Welcome to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Website
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides leadership, oversight, funding, support, and accountability for the Commonwealth's 404 school districts that are charged with educating close to 1 million public school children and 20,000 adult learners each year. The commissioner is appointed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as the state's chief executive officer of public schools.
Jeff Wulfson is currently serving as Massachusetts' Acting Commissioner and is supported by the Department's chief of staff and an executive team responsible for seven key strategic areas: administration and finance, district support, educational options, instructional support, legal, planning and research, and student assessment.
The Department's work is guided by five priorities that are also included in our recently approved ESSA plan.
About Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson
Jeff Wulfson began serving as Acting Commissioner after a unanimous vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on June 27, 2017. He has been with ESE since 1995, previously serving as the Department's Chief Financial Officer, Associate Commissioner for School Finance and District Support, and most recently Deputy Commissioner. He has also served as the chairman of the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement Board since 2007. Prior to joining ESE, Jeff held management positions with the Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services and with the Office of the Inspector General. Jeff holds undergraduate and MBA degrees from Dartmouth College and an MPA degree from New York University. He is a resident of Brookline, where his two children attended public school. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, sailing, golf, and the Red Sox.
Remembering former Commissioner Mitchell Chester
View/Download MP4 [11.8MB]
Mitchell Chester was commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2008 until his untimely death from an illness in June 2017.
Commissioner Chester began his career as an elementary school teacher in Connecticut and became a middle school assistant principal and district curriculum coordinator before joining the Connecticut State Department of Education, where he oversaw curriculum and instructional programs. In 1997, he was named the executive director for accountability and assessment for Philadelphia, and in 2001, he moved to Ohio, where he served as the senior associate superintendent for policy and accountability for the Ohio Department of Education.
During his time in Massachusetts, Commissioner Chester oversaw efforts to update learning standards and statewide assessments and improve the lowest performing districts.