the 2010 graduate from Harvard's School of Education has worked as a social studies consultant for the Hartford Public Schools since graduating.

From 2005 through 2010, she was a history teacher at Rockland High School, where she worked on a strategic planning team to rewrite the mission and vision statement of the district, took part in numerous professional development opportunities, and was a coach for volleyball programs.

Nichols additionally has a Master's in Social Studies Education from SUNY Albany, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Siena College.

The Braintree resident will take a School Committee seat that has switched hands three times in the last term.

In 2011, Kelly Foley won the seat, but turned it down after the election for personal reasons. Zarella, who had previously held the seat since 2009 when the seat was vacated by Sean Powers, stepped in to fill the void.

Zarella, a senior Political Science major at Bridgewater State University, left to finish his final semester at a school in Washington D.C.

Nichols will be sworn in to the seat sometime in the next few weeks.

Hume said she expects Nichols to be an active member by the committee's Feb. 25 meeting.

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