News »

METCO Welcomes New Board Chair Darnell Billings

Thursday Feb 22, 2024

Darnell Billings. Photo courtesy of METCO.
Darnell Billings. Photo courtesy of METCO.  

The METCO Board of Directors has elected Darnell Billings, METCO board member and alumnus, to the position of Chair of the Board. He has been a member of the METCO Board of Directors since 2017.

Billings is a Real Estate Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty Boston. Before transitioning to real estate, he worked for 12 years in hotel management and holds a bachelor's degree in Hotel Management from the University of New Haven.

Following in the footsteps of his older sister, Rev. Dr. Stephanie Castro, Darnell entered the first grade as a METCO student in Lexington Public Schools. He graduated from Lexington High School in 2001. Inspired by his son, a current METCO student in the Lincoln Public Schools, and his wife, a member of the Lincoln METCO Parent Board, he joined the METCO Board of Directors in 2017.

Billings notes that his commitment, rooted in personal experience, drives him to collaborate with METCO and other stakeholders to eliminate educational disparities and to promote equitable access to quality education in Massachusetts regardless of zip code, socioeconomic status, and skin color. 

He states, "My pledge is simple: to serve our organization and the expansive spectrum of our community with unwavering dedication, foresight, and inclusiveness.  Our mission—Educate, Advocate, Connect—remains at the forefront of my leadership.  METCO challenges each of us to meet people where they are; respect them as individuals; listen to understand; and act with courage, humility, empathy, curiosity, and compassion."

METCO President and CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas praised Billings' commitment to METCO and the communities it serves. "Our METCO leadership and staff are delighted to be working closely with Darnell as we move forward. His commitment to expanding educational opportunity is so needed and appreciated as we continue our mission to foster the opportunity for children from Boston and from the suburbs to develop a deeper understanding of each other, to promote school diversity, to close the achievement gap, and to overcome racial barriers."

Patrick Kimble served as Board Chair since 2019

With the passing of the Board Chair baton, METCO thanks former Board Chair Patrick A. Kimble for his significant, tireless leadership and commitment to METCO through a period of wide-ranging change and growth. The entire organization applauds him for his wise counsel and collaborative work with Boston institutions and leaders. He never missed an opportunity to help METCO achieve its goals.

"Because of Patrick we are in a new, beautiful site in Nubian Square, the center of the community we serve," said Arbaje-Thomas. "It means we can provide important programs and offer a place for our students, parents, and community leaders to meet. Patrick's help made that move possible. He also engaged the corporate real estate community in providing sponsorships, grants and donations for METCO programming. He has always been there for METCO, whenever we needed him."

Kimble is Founder and Managing Partner of Caste Capital, a Boston-based alternative investment management firm that he founded in 2021. He has over 10 years of institutional commercial real estate experience. He started his career at Boston Properties and also served as Vice President at Davis, a Boston-based real estate private equity firm. Along with his work with METCO, he is a Board Advisor for Boston Harbor Now.

A METCO alumnus, Kimble attended Lincoln schools in the METCO program and graduated from Lincoln Sudbury High School in 2008. He holds a B.S. in Economics & Information Design/Corporate Communication from Bentley University.

"Working with Milly and the METCO family has been an inspirational and rewarding experience," Kimble said. "As a METCO alum, I know what it means to Boston's children and young people to have this opportunity and I know the challenges they face. I also understand what it means for the children of the suburbs to learn and grow in a diverse environment. For me, it has been just great to work with METCO to bring about needed change and see the organization thrive and grow."