About Shawn

In 2016, I organized a day-long community activism training that was attended by more than 600 participants. In this picture, I am opening the training and introducing the keynote speaker.

School, Board and Community Leader

Since moving to Newton in 2007, I have been very engaged in the community as a volunteer and activist. I am passionate about strengthening Board collaboration and effectiveness to make progress to achieve organizational goals.


Current Positions:

Board Member, including service as Chair - FamilyACCESS of Newton- FamilyACCESS is a non-profit agency in Newton focused on protecting the health and well-being of low income children, five years old and younger.


Board Member - All Newton Music School - ANMS is a non-profit music school for all ages, all people interested in music. For over 100 years, the All Newton Music School has served Newton and the Greater Boston area as a valuable cultural resource for all persons interested in lessons, classes and concerts. ANMS provides quality musical instruction on all musical instruments and classes in appreciation, education, musical theatre, and more, for young children through adults.


Mason Rice Elementary School, School Council Member- I have been active at our children’s school for seven years. I am a member of the School Council which works with the Principal and school leadership to provide input on education and school priorities.


School volunteer: I am an active volunteer at Mason Rice. I have coordinated Bike Safety Day, supported traffic safety efforts, and helped our teachers whenever possible and asked.


Newton Youth Soccer Coach- I have been a coach for my children’s soccer teams since 2016. Athletics are an important part of our children’s health and social and emotional development.


Past Positions:

Commissioner, Newton Child Care Commission- I was appointed to this role by the (then) President of the Board of Aldermen (City Council). The Child Care Commission helps low-income families in Newton access early education services for their children.


Chair, Newton Democratic City Committee- This is an elected role with two-year terms, voted by the NDCC’s three-hundred person plus membership of democratic leaders across Newton. As chair, I led efforts to elect Democrats to serve at the local, state and national levels. I worked hard to inspire volunteers that promote values of diversity, equity and inclusion and support the principles in the national democratic party platform.

With my kids, Claire and Colin (and the hens) showing support for Mass General healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Professional Experience

Professionally, I have worked in fundraising for non-profit organizations and hope to bring in new sources of revenue to support Newton Schools.


My profession requires creativity, perseverance, strong listening, communication, and relationship building skills. These are important attributes that I will bring to School Committee.


Massachusetts General Hospital- Since 2007 I have worked for Mass General in senior leadership roles in institutional development. In these roles, I help connect philanthropists with clinicians and researchers who are working to treat and cure human diseases.


Cornell University- Before moving to Newton, I worked for Cornell University as an individual giving officer.


Bachelor of Arts in Communications- American University in Washington, DC

Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT.


I am fluent in Spanish.


The Fitzgibbons Family, Shawn, Kate, Claire (11) and Colin (9)

Family

Our family, counting non-human members, is very large. My wife Dr. Kate Wissel is a veterinarian at Commonwealth Veterinary Hospital in Newton. Our children are Colin (9) who is in third grade at Mason Rice Elementary School, and Claire (11) who will attend Bigelow (most likely) Middle School next year.

Together, we oversee a small “farm” of pets which includes Tessie (dog), Mosey and Pirate (cats), fish, Spot and Burrito (guinea pigs), Chuck and Bizou (rats - they are fantastic pets), and six chickens named Peanut Butter, Jelly, Kiesha, Josie, Rocky and Snugget.

  • If you'd like to meet my family pets, click here to visit a website that my daughter Claire set up.

My kids know first-hand: I avoid going anywhere by car. I get around Newton year-round with my kids on "Blueberry," the family cargo bike.

HOBBIES

I am an avid cyclist, biking thousands of miles each year around the Boston Metro Area and all over New England. This past summer, I rode from my house in Newton, in one day trips each, to Bath, Maine, Squam Lake, NH, Portsmouth, NH, and Ludlow, Vermont. I am a member of the Boston Cyclists Union, Mass Bike, Charles River Wheelers and Bike Newton.

I also play the violin and (a little) piano, and in the last two years learned to sail at the Boston Sailing Center.

  • Click here to see some of my bike rides on the biking website Ride with GPS.