DEDHAM -- Dedham School Committee member Josh Donati officially launched his re-election campaign at the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center on March 1.

The kick-off party included mingling with other Dedham residents, food, drinks, free stickers and lawn signs, a photo booth with props, and a speech by Donati. Families were also encouraged to attend since child care was provided at the event.

Donati has been a Dedham School Committee member since 2017 and is a Boston Public School teacher.

“When I moved to Dedham, I wanted to get involved in the community somehow and make a difference. After about six months of living here, I started asking around about how to get involved. Town Meeting is usually the first step, but since I’m a teacher in Boston - I have been teaching for 12 years - there were two seats open for the School Committee, so I ran,” said Donati. “Now, after three years, I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I have young kids that aren’t in the school system yet, so there’s also motivation there.”

Over the past three years on the School Committee, Donati has dealt with multiple issues: “We got through negotiations with the strike, so the job right now is to move forward and mend the fences that were broken. We pass budgets every year - I’ve been the Budget Subcommittee Chair for the past two years. I feel like because I’m a teacher, I have an idea of what it takes to be successful in a classroom.”

Challenges going forward include the master plan for the schools, the traffic study and future budgets.

At the beginning of his speech during the kick-off party, Donati gave a special shoutout to his wife, Courtney. “Without her support, this would be impossible. So I appreciate her, and the motivation I get is from my two little men [my children], Leo and Jack.”

Donati said during his speech. He also gave a shoutout to all the other Dedham candidates and elected officials: “All of us choosing to be an active part of our community is what makes Dedham great and what makes Dedham to be even greater in the future.”

 Donati explained that he is running for re-elections for a few major reasons. One reason is that he enjoys having a night job that is also involved with education. Donati grew up in a “teacher’s household;” his mother taught more than 30 years in Boston Public Schools.

“She was an inspiration of course, and still is every day,” Donati said.

Another reason he is seeking re-election is because public service is very important to Donati. “If there’s something that needs to be changed or needs to be improved, take the time to work on it yourself. Dig in, get involved, and be a part of the solution,” he told event attendees. “I’m so happy to be a part of a group of people who are so civically minded.”

Donati also explained that every day in his classroom, he convinces his students that they “can achieve whatever they want to achieve regardless of circumstance, background, and the opinion they hold of themselves.”

“Having the opportunity to do that in Dedham on a much larger scale is a big draw for me with the Dedham School Committee. As long as all the adults and stakeholders involved believe in every kid regardless of circumstance and background, I think that’s really powerful. That can make us one of the greatest school systems around,” said Donati.

Many Dedham community members gathered at the campaign kick-off to show their support for Donati.

“Josh [Donati] is a fabulous School Committee member and has great experience as a teacher. He’s done great things for the town and I’d like to see him continue on,” said Gemma Martin, a Dedham resident who met Donati before he ran for School Committee in 2017.

“When Josh [Donati] first ran in 2017, I was his treasurer. He had just moved to Dedham and didn’t know a whole lot of people, so he reached out to me at the Dedham Square Crawl. He spoke to me and told me what he wanted to do,” said Donati’s campaign manager, Dedham resident Peter Springer. “Three years later, he’s back, and I asked to be his campaign manager. But the thing about Josh is, he really doesn’t need a campaign manager. He’s great, he could do this all on his own.”

The 2020 Annual Dedham Town Election will take place on Saturday, April 11. To learn more about the candidate and his campaign, visit @donatiforschoolcommittee on Facebook, or view to hashtag #Donati4Dedham on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.