By Kate Anslinger
From an early age, School Committee Chairman Valentino Capobianco was passionate about politics. As a 2007 Winthrop High graduate, he served as the class president and has been eager to become a member of the School Committee from the time he was in his first year of college at Suffolk University. Due to time constraints, Capobianco put off his drive to become a committee member to focus on his degree in American Government and political science.
In 2011 he was armed with an education that would help put his desire to work in community organizing and public service into action. As the youngest School Committee member in recent history, Capobianco was 26 years old when he was elected in 2015 and has been dedicating his time to giving back to the community.
“I’m very fortunate to have had a great education here in Winthrop, and I feel like I should give back to the community that has given me so much,” said Capobianco, who has a lot that he wants to focus on as the newly elected chair of the committee.
Capobianco has been vocal about his desire to make drug and alcohol education more of a focus in the district, and he plans to collaborate with the police department, town manager and fire department, and newly elected Town Council President Ron Vecchia to make sure students have the tools they need to make healthy decisions. He has also opened up communication with the Revere School Committee Chair Carol Tye, and is hoping to create a regular conversation regarding topics that affect the students beyond Winthrop and throughout the greater area.
Knowing that education is necessary in order to grow, Capobianco has been attending meetings and conferences with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) under the direction of Executive Director Glenn Koocher. Along with ongoing professional development, the MASC focuses on topics that are at the forefront of today’s schools including social media safety tips, bullying, budget knowledge and drug and alcohol education.
The continuously rising MCAS scores is on Capobianco’s list of tasks to focus on and he hopes to see these scores lift even more, by driving professional development and working with the principals. He also plans to negotiate a teacher contract and superintendent contract that is agreed upon by both the Winthrop Teachers Association (WTA) and the school system.
“I’m impressed by (interim Superintendent of Schools) Lisa Howard’s work in the district and I’d like to see her as the superintendent going forward,” he said. “I’m happy with the decision we made to hire her as the interim.”
In addition to his position as the School Committee chair, Capobianco has been an elected member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee since 2008, and he was a played a key role in organizing the Boston Women’s March last January. Immersing himself in the world of politics, he currently works as the communications director for State Sen. Paul Feeney in the Bristol and Norfolk senate district.