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Mayor Katjana Ballantyne Announcing New Somerville School Building Committee Members

Mayor Katjana Ballantyne is announcing the members of the School Building Committee (SBC) who will provide oversight of the City’s construction plans for a new school to meet the needs of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School and potentially the Benjamin G. Brown School.

The members will work with City and Somerville Public Schools staff and consultants to oversee construction project management such as hiring project managers, architects, and construction contractors, and ensure that detailed plans and designs meet the needs of the school district within budget.

Learn more about the SBC members, their roles and their areas of expertise below: 

  • Emily Grandstaff-Rice will fill the role of: Community member with architecture, engineering, and/or construction experience.
    • Emily is a registered architect in Massachusetts who holds leadership positions in several state and national professional organizations and served on the City of Cambridge Getting to NetZero Energy Task Force. Emily has designed and managed dozens of academic building projects, including two successful MSBA-funded elementary schools and the first triple net zero (waste, water, and energy) charter school in Massachusetts. Emily holds an accreditation as a Learning Environment Planner and has direct experience with the full range of MSBA requirements.
  • Daniel Grayton will fill the role of: Community member with understanding of municipal finance and how spending impacts the total burden on tax- and rate-payers
    • Daniel holds a B.A. in Politics & Government and served as City Councilor-at-Large in Methuen, responsible for approval and oversight of an annual $150M operating budget. Since 2017, Daniel has worked for the City of Amesbury where he served in progressively more responsible roles in administering the MSBA process from eligibility through the end of construction for the Sgt. Jordan Shay Memorial Lower Elementary School. 
  • Courtney Koslow will fill the role of: Parent or guardian from the Winter Hill Community Innovation School.
    • Courtney is the parent of a rising 5th Grader at the WHCIS, has been an active member of and has received an endorsement by the Winter Hill PTA, and has served on the school’s Governing Board advocating for building improvements. Courtney’s community focus is evidenced by her prior service on the Community Preservation Committee and her current appointment to the Somerville Commission for Energy Use and Climate Change. In her professional life, Courtney oversees all facets of development for large-scale, affordable and mixed-income rental properties.
  • Richard Heidebrect will fill the role of: Parent or guardian from the Benjamin G. Brown School.
    • This fall, Richard will have three children in the Brown and has received an endorsement from the Brown School PTA to serve as their representative on the SBC. In his work in the biotechnology space and having served on a condominium association for nearly 20 years, Richard has extensive experience navigating complex problems with diverse teams and reaching consensus.

Additionally, Mayor Ballantyne’s call for School Committee volunteers resulted in an outstanding pool of applicants, each of which would contribute helpful experience and beneficial perspectives to the SBC.

In order to maximize the impact of the SBC, the Mayor has decided to include two additional at-large roles on the Committee:

  • Hanna Bao is a parent to two SPS students and is interested in contributing to the community. She co-owns a small local company that specializes in home renovations, understands how a project requires expertise from different fields and has experience working with a team to achieve common goals.
  • Suraj Rajbanshi is a parent to two SPS students and is passionate about education, especially building a new school that will serve the diverse needs of the City’s future students. Suraj worked in the field of civil engineering for over 12 years before emigrating to the US in 2008, building significant experience in construction project management..

Background on the School Building Committee
The Somerville Public Schools have been accepted into the first phase of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) grant program. The grant program could potentially provide significant state funding for the rebuilding or new construction of a new school. This state funding program requires that all applicants establish an SBC according to state guidelines.

The full list of of all members of the School Building Committee includes:


Name SBC Role
Richard E. Raiche, Director of Infrastructure and Management, Interim Chair SBC Member who is MCPPO Certified
Katjana Ballantyne, Mayor of Somerville Local Chief Executive, Officer/Administrator, Representative of Office Authorized by Law to Construct School Buildings 
Andre Green, Ward 4 School Committee Member School Committee Member
Dr. Ruben Carmona Superintendent of Schools
Jill Lathan, Commissioner of DPW Local Official Responsible for Building Maintenance 
Courtney Gosselin, WHCIS Principal School Principal
Kathleen Seward, Coordinator for K-8 Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Member knowledgeable in educational mission and function of faculty 
Edward Bean, Finance Director/Auditor Local Budget Official or Member of Local Finance Committee
Emily Grandstaff-Rice, Architect Member of Community with Architecture, Engineering, and/or Construction Experience
Jesse Clingan, Somerville City Council Ward 4 City Council Member
Shawn Maguire, Brown School Principal School Principal
Courtney Koslow WHCIS Parent 
Richard Heidebrecht Brown School Parent
Daniel Grayton Resident with Municipal Finance Experience
Hanna Bao Resident and SPS Parent with Development Experience
Suraj Rajbanshi Resident and SPS Parent with Engineering Background


For more information on the Winter Hill Community Innovation School construction project, please visit

Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy in advance at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or   

Interpretation into any language is available upon advance request (at least seven days in advance) by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at or calling 311 at 617-666-3311.


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