After two terms on the New Bedford School Committee, having been first elected at 20, New Bedford political wunderkind Josh Amaral has decided not to seek a third term. As a popular incumbent, his re-election prospects were in little doubt, but Amaral is shifting focus to personal and professional commitments he's made while spending his formative years as a dutiful public servant.

During the eight years Amaral served on school committee, the New Bedford Public Schools have improved tremendously. For example, when Amaral was elected, New Bedford High School's graduation rate hovered around 55 percent; this past June, it celebrated a record-setting 88 percent graduation rate, and elementary students are performing exceptionally as well.

Amaral credits these milestones to making key administrative hires, such as Superintendent Thomas Anderson and Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Operations Andrew O'Leary, who have the vision and experience to sustain a culture of success at NBPS.

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Amaral feels comfortable leaving not just because of the administration, but because of the candidates running who can bring their own valuable vision and experience to the school committee. While joining me on-air Friday, Amaral formally endorsed incumbent school committee member Colleen Dawicki, as well as two challengers, educator and former Carney Academy Assistant Principal Ross Grace, and social worker and former Ward 1 City Council candidate Melissa Costa.

We also talked about current School Department matters like making the Student Opportunity Act work for NBPS, and Superintendent Anderson's decision to maintain and improve the School Resource Officer program.

This won't be the last we see of Josh Amaral. He's politically talented, well-intentioned and an accomplished leader in the community. I look forward to seeing him continue to make a positive impact for the people of New Bedford.

You can listen to our full conversation here:

Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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