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SED Dean Hardin Coleman to bring experience to Boston School Committee

School of Education Dean Hardin Coleman has been appointed to the Boston School Committee, a position he said he is excited for given his knowledge of and experience with successful schools.

Coleman joins the Committee as its seventh member, replacing John Barros, who stepped down in April, according to a Thursday press release. Coleman will remain SED dean while on the committee, and is set to serve until the vacated term ends in January 2014.

“When the opportunity for an opening on the School Committee became open, I decided that was another way I could be of service [to the City of Boston],” Coleman said. “… I’m very honored to take this on.”

Coleman has worked with Boston officials previously, according to the release. In February 2012, he was appointed as co-chairman of the External Advisory Committee for School Assignment for Boston Public Schools, which helped lead to Boston’s first new student assignment system since 1988.

He currently serves as co-chair of the Quality Schools Working Group for the Boston Public Schools as an extension of his work with the External Advisory Board for School Assignment, the release stated.

“I’m looking forward to finding ways in which my skill set can meet the needs of the district,” he said.

Coleman also serves on the Governing Board for EdVestors and the Board of Advisors for Axis of Hope, the release stated. He holds counseling and psychology degrees from Stanford University, University of Vermont and Williams College.

Coleman said he has been in the field for over 30 years and has experience working in cities such as Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

“My background has given me pretty good experience in knowing what are the critical elements that lead to success in schools, so I have a pretty good sense of what it takes to be effective in schools with kids and with teachers,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he hopes his experience will help him serve the committee when deciding how to allocate resources and develop academic programs.

“Hopefully that experience will help me … push the agenda to make good decisions about what should be happening in schools, how schools should be accountable in their outcomes and how we can be supportive of teachers and principles in meeting the needs of the kids of Boston,” he said.

In addition, Coleman said he hopes his work on the Boston School Committee will make him better acquainted with the city.

“This will be a great way to learn more about how Boston ticks and therefore enhance the ways in which I may be helpful,” Coleman said.

BU spokesman Colin Riley said Coleman’s understanding of education will help show other committee members ways in which the needs of students align with the abilities and preparation of teachers.

“He’s an outstanding choice,” Riley said. “People in the city of Boston will be appreciative of having someone of his expertise, knowledge and experience on really critical issues as a member of the School Committee.”

In Thursday’s press release, Menino praised Coleman’s leadership at BU and work around the city.

“Dean Coleman brings a unique blend of expertise and experience to the Boston School Committee,” Menino said. “… I am honored to appoint an individual with such exceptional outstanding credentials, skills, and experience.”

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