PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Brian Castellanos is a first-time candidate for Lynn School Committee and is a graduate of Lynn English High School.
By THOMAS GRILLO
For Brian Castellanos, it’s time to give back.
Castellanos, 27, who works with children and families in Framingham, launched his campaign for the Lynn School Committee on Monday as a way to pay back the city’s school system for helping him through a tough time.
“I was homeless during my senior year at English High School,” he said. “I was at-risk and going through hard times and the school took me in and helped me be successful.”
Castellanos joins a dozen other candidates, including four incumbents, seeking a post on the seven-member panel that includes Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy as chair.
Earlier this month, two longstanding School Committee members said they will not seek reelection. Patricia Capano, the 55-year-old vice chairwoman who was first elected in 1997, and Maria Carrasco, a native of the Dominican Republic who has served since 2007, will not be on the ballot this fall.
If elected, the Framingham State University and Salem State University graduate, said he hopes to implement and expand programs that advance social and emotional learning skills.
“These skills foster resilience and help kids not only address core subjects but build character and manage emotions,” he said.
Castellanos also wants to make more mental health services available to students. He would like to see the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), which is available in some schools, expanded. CBHI encompasses multiple service systems that include: Intensive Care Coordination, Family Support and Training, In-Home Therapy, Therapeutic Mentoring, Outpatient Therapy, and Mobile Crisis Intervention. In all services, the youth and caregivers play a role in determining treatment options and supports that will highlight the family’s strengths, according to the service provider.
He’s not sure how much implementing such programs would cost, but will recommend the city apply for grants to pay for them.
Castellanos admits he did not vote in the special election in March on the controversial proposal to build a pair of middle schools. The measure failed by a lopsided margin.
“I would have voted for it,” he said. “Building new schools would have been helpful for the city.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at email@example.com.