Jeff Thielman
Created The Center for the Working Child in Peru - serving thousands of children and families
Practiced Law
Established dozens of schools across the nation in urban, underserved areas
As President of Spy Pond Association, helped to secure $1 million in funds to improve park.
Elected six times to Arlington School Committee, worked to keep clear focus on improving teaching and learning for all members of the school community.



Elected and Community Service

  • Arlington School Committee member, 2003-present
  • Arlington Town Meeting Member, 2001-present
  • Chair of the Arlington High School Building Committee, 2017 to present
  • Member of the Thompson School Building Committee, School Enrollment Task Force
  • Represented the School Committee on the Long-Range Planning Committee and Permanent Town Building Committee
  • Volunteer in all operating override and debt exclusion campaigns since 2003
  • Former member of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees Advocacy Committee, Vision 2020 Spy Pond Task Force, Friends of Spy Pond Park, and Arlington Schools Foundation (now Arlington Education Association)


Jeff Thielman was first elected to the Arlington School Committee in 2003 and has served on Town Meeting since 2001. He has chaired the School Committee twice, and he has chaired and served on each of its subcommittees.

Jeff chairs the Arlington High School Building Committee, the largest public works project in town history. He served as a Chair of the successful 2019 Debt Exclusion campaign, which enjoyed support from 77% of the town’s voters. The presentation Jeff led before Town Meeting in 2019 to gain support for the project was considered one of the best the Meeting has ever seen.

As of March of 2021, the new high school is slightly under budget and is on schedule. Under his leadership, the High School Building Committee held more than 20 public meetings as the project evolved, and the committee has kept the public informed through a detailed website that provides up-to-date information on the progress being made.

Prior to serving as the Chair of High School Building Committee, Jeff served on the School Enrollment Task Force. He worked with a diverse group of Town leaders to convert the Gibbs facility into a new 6th grade school and helped secure town support to expand the Thompson and Hardy Elementary Schools.

He has volunteered for and helped organize several debt exclusion and override campaigns in Arlington. If re-elected to the School Committee, Jeff plans to work with the new Superintendent to ensure a return to in-person learning throughout the district. Additionally, in the next three years he sees a need to begin conversations with the community about the need to repair or rebuild the Ottoson Middle School.

Since 2015, Jeff has been the President and CEO of the International Institute of New England (IINE), one of the oldest and largest human services organizations for new Americans in the region. Operating in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, IINE provides resettlement, education, career, and legal services to 2,500 refugees and immigrants each year. Jeff has been a leader in the effort to protect immigrants' rights and to ensure the U.S. continues to welcome refugees and other people fleeing persecution.

From 1998 to 2015, Jeff played a leading role in the growth of the Cristo Rey schools, college prep high schools with an integrated work-study program that exclusively serve urban communities. Jeff was on the leadership team of the first school in the country, managed the national scale-up of the schools, and served as President of Cristo Rey Boston High School in Dorchester. There are now 37 Cristo Rey schools across the country serving 12,300 students, with 20,600 graduates. Jeff gained extensive experience in school management during his time with the Cristo Rey movement, which he has applied during his tenure on the School Committee.

Early in his professional career, Jeff was a trial attorney in Boston and worked in the financial services industry. Between college and law school, he spent three years as a Jesuit International Volunteer in Tacna, Peru, where he was a teacher and founder of a program for street children that has been replicated in several cities in Peru. He is the co-author of Volunteer: With the Poor in Peru, holds undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and is fluent in Spanish.

He and his wife, Christine, a writer for MIT, have three children. Christine has been an active volunteer, serving as President of the Ottoson-Gibbs PTO for several years.


His book, Volunteer: With the Poor in Peru (Paulist Press, 1991), details the founding of the project.  To obtain Jeff’s book, please visit


Please help our campaign with an online contribution!