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Committee Members

headshot of Ms. MacDonald Briggs


Mayanne MacDonald Briggs, Committee Chair

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Mayanne is the longest standing current member of the Dedham School Committee, having first been elected in 2010.  Her extensive history and work across a variety of subcommittees and projects offers a wealth of information and context to the committee’s discussions and initiatives.  As both a self-proclaimed life-long learner, and a 25+year professional with a career in Special Education, Mayanne’s passion for creating strong learning programs and environments is distinctive.   Additionally, as a parent of a child who has been a Dedham student from ECEC through DHS, she recognizes the challenges inherent across all levels of our school system and applies this knowledge as the committee approaches its latest initiatives.

Mayanne has twice served as Chair of the School Committee and also played a key role in the hiring of current Superintendent Mike Welch, having been chair of the Superintendent Search Committee.    While she has worked extensively on behalf of past Budget, Policy, Negotiations and other subcommittees, she is most proud of the work accomplished as part of the School Building Rehabilitation Committee in the management of the new ECEC building.   

Should Mayanne find a moment to herself, despite all the committee and subcommittee meetings, you can find this life-long Dedham resident enjoying time with her family or a stolen moment with a good book.


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Stephan Acosta, Vice Chair

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Stephen joins the committee as a lifelong resident and recent graduate of Dedham High School in 2016.  He brings a distinct perspective to the committee, drawing from his school experiences, as well as his current work in state government.  As an active member and volunteer with several community organizations, Stephen’s work on the committee will emphasize the importance of fostering increased exposure and engagement between the students, schools and the community.

Stephen’s work at the state level brings a meaningful focus on the importance of maximizing public efficiency, while his local ties bring recognition of how much our families and students rely on a strong public school system.   Stephen aims to guide the committee towards decisions that will have a meaningful and positive impact towards improving the school experience for all students, and towards creating access to more pathways for students post-graduation.

In addition to being an avid Boston and University of Central Florida sports fan, Stephen enjoys kayaking on the Charles, traveling across the country, and spending time with family and friends.


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Chris Polito

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As a lifelong Dedham resident and alumni of the Dedham Public School system, Chris prioritizes transparency and communications throughout the District.  His local history, professional knowledge and interest bring valuable insight to his work on the committee.   

With a passion for family and friends, Chris has two young children coming into the Dedham school system.   A former Oakdale Elementary student who went on to graduate with the Class of 2002 from Dedham High, Chris is able to draw on past work with the Dedham Board of Assessors and his familiarity with both local and accounting processes to help inform policy and budget discussions.   

This is Chris’s first year on the School Committee, having been elected in 2021.   When not engaged in Town events or spending time with the people he cares about, Chris can be found pursuing his recreational dedication to the game of golf.


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Dr. Leah Flynn Gallant

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In assuming her role on the school committee, Leah is passionate about working to develop a connected, inclusive environment for student learning.   Leah not only brings 25 years experience as a higher education administrator to the committee, she also is trained in facilitating and leading diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations among student and adult learners alike.  Leah’s current work helps develop leadership skills that exhibit both empathy and the ability to hold staff equally accountable. 

Leah is a firm believer that you cannot have diversity, equity, and inclusion without first belonging - once our children feel that they belong, their academics and social and emotional health skyrocket. 

As the parent of a special needs student entering Avery Elementary as a first grader, Leah’s focus as a Committee member is on ways in which we can better bridge the gaps of communication between our schools and our parents and caregivers, particularly those with special needs.  She is an advocate for ensuring that students and families are equipped with the resources and tools necessary to ensure that they are getting the very best academic and social experience. Further, she looks to ensure that our schools are providing new paths and opportunities designed to develop students into critical thinkers and empathetic leaders. 

Leah and her family joined the Dedham community 7 years ago.  When not out and about the town, Leah enjoys day trips, cooking, baking and the relaxation found in reading a good book. 


Laurie Twomey

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Bio coming soon

Joshua Langmead

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Bio coming soon

William Walsh

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Bio coming soon