Who is Jorge Vega? Meet Brockton’s newest school committee member

BROCKTON ― Jorge Vega sat on the righthand corner of the table in Brockton High School’s Little Theater for the April 23 Brockton School Committee meeting, seated directly across from Brockton Mayor and School Committee Chair Robert Sullivan.

“We want to welcome the newest member to the school committee from Ward 1, Jorge Vega,” said Sullivan, who’s also a resident of Ward 1.

Just one minute into his first meeting as a member of the Brockton School Committee, Vega received a standing ovation from the rest of the committee members seated around the table.

Less than 20 days earlier on April 11, Vega, 48, was appointed and sworn in as the committee’s Ward 1 representative, filling the seat vacated in March by Kathleen Ehlers. Vega said he decided to apply for the job just three weeks before that meeting where the school committee and Brockton City Council decided in a joint session to name him to the empty seat.

“I didn’t intend to be doing this five weeks ago,” Vega said during an interview with The Enterprise on April 30.

Read more: ‘I’m all in’: Jorge Vega to fill School Committee seat vacated by Kathleen Ehlers

Why Vega decided to run for School Committee

When the Ward 1 seat became vacant, Vega’s wife pushed him to put his name in the running. He said his three kids, all of whom are either current Brockton High students or graduates, motivated him further to take the job.

“A lot of people were like, ‘why would you join now?’ and I honestly can’t think of a better time,” said Vega. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of a turning point for Brockton.”

With only two months left in this school year, Vega is joining a school committee that’s facing several ongoing issues – from mitigating a major financial deficit, to curbing various school security issues and helping students and staff manage a growing mental health crisis.

Nevertheless, Vega said he’s feeling “excited” after his first week in office.

“I think anybody who thinks to put themselves into this kind of situation is hoping to be a part of a solution,” he said.

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What is Vega’s background?

Vega is no stranger to schools. In fact, he’s worked in education for more than 25 years, beginning his career as a theatre teacher at age 21 right of college. After a short stint as a physics teacher (in college majored in education and theatre and minored in physics) he moved into educational technology. He has severed as the director of technology at New Heights Charter School in Brockton for the last two and a half years.

“Working in a school will give you that lens and perspective,” he said. “You can also be critical in a more responsible way. You can ask deeper questions about why a decision was made or why a policy was implemented a certain way if you have a school perspective.”

Vega said his background working in tech helped prepare him to tackle pandemic-era education when schools all went virtual. At the time, Vega was working at Prospect Hill Academy in Cambridge and said at one point his garage was filled with 400 computers and stacks of FedEx boxes to be shipped out to students.

“COVID really sealed the deal in terms of how important technology was to the life of schools,” Vega said. “Directors of technology and the teams that work with them were at the forefront of that.”

His wife is also a fellow educator, and his children grew up in the Brockton Public Schools system. He said his experience as a BPS parent has been positive and his kids are a “good barometer” for what’s truly happening inside the schools.

“My kids have benefitted hugely from going through the Brockton school system,” he said.

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Why Vega chose Brockton?

Vega moved from New York City to Brockton almost 20 years ago. Although his family and friends called him crazy for picking Brockton, he said the city looks and feels like Far Rockway in Queens where he grew up.

“When we bought our first house, we made the very intentional choice to live in Brockton. A large part of it is that Brockton looks and feels like the part of Queens where I grew up in.”

Like most new homeowners, Vega also based the decision on Brockton’s schools. As a “proud Puerto Rican-American” whose wife is Filipino-American, Vega said it was important to him that his kids attend school in a district where diversity is the norm, and “diversity is in the very fabric of Brockton Public Schools.”

“It can be really challenging to go through kindergarten through 12, these formative years, and not have people who look like you, who have the experiences that you’ve had, who have families similar to yours,” said Vega.

What is Vega’s biggest priority?

Vega said the most urgent issue and his biggest priority as a new Brockton School Committee member is to stabilize the district’s finances. Committee members have begun planning what the budget will look like for fiscal year 2025 as they try to shrink a projected deficit ranging from $7 to $19 million.

Since August, BPS has announced several fiscal issues that officials have been working to solve including budget deficits for fiscal years 2023, 2024 and 2025; over 40 expired grants with unspent cash that must be returned to the state; and various structural and personnel concerns within its business department.

“That’s the priority, getting the financial house in order without affecting teaching and learning,” said Vega. “How do you mitigate that without lessening student outcomes or student experience.”


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