WEA Endorses Three Candidates for School Committee

By Chris Wangler
October 31, 2023


The Waltham Educators Association (WEA), which represents hundreds of Waltham public school employees, has endorsed Teddy Tarallo, Carolina Lara and James Zanghi for school committee in the November 7 municipal election.

The WEA sent surveys to all the candidates and met with union membership to determine which candidates would best serve Waltham Schools on the school committee. 

Five candidates are running for three school committee seats. 

In contention are two incumbents (Margy Donnelly, Teddy Tarallo) and three first-time candidates (Carolina Lara, Tammy Wong-Bigelow and James Zanghi).

One of the current school committee members, Jane Gately, is not seeking reelection, so a new member will be elected.

We have profiles of all the candidates and links to more candidate information [see below].

Margy Donnelly

Incumbent Margy Donnelly has lived in Waltham for more than 45 years and was a teacher in Marlboro for 36 years. She has a partner and many nieces and nephews.

She earned the most votes of any school committee candidate the last time she ran in 2019.


Donnelly did not respond to a request for comment on her candidacy.

In a video statement on WCAC she said, “I am and have been a dedicated professional. The main reason I want to return is because I love it.”

Donnelly described herself as “inherently fair, a team worker with the ability to compromise.”

Teddy Tarallo

A high school math teacher for 10 years, Teddy Tarallo is currently the Dean of Students at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School.

The Waltham native graduated from Brandeis in 2004, earned a master’s in education and is married with two children. 


Tarallo’s extensive union experience includes leadership roles in the Salem Teachers’ Union and other state and local union organizations.

First elected to the school committee in 2012, he wants to increase the graduation rate and lower the dropout rate. He also wants to find a permanent home for the Dual Language School and create a free universal PreK program that will level the playing field for all students.

“I am not done fighting for the children of Waltham,” he said. “My years of experience as an active educator makes me uniquely qualified to know and understand what Waltham students need and I will not stop advocating for every student.”

Carolina Lara

A native of Colombia, Carolina Lara was placed in a school ESL program when her family moved to Florida.

She later earned an MBA from Texas A&M, then moved to Waltham in 2006 with her husband, a U.S. Army veteran. They have two children in Waltham schools.

A local realtor fluent in English and Spanish, she said her professional experience includes “creating and interpreting budgets, planning resource allocations and complex problem solving.”


Lara serves as the vice president of the McDevitt Middle School PTO and on the Bilingual English Language Learners Parent Advisory Committee (BELPAC). She is also a board member of Waltham Partnership for Youth and Waltham Youth Soccer. 

 She has participated in school committee hiring committees for superintendent and high school principal. Among her goals are reducing the achievement gap for English language learners and addressing absenteeism.

“I believe education is the key for better outcomes in the life of the individual and society,” she said. 

Tammy Wong-Bigelow

Tammy Wong-Bigelow is an education consultant to a national education workforce non-profit with experience teaching in middle and high schools.

She has lived in Waltham since 2007 and is a married parent of three with a child in Waltham’s Dual Language School, where she is actively involved in the PTO. Wong-Bigelow is a first-time candidate.

“I am running for the school committee because we need new and diverse voices in the school committee who have children currently in the Waltham school system and are invested in its futures,” she said. 


She wants Waltham schools to increase project-based learning to improve student outcomes.

“Although Waltham has a well-rounded curriculum, we can still do better to make certain our students receive a global education that is project-based, has early second language classes starting in Kindergarten and is appropriately funded and resourced to empower all our children to succeed in our global community,” she said. 

James Zanghi

“This campaign is not about me,” said first-time candidate James Zanghi, class president for WHS Class of 2016. “It is about the future of the city: Waltham students.”

A fourth-generation Waltham resident who has worked at local restaurants, he became the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Currently Zanghi works as a legislative staffer for Waltham State Representative Tom Stanley. The job requires constituent responsiveness and government policy knowledge and has opened many doors to various state and federal boards and committees.


Zanghi has taught math, reading and English in Kenya, tutors fifth graders at Plympton and volunteers at Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen in Waltham.

Among his goals are securing a permanent location for the Dual Language School, encouraging career pathways such as vocational trades and improving after-school activities for middle school students.  

“By working together for our schools, we can all set out to build the educational community we envision and empower our youth to accomplish their dreams and realize their potential in the world,” he said.

Learn More

You can learn more about all the candidates by watching the Waltham League of Women Voters Candidate Forum:

Waltham League of Women Voters School Committee Forum, October 19, 2023

You can also learn more about the candidates by watching five-minute statements they taped for our WCAC show You Don’t Say:

You Don't Say 2023 Candidate Statements