With new job, Amherst school board chairman Nakajima steps down

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Staff Writer
Published: 2/23/2020 11:11:11 PM

AMHERST — The chairman of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee has resigned after accepting a job in Boston.

Eric Nakajima announced late last week that he has taken a job as the director of government relations for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, or MTA, the union that represents educators in the state. He said the Amherst School Committee’s meeting on Wednesday will be his last.

“I would only be willing to leave the School Committee for something where I had a real opportunity to make the difference,” he said Saturday. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over the last three-plus years, and I think the district is in good hands.”

Nakajima has served on the School Committee since being appointed in 2016. He was previously the director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, and worked as a consultant before accepting his position with the MTA. He grew up in Amherst and said he plans to keep his house there.

According to the town charter, the vacancy will be filled by a vote of the remaining members of the School Committee and the Town Council within 45 days of Nakajima’s resignation.

One of the main reasons Nakajima decided to resign, he said, was because his job with the teachers union might present the appearance of a conflict of interest, given that the School Committee bargains contracts with school employees.

“I think apart from the fact I’m going to be really busy, it just doesn’t make sense to be staying on,” he said.

Nakajima said he is proud that during his tenure, the school district has again been accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s process to receive state funding for a new school building.

Other highlights of his time as a School Committee member are keeping stable leadership in the district and dealing with tight budgets in recent years, he said.

Moving on, Nakajima said, he’s glad to have found a job that allows him to draw on his passion for education.

“I love doing the work,” he said. “I love working with people to try to find solutions — both pushing for big change but also finding pragmatic ways to do it.”

Nakajima said he is thankful to the people of Amherst for electing him to the School Committee, and for putting their trust in him.

“I hope I can do them proud in Boston, too,” he said.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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