The Somerville News Weekly Special Person of the Week:Dan Futrell

By Frank Santanglo

Meet this week’s “Special Person of the Week:Dan Futrell

Dan Futrell represents Ward 2 on the Somerville School Committee. He serves as the Chair of the Rules and Finance Committees and is focused on balancing social and emotional learning against the traditional requirements within math and english instruction.

Dan’s story is one of social systems working and of people selflessly helping one another. Dan started life as foster child in the state of Florida. A dedicated social worker searched out and found his birth father when Dan was still a school-aged child. After their reunion, his father was able to pull Dan out of the foster care system. Dan’s father has worked hard his entire adult life as a union worker and believes in the transformative power of education.

He passed on that value in education and together with amazing teachers, coaches, social workers, friends and family created a series of opportunities that wouldn’t have been available. They inspire his own work with young people, particularly his interest in the next generation of at-risk children and young adults.

Dan went to college on an ROTC scholarship where he earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. He then entered the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer where he graduated from the military’s rigorous, team-oriented leadership course, Ranger School. During his five years’ service, Dan held the leadership positions of Platoon Leader and Company Commander and twice deployed to Iraq in 2006 and 2009 for a total of 27 months and over 400 combat missions. For his service in Iraq, Dan was awarded a Combat Infantryman’s Badge and is a two-time recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. He concluded his service in 2010 as an Infantry Captain.

After his service, Dan attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a Tillman Scholar and Rappaport Public Policy Fellow, where he earned a Masters Degree in Public Policy in 2012. His studies focused on how community organizations and nonprofits can increase their impact through partnerships with other sectors.

Dan came to the School Committee through his work at Year Up, a national non-profit which works to close the opportunity gap for young adults, where he began as Director of Operations and Strategy and later served as Director of Growth Strategy. In his operational role, he was responsible for managing a $9M budget, human resources support for a 60-person staff, and facility maintenance of a downtown Boston building from which the team serves 320 students per year. He went on to lead the effort to grow Year Up’s presence in Greater Boston by 50% over three years.

Additionally, Dan serves as President of the Board for the Community Action Agency of Somerville, a nonprofit dedicated to lifting children and families out of generational poverty through a variety of approaches, including the Head Start early education program that serves hundreds of children annually in Somerville and Cambridge.

Dan feels a kinship to Somerville because of his own working class roots. He loves Somerville for its diversity and the hardworking, down-to-earth mix of residents. In his free time, he pulls on his running shoes and takes his dog, Libby, out to explore Somerville’s side streets. Dan enjoys running the community path, and once ran the entire perimeter of Ward 2, in addition to twice completing the Boston Marathon.

Our hats are off to his true Somerville spirit!

We here at the Somerville News Weekly salute you for everything that you do to make Somerville a better place. 

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