Polino narrowly earns final spot on Committee

In a close vote, the School Committee and the Town Council elected Melissa Polino to fill the vacant seat on the School Committee at a joint meeting Tuesday night at the Cummings School.

Polino received eight votes to edge Karen Chavis, who received six votes. School Committee Todd Sacco cast his ballot for Polino while seven Council members, President Jeffrey Turco, Vice President Linda Calla, and Councilors Philip Boncore Paul Varrone, Nicholas DelVento, Larry Powers, and Russell Sanford also voted for Polino.

School Committee Chairwoman Mary Lou Osborne and members Mark Rotondo (who was elected at a joint meeting on July 6), Brian Perrin, and William Holden voted for Chavis while Councilors James Letterie and Jeanne Maggio also voted for Chavis.

Polino won the election in the second round of voting. Rotondo, Varrone, and Powers had voted for candidate Michael Power (3) in the first round, with the top two vote getters, Polino (6) and Chavis (5) advancing to the second round.

When Varrone and Powers switched their votes from Power to Polino on the second ballot, it gave the 28-year-old Winthrop resident the majority she needed for election to the committee.

“It’s exciting to be a new member of the School Committee,” said Polino, who works in education as a private tutor and has previously taught in the Chelsea school system.

Polino is pursuing her Master’s Degree at Salem State College, having received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from SSC in 2004. She also attended Northeast Regional in Wakefield.

A resident of Winthrop since 2003, she has been married to James Polino for four years. They have a son, Domenic.

Polino becomes the youngest member of the School Committee. “I hope to bring some new energy and ideas,” said Polino. “I really just want to see our students performing at their ability level.”

Polino will take her seat on the Committee at the meeting tonight (Thursday).

Turco congratulated Polino after Tuesday’s vote. “I think the town of Winthrop should be grateful to the three candidates who stepped up and put their names into the arena,” said Turco. “It was obviously a very closely contested race and that’s a reflection on the quality of the candidates. For me, I met with Melissa Polino and I was impressed with her commitment, her involvement in education, and the fact that she’s a mother of a young child and has a long-range commitment to the school district. We’ll benefit as a district and as a community because of her leadership on the committee.”

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