As a parent of two PSB 5th graders, former co-chair of the Driscoll PTO, a Board Member of Brookline’s Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, a civil rights attorney, and a progressive activist, here are what my priorities will be as your school committee member:
1) Manage the COVID-19 Recovery with Progressive, Smart Budget Management: This pandemic has devastated Brookline's revenues, including threatening reductions in education programs and in student support. As executive director of a non-profit, I manage a $47 million dollar budget, and I know that budgets are a values statement. I will work to give students what they need to succeed, and invest in our future.
2) Center Student Voices, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Our Schools: Students can't learn unless they feel safe and supported in our classrooms. But right now, we need to listen to what our students are telling us: so many of them -- especially those who identify as part of the Asian American, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ communities -- are confronting daily traumas. I was President of one of the largest LGBTQIA+ organizations in Massachusetts and have spent years fighting for marginalized communities, naming and addressing the devastating impacts of systemic racism, hate, and discrimination. I will be a relentless ally and advocate for our students and for schools that are diverse, equitable, inclusive, safe spaces for learning.
3) Expand Mental Health Care: This is personal for me. Like every parent in Brookline, I've seen the enormous mental health toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our students, including my own children. It's heartbreaking. As a survivor and someone who has spent years working to expand mental health and advocacy, I know our students need an unprecedented level of support, resources, and mental health professionals to confront an unprecedented crisis.
4) Enhance Special Education Services: As the parent of two children on IEPs and a SEPAC board member, I support inclusion to the maximum extent feasible, co-teaching, and student-centered services individualized to each student with a disability. This approach benefits all our students. Inclusion classrooms help general education students learn to be open and understanding of people with learning differences. Schools need to provide collaboration time for general education teachers and special ed teachers so that they have time to plan. This is critical to a student’s success, and on the School Committee I will fight to ensure every student can flourish and reach their full potential.
5) Green, Clean Schools Help Confront the Climate Crisis: The global climate emergency threatens the future of this planet and every student in our schools -- and we know that there cannot be social justice without climate justice. Brookline's young people are already national leaders in responding -- so I want to listen to them! I'll work with our students to identify and implement strategies to ensure we achieve carbon neutrality, from teaching the climate crisis in classrooms, to advocating for bike racks on campuses, and weatherproofing. As we work toward net-zero emissions, we can also educate our students about how their personal behavior can influence climate change.
We can and must take the lessons learned in 2020-21 to build a stronger, resilient, and supportive school system for every one of our children.
Reach out to me directly at Val@ValFrias.com. I'd love to hear from you, and earn your vote for Brookline School Committee on May 4th!
You can see my full professional and service bio by clicking on the campaign logo to the left or going to the navigation bar.
Representative Michael J. Moran - 18th Suffolk, MA House of Representatives; Assistant Majority Leader
David Pollak - Former Chair, Brookline School Committee; Brookline Education Foundation; Brookline Advisory Committee; Town Meeting Member, Pct 11
Jane Piercy - Town Meeting Member, Pct 2
Sean Preston - PSB Parent
Kelly Quaye - PSB Parent
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Brookline Town Election
Vote for Val Frias for Brookline School Committee - TUESDAY, MAY 4th!
Early In-Person Voting
Brookline in-person early voting will take place at Brookline Town Hall on Saturday, April 24 from 8:30am - 1pm
Tues, April 27 from 8:30am - 8pm
Thurs, April 29 from 8:30am - 8:30pm
See more about Brookline voting here.
Election Day at the Polls
Brookline townwide elections are Tuesday, May 4th.
Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm.
Valerie Frias is the Chief Executive Officer of Ethos and is responsible for providing vision, leadership, and direction for the organization’s thriving programs, services, and activities for older adults and disabled individuals, as well as overseeing Ethos’ strategic direction, organizational status and reputational well-being.
Val is the daughter of an immigrant and was the first in her family to attend college. She has more than 20 years of professional experience and most recently was the Executive Director of Greater Boston PFLAG, the local chapter of a national organization that advances LGBTQ equality through support, education, and advocacy. There, she helped increase the organization’s revenue, expanded staff and programs, and led several successful statewide advocacy campaigns.
Prior to PFLAG, Val served in leadership roles at the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation (CDC), where her focus was on building healthy and resilient communities, affordable housing, and community partnerships. There, she oversaw a portfolio of nearly 500 units of affordable rental and ownership property that were home to over 1,000 residents. Val also represented the organization in partnership with Harvard University, New Balance, and Boston Community Capital, to support the development of community benefits that reflected the diverse needs of the community.
In addition to her work at the Allston Brighton CDC, Val served as Policy Director for Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, General Counsel for the MA Senate Capital Finance Committee, and General Counsel to State Senator Marc Pacheco and the MA Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee, as well as counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee. Val was Policy Counsel at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Washington, D.C., an organization which has coordinated the national legislative campaign on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957. She has served in numerous local, state and federal campaign roles over the course of her career.
Val has also contributed in many ways to the Public Schools of Brookline and town community since arriving in 2014. She partnered with prior superintendents in Brookline and around the Commonwealth as a trusted advisor on policy and legal matters related to special education, LGBTQ issues, and other issues related to civil rights and youth advocacy. She served as a PTO Co-Chair for Driscoll School, is a member of Brookline SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council), previously served as the Driscoll School SEPAC Parent Representative, and is currently the SEPAC Parent Representative for Out of District placements. Val also currently sits on the Driscoll School Principal Search Committee. Val coached the Brookline Recreation Therapy softball team, and also volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in Chelsea.
Val earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Northeastern University School of Law in 1999 and her B.A. in History and German (cum laude) from Tufts University in 1994. In her free time, she advocates for civil rights, volunteers at her children’s schools, and enjoys running and being outdoors.