Mayor Wu reappoints LoPera and Garcia to School Committee


BOSTON – Tuesday, November 30, 2021- Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the reappointments of Lorena Lopera and Rafaela Polanco García to the Boston School Committee, to serve the remainder of terms that end on January 1, 2024. Lopera is a Boston Public Schools (BPS) parent, Executive Director of Latinos for Education and current Boston School Committee member. Polanco García is also a BPS parent and current Boston School Committee member and serves as Director of Parent Engagement and Organizing at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs. On July 22, 2021, former Mayor Kim Janey appointed Lopera and Polanco García to the Boston School Committee, whose terms were coterminous with Mayor Janey’s tenure. The Boston School Committee is the governing body of BPS.

“Lorena Lopera and Rafaela Polanco García have served with dedication and urgency to ensure Boston Public Schools is connected to each one of our families,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I am excited and grateful to reappoint these passionate community leaders who have consistently advocated for equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our school system. They both will continue to work to support families, educators, and community members and advocate for the high-quality education our students deserve.”

East Boston news Boston School Committee
November 29, 2021- Mayor Michelle Wu swears in Lorena Lopera and Fafaela Polanco to the Boston School Committee as reappointments to serve the remainder of the term that ends January 1, 2021. (Mayor’s Office Photo by Isabel Leon)

“I am excited to continue working with Ms. Lopera and Ms. Polanco García on our important work together as a School Committee,” said Boston School Committee Chair Jeri Robinson. “They have each added great depth to our conversations as a Committee and I look forward to their continued engagement as we advance important policy issues with a deepened focus on family and community engagement where both Ms. Lopera and Ms. Polanco García have earned reputations for excellence in their fields.”

“I am honored to continue working in partnership with Ms. Lopera and Ms. Polanco García on behalf of our Boston Public Schools children,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “Working together with Mayor Wu and the entire Boston School Committee, we will continue taking bold action with urgency so that every student is set up to succeed in school and life.”

Lorena Lopera is a first generation immigrant from Colombia. She serves as Executive Director at Latinos for Education, New England, the first Latino-founded and led national organization dedicated solely to creating leadership pathways for Latinos in education. She is a veteran of local organizations focused on expanding educational access for Latinx youth and students of color, including Roxbury-based Sociedad Latina, Epiphany School, and La Vida, Inc., as well as national organizations such as BES, City Year the Posse Foundation. She currently serves on the board of EdVestors. Lorena is a proud BPS parent.

“Thank you, Mayor Wu,” said Lopera. “I’m honored to continue to serve on the Boston School Committee. My educational experience and my experience as a Boston Public Schools parent will continue to guide my decisions on the committee. I look forward to working with families, educators and community members so that our school system is more equitable, responsive, and provides quality support for all of our children.”

Rafaela Polanco García is an immigrant who lives in public housing in South Boston and has a background in law and bilingual advocacy. Her activism on behalf of the Latinx community in education includes working on the No on 2 campaign in 2016, helping to pass a sanctuary schools resolution, and passing the Student Opportunity Act. Since 2015, she has served as the Director of Parent Engagement and Organizing at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs in the South End. She is a BPS parent.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to continue representing immigrants and English language learners,” said Polanco García. “Thank you to Mayor Michelle Wu for having this inclusive vision, reappointing me to this important position as a member of the Boston School Committee. I hope to continue promoting language access and to represent my community with dignity.”

The School Committee is responsible for:

Defining the vision, mission, and goals of the Boston Public Schools;
Establishing and monitoring the annual operating budget;
Hiring, managing, and evaluating the Superintendent; and
Setting and reviewing district policies and practices to support student achievement.

The School Committee meets approximately twice per month during the school year to adopt, review and modify policies and practices that support teaching, learning and improved student achievement. With the exception of executive sessions, Committee meetings are open to the public, feature public comment periods and are broadcast on Boston City TV.

Related: Pioneer institute’s Open Letter on Education