A longtime educator who helped guide New York City schools through the pandemic will become the newest member of Boston’s School Committee, Mayor Michelle Wu said Wednesday, announcing the appointment of Brandon Cardet-Hernandez to the role.
Cardet-Hernandez, who served as special education adviser to former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during the COVID-19 crisis, joins the school committee in a moment of potential transformation, after the city’s voters overwhelmingly supported a shift to an elected school board at the polls in November.
“Brandon is a lifelong advocate for students and brings a diverse range of experiences to the committee,” Wu said in a statement. “His dedication to equity in the classroom and beyond has rooted his work as an organizer, an educator, and policy-maker.”
Cardet-Hernandez is currently the executive director of The Ivy Street School, a private, therapeutic Brookline program serving students with autism, anxiety, ADHD, and other learning disorders, a position he accepted in November 2020. Previously, as an adviser to the New York mayor, he played a key role in managing the emergency response to COVID-19 in the city’s public schools.
“Throughout my career, I have worked to strengthen and build the conditions that allow our young people — particularly those who are most vulnerable — to thrive,” Cardet-Hernandez said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring my experiences in the classroom and in education policy to support our Boston Public School students, families, and educators.”
It was Wu’s fourth school committee appointment since her election as mayor in November, an election that also advanced a move to reduce or eliminate appointees from the board.
Following long debate about the committee’s structure — it is the only non-elected school board in the state — Boston voters approved a ballot question last fall calling for its members to be elected, not appointed by the mayor. Passed with more than 78 percent of the vote, the measure is not legally binding, but its passage prompted city councilors to take initial steps to consider the change.
Mayor Wu has said she supports a hybrid structure, with some members elected and others appointed.
The newest committee member, who lives in South Boston with his husband and 4-year-old-son, has also previously worked as a community organizer, college and career counselor, and special education teacher. He was principal at The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a public school in New York City, before becoming an adviser to de Blasio.
Earlier this month, Wu named Stephen D. Alkins Jr. to a four-year term on the school committee; Alkins is the diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at TERC, a Cambridge-based nonprofit research group working to improve math and science education. He is a cellular neuroscientist as well as a spoken word poet, according to his profile on TERC’s website.
In November, the mayor re-appointed Lorena Lopera and Rafaela Polanco García to serve the remainder of their School Committee terms, which end in 2024. Ernani DeAraujo, appointed to the board by Mayor Marty Walsh a year ago, has not been reappointed.
Honored to appoint @BrandonCardet to the @BostonSchools Committee. He’s spent his career fighting for equity in schools as a community organizer, special education teacher, principal & policy advocate. Thank you for stepping up to serve BPS families! pic.twitter.com/MuQF3iP1jq— Mayor Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@MayorWu) January 26, 2022