Josh Amaral

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Josh Amaral
Josh Amaral.jpg
Board Member, New Bedford School Committee, At-large
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Next generalNovember, 2017
Term limitsN/A
High schoolNew Bedford High School
Campaign website
Josh Amaral campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Josh Amaral is an at-large member of the New Bedford School Committee. He won the general election on November 5, 2013.


Josh Amaral resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Amaral graduated from New Bedford High School and is studying at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth for a degree in political science and crime and justice.[1] Before declaring his candidacy, Amaral operated a blog focused on education in the New Bedford area, which now serves as his campaign website as well.[2]



See also: New Bedford Public Schools elections (2013)


Josh Amaral, Jack Nobrega and Lawrence J. Finnerty defeated Brian Pastori, Christopher A. Cotter and Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea to win three at-large seats in the general election on November 5, 2013.[2] Another challenger, Michael Janson, finished in last place in the primary and did not continue on to the general election.


New Bedford Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLawrence J. Finnerty Incumbent 19.3% 4,489
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJosh Amaral 19.3% 4,472
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJack Nobrega Incumbent 16.9% 3,921
     Nonpartisan Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea 15.9% 3,687
     Nonpartisan Christopher A. Cotter 15.1% 3,514
     Nonpartisan Brian Pastori 13.4% 3,107
     Nonpartisan Write-in 0.1% 33
Total Votes 23,223
Source: New Bedford Guide, "2013 New Bedford Election Results," accessed November 6, 2013

New Bedford Public Schools, At-large Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLawrence J. Finnerty Incumbent 19.9% 2,682
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJack Nobrega Incumbent 18.5% 2,486
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJosh Amaral 16.2% 2,183
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChristopher A. Cotter 13.8% 1,856
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMaria H. Mojica-Mosquea 13% 1,750
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBrian Pastori 11.7% 1,569
     Nonpartisan Michael Janson 7% 938
Total Votes 13,464
Source: New Bedford, Massachusetts, "Preliminary Election," accessed October 9, 2013


Amaral began the race with an existing account balance of $1,937.91 from his previous campaign. He reported $1,095.00 in contributions and $1,561.97 in expenditures to the City of New Bedford, which left his campaign with $1,470.94 on hand.[3]


Josh Amaral received an endorsement for his campaign from The Standard-Times.[4]

Campaign themes

Amaral's campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:[5]

  • Unity. In order to make significant change, we’ve all got to work together. I’ll work tirelessly to connect students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders together with a common vision.
  • Community input. School committee members are elected to represent the community. Somewhere, we’ve lost sight of that. I’ll be more open and accessible than anyone before me ever has. My phone number is 508-991-9255. You have my e-mail. You know my website. You see me around.
  • Cooperation. I’ll coordinate with the City Council to get more of your community’s input and unite the committee and the council. The city has such impressive councilors, there’s no reason the School Committee should remain distant or even adversarial with them, especially in times of budget crisis and poor performance. I’ll also make it a point to work with the various neighborhood groups throughout the city. Everyone will have a voice.
  • Different point of view. I understand I’m a non-traditional candidate. I’m young. But I believe we need a different point of view on the committee. I’ll bring the perspective of a recent student and I’ll embrace smart, necessary change to our system and have the wherewithal to follow through. I’ll bring in a number of guest speakers — experts on education — who can provide best practices and first-hand experience of other urban district turnarounds.
  • Family and Community outreach. The key to student success is parent engagement. With this in mind, we’ll open up our schools and invite families in, from all cultures. I’ll work to establish partnerships with community groups to help improve our schools. We’ll translate every form, flyer and communication into all the languages of our student’s families. I can envision bilingual staff members at every school, ready and willing to bridge the gap between school and community. I’ll look into the cost of translation services. The key to successful education is in the community I’ll do whatever it takes to unlock that door.
  • Embrace our teachers. The teachers in New Bedford are not the problem. In fact, no one cares more about our education system. They’re already being attacked on all sides by detrimental, high-stakes standardized testing and they need our support as a community. Teachers now are expected to do more than ever before. They’re teachers, nurses, social workers, cooks, librarians, organizers, just to name a few things. We need to lift some of their burden and we can do that by working with parents and inviting more people into our schools. It takes a village, not just your child’s teacher.
  • Accountability. Opening our school’s doors to parents and communities is a nice idea, but it won’t work unless we start holding people accountable. That means everyone, especially students. We need to do a better job educating them, not just pushing them through. We can’t continue to scratch our heads at a drop-out problem while simultaneously pushing students who fail middle school on to high school. A turn-around won’t happen over night, but it starts by encouraging accountability from the top down.
  • English language learners and special education focus. New Bedford is one of the most diverse cities, yet we struggle mightily to educate Spanish, Portuguese, and Creole speaking students. In times of high-stakes testing, ELL and special needs students are falling through the cracks. I’ll work with the communities and parent groups that need the help to make sure no stone goes unturned.

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Incumbents Jack Nobrega, John Fletcher and Bruce Oliveira announced that they would file for re-election. Oliveira ran unopposed for a two-year term, all other candidates competed for three seats with three-year terms.[6] On August 13, incumbent Lawrence J. Finnerty announced that he would seek municipal office rather than re-election to the School Committee, which left one board seat vacant.[7] South Coast Today journalist Natalie Sherman notes that Finnerty was an independent voice on the board, and that, "...his retirement could shift the internal dynamics of the board."[2] However, Fletcher and Finnerty both ultimately decided to reverse their decisions. Five challengers, Brian Pastori, Josh Amaral, Christopher A. Cotter, Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea and Michael Janson also filed for the four available School Committee seats. In the end, both incumbents, Nobrega and Fletcher, retained their seats and Amaral won a seat on the board.[2]

New superintendent

In August, 2013, Superintendent Pia Durkin announced that the school district would be laying off more than 200 employees, including 150 teachers. These cuts came in response to significant budgetary problems within the district, and Superintendent Durkin has confirmed that these cuts are final and will not be reversed, unlike layoffs in previous years.[8] Following the announcement of the cuts, Superintendent Durkin admitted that the cuts "created a great deal of angst" in the community.[9] The school district also has "one of the worst records in the state in terms of student test scores and graduation rates."[9] The school board has voted to open an "innovation school" to address academic performance issues in the district, which resulted in a backlash from Amaral and the local teachers union, the New Bedford Educators Association.[2] Amaral denies that there is a strong connection between himself and the union, stating, "I've made it very clear to the union I'm not running just because I want to back what they say. I'm not going there just to be a yes man to them."[2]

About the district

See also: New Bedford Public Schools, Massachusetts
New Bedford Public Schools is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts
New Bedford Public Schools is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The county seat of Bristol County is Taunton. According to the 2010 US Census, Bristol County is home to 551,082 residents.[10]


Bristol County underperformed the rest of Massachusetts in terms of its poverty rate, median rates of average household income and higher education achievement in 2011. The poverty rate in Bristol County was 11.3% compared to 10.7% for the entire state. The median household income in Bristol County was $55,813 compared to $65,981 for the state of Massachusetts. The US Census also found that 25.1% of Bristol County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 38.7% in Massachusetts.[10]

Racial Demographics, 2012[10]
Race Bristol County (%) Massachusetts (%)
White 91.1 83.7
Black or African American 4.3 7.9
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 0.5
Asian 2.1 5.8
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.8 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 6.4 10.1

Party Affiliation, 2012[11]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 123,044 36.43
Republican 34,914 10.34
Green-Rainbow 320 0.09
Unaffiliated 177,632 52.60
Other 1,800 0.53

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[12]

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