Former Commissioner Driscoll Named NASBE's Policy Leader of the Year- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Friday, October 12, 2007
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106

Former Commissioner Driscoll Named NASBE's Policy Leader of the Year

Philadelphia, PA - Recently retired Commissioner David P. Driscoll was honored for his more than four decades in education on Friday when he was named Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

Driscoll retired on August 31 after 43 years as an educator, including eight as the state's 22nd Education Commissioner. Popular with both educators and students, he was best known for his unwavering devotion to children, his credibility and effectiveness in working with educators, parents and political leaders, his insistence on fairness and equity and his commitment to holding all students to high standards and expectations.

"David Driscoll has been the most forceful and effective advocate for the interests of children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over the past decade," said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburne. "His success stemmed from his ability to cross political lines and rally stakeholders and the public to support high academic standards and rigorous accountability for the ultimate benefit of students."

As Commissioner, Driscoll oversaw the development of the state's curriculum frameworks, implementation and expansion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the development of the state's School and District Accountability System and the development and administration of the Educator Certification Test and new licensure regulations.

These initiatives and others have led to consistent annual improvement in student achievement as measured by state standards (MCAS), national measures (NAEP, SAT and AP), and international tests (TIMMS). In both 2005 and 2007 Massachusetts was named the only state to ever earn the highest scaled score in the nation on all four NAEP exams in one year, a feat highlighted by national education leaders as extraordinary.

Nationally, Driscoll served on the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), the National Commission on Education and the Economy's New Commission on Skills and the American Workforce, and is the past president of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

"David Driscoll was an extraordinarily gifted policy leader for Massachusetts," said Board of Education Chairman Paul Reville. "His political and interpersonal skills, his passion for children and his courage to champion tough policy changes have justifiably earned him broad, national recognition as an outstanding leader."

Acting Education Commissioner Jeffrey Nellhaus agreed.

"David was a Commissioner's Commissioner," Nellhaus said. "When the pressure was on to bend on the state's graduation standard, he refused to blink, and stood firm. As a result students today are getting a better education in our public schools than ever before. He never stopped believing in our students, and they rose to the challenge."

Since Driscoll's retirement, more than 300 people have contributed a total of nearly $15,000 to the newly created David P. Driscoll Scholarship Fund. Students interested in pursuing a career in teaching will be eligible for the annual award. Contributions can be sent to the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, 132 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111.

Last Updated: October 12, 2007

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