Cristiano to lead School Committee
In a razor-thin 6-5 vote, Councillor-at-Large John Hanlon was elected to lead the City Council through 2022.
“John has great organizational skills, which we need to get back to,” said Councillor-at-Large Michael Marchese during the council’s January 3 meeting, adding that Hanlon will bring credibility back to the council. “We have new members here and they should be introduced to a very organized council.”
Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins was also a top contender for the presidency with five votes. “She’s a doer, putting people before politics,” said Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro. “She’ll bring youth and energy to the post.”
Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Matewsky nominated Ward 4 Councillor Jimmy Tri Le. “He’s honest – he’s decent,” said Matewsky.
He also lauded Le’s herculean effort to retain his post in Ward 4. “Jimmy Tri Le was a one-man wrecking crew,” said Matewsky, adding that he thwarted challenges from Benjamin Murray and Holly Garcia. “I have never seen anyone work so hard to get reelected. I’ve served with over 100 different people, and he stands out.”
The results from the initial poll to select a president showed Martins with five votes, Hanlon with four votes and Le with two votes. However, a six-vote majority was needed to win the president’s seat. Therefore, a second vote between Hanlon and Martins was necessary.
Following the final vote, Hanlon thanked his colleagues for putting their confidence in him. “I promise you a year of new and exciting ideas,” he said.
Hanlon has more than four decades of experience as a public official. During that time, he served two years as mayor, 18 years as the city clerk and 22 years on the Board of Aldermen.
The School Committee vote was much different as Ward 3 Member Jeanne Cristiano was the unanimous choice for chairwoman while Ward 6 Member Michael McLaughlin was unanimously voted as vice chairman.
“It’s truly an honor for me,” said Cristiano. “I promise that we’ll do the right thing on this School Committee. There’s been some concerns, but there’s a lot to be proud of.”
She urged her colleagues to remember the residents who voted to elect them. “They should form our blueprint,” said Cristiano.
Looking ahead, Cristiano said her top priorities will include improving security, reducing class sizes and conducting a review of the administrative staff. “We’ve witnessed significant growth in the number of administrators and there’s been some concern,” said Cristiano. She said academic performance will be another focus given the district’s lackluster MCAS scores.
“We need to make sure that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely,” she said. “We’re going to meet every challenge that comes before us. Failure is not an option.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he has known Cristiano for the past 30 years and that she has done an “impeccable job” as the city’s Veterans Services director. “I’m proud to cast my vote for Jeanne,” he said.
McLaughlin said that after serving a number of years on the City Council, the time had come for him to make the switch to the School Committee. He also spoke about the importance of providing every student with a quality education. “I didn’t go to college, but I did okay in life because I had an education from Everett,” he said.
In addition to her role as the director of Veterans Services, Cristiano previously served on the Board of Aldermen and was the director of District Relations under State Senator Jarrett Barrios. She was also the special assistant to the president of GLADD and the special assistant to the president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.