Department of Education’s “MCAS Guy” Named Deputy Commissioner- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Monday, March 28, 2005
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Department of Education’s “MCAS Guy” Named Deputy Commissioner

MALDEN - Jeffrey M. Nellhaus, who successfully led the state through the development of and administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams, has been named the state’s new Deputy Commissioner of Education.

Nellhaus, 56, is currently the state’s Associate Commissioner for Curriculum and Assessment. He will begin as the Department of Education’s second in command next week.

“I am delighted to have Jeff become my Deputy. He is the complete professional, and has distinguished himself throughout the state and the nation through his honest, forthright manner and unique expertise in the complex area of student assessment,” Driscoll said. “As a former classroom teacher, Jeff has a great relationship with the field and despite the emotional response to MCAS, he has always been well respected and admired. I look forward to working with Jeff as we continue to work to raise student achievement for all of our children.”

As Deputy, Nellhaus will work with Commissioner Driscoll to manage the agency’s internal operations, overseeing funding, resources, staffing, and grant awards. He will also work closely with district superintendents and statewide education organizations.

He replaces former Lincoln School Superintendent Mark McQuillan, who left the DOE last summer.

“I was very excited to be offered this chance to work more closely with the Commissioner and Department staff to move our schools into the next phase of Education Reform,” Nellhaus said. “This is a critical time for public education, and I am eager to broaden my focus and concentrate on areas other than assessment, including technology, school and district accountability and moving all students to proficient.”

Nellhaus was hired in 1986 by the DOE as a research analyst to work on the Education Improvement Act of 1985. He was named Director of Assessment in 1994, and was promoted to Associate Commissioner in 1999.

He currently oversees all aspects of curriculum and MCAS development, administration, scoring and reporting, and designed both the focused retest program and the MCAS appeals process. He also regularly conducts presentations and workshops for educators on assessment, and works frequently with Commissioner Driscoll to develop policy recommendations with statewide implications.

In 2002 Nellhaus received the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence, the state’s highest honor for public service. That same year he was awarded the Friend Of Education Award by the Massachusetts Secondary Schools Administrator’s Association.

His assessment expertise has earned him an international reputation. He serves on a panel in Ontario, Canada to help develop the Provincial Student Assessment Program, and on the National Validity Studies Panel through the American Institute for Research. He previously served on the Technical Advisory Committee on Standard Setting for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Prior to coming to the DOE Nellhaus traveled extensively, serving two years in the Peace Corps in India and two years managing a refugee training program in Thailand.

An avid runner and sailor, he now lives with his wife Betsy Bedell in Jamaica Plain.

Last Updated: March 28, 2005

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