Former Councilor O’Brien and Bentley Lecturer LeBlanc Seek Consideration for Whittier Seats

Former Haverhill City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and Bentley University Lecturer Jeff LeBlanc. (O’Brien photograph for WHAV by Jay Saulnier and LeBlanc courtesy photograph.)

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A retired nurse who served 20 years on the Haverhill City Council and a Bentley University lecturer whose family runs a successful automotive business are among those wishing to serve on the Whittier Tech School Committee.

Former City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and Jeff LeBlanc, who has taught business at Bentley, Boston University and Suffolk University, among others, both notified WHAV of their interests in one of the two available Haverhill seats at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

“My successful and fulfilling 46-year nursing career as well as serving 20 years on the Haverhill City Council make me uniquely qualified and that I can bring valuable knowledge and understanding to the board.” O’Brien told WHAV. She added “I am very familiar with budgetary concerns, administrator transparency, working collaboratively on a team and, most of all, putting Haverhill’s priorities first.”

LeBlanc said, “My connection to Whittier VoTech runs deep. My father, Kenneth LeBlanc, got his start at Whittier VoTech, where he received the foundational skills and training that paved the way for his successful career in the automotive field and business. Witnessing firsthand the impact that Whittier VoTech had on my father’s life has instilled in me a profound appreciation for the school’s mission and values,” said LeBlanc, who also worked for the family’s Merrimack Valley Tire from 2006 to 2012.

O’Brien and LeBlanc join Whittier Tech School Committee member Richard P. Early Jr. in seeking one of the seats.

O’Brien chose not to run for re-election to the Haverhill City Council in 2021, after winning election during the uncertain days following the Sept. 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington. Following her decision to retire, she told WHAV her approaches to decision-making have been guided, first by her father Edmond W. Daly, and her training and experience as a nurse.

“I have had to handle a lot of very sensitive situations in my nursing career. Nothing in city government will ever come close to what I experienced as a nurse,” she said at the time.

LeBlanc told WHAV he brings “years of experience in curriculum development, program evaluation and educational leadership. My work as an educator has allowed me to witness the transformative power of vocational education firsthand. I have seen students flourish when provided with hands-on learning opportunities and practical skills training. My tenure within the community college system of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, coupled with my professorships at Boston University and Bentley University, has underscored the significance of combining business education with trade school knowledge—a synergy I am keen to see continue to flourish.”

O’Brien is a 1974 graduate of Vermont College of Norwich University’s registered nursing program. During her 46-year career as a nurse, she served the city-owned Hale Hospital and continued after its sale to Essent and later Steward Health Care. She has also worked at Anna Jaques Hospital during his career. In total, she said, she spent 14 years an emergency room nurse, 12 in nursing management and the remainder of her work in case management.

LeBlanc has a doctorate in business administration from Northcentral University, Master of Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University and bachelor’s from Merrimack College. He is a full-time faculty member at Bentley University.

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