The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Special Board Meeting on Early Literacy

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
October 10, 2014

We are looking forward to an informative presentation and discussion about early literacy at the Board's special meeting on Monday, October 20th. Department staff will provide an overview of the Commonwealth's early literacy outcomes and current literacy initiatives. We will then have an opportunity to interact with two presenters:

  1. Tara Christian Clark has served as principal of Zanetti Montessori School in Springfield, Massachusetts since 2010. During her tenure, the Zanetti School rose from a Level 4 DESE designation to Level 1, and was recognized as an MCAS commendation school. In 2013-14, 65.4 percent of the 413 students at the Zanetti School were low income and 67.3 percent were classified as "high-needs." During her twenty years with Springfield Public Schools, Ms. Clark has also served as principal at the Mary Lynch and Dorman Schools and as a National Board Certified special education teacher at Sumner Avenue School. Ms. Clark earned a Master's degree in special education, a C.A.G.S. in reading, and a certificate in educational leadership. She served on the Department's Educator Evaluation Data Advisory Committee, is a member of Springfield's instructional leadership team, and taught graduate courses in reading and special education at American International College and Bay Path College.

  2. Dr. Nonie K. Lesaux is Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Professor Lesaux leads a research program that focuses on increasing opportunities for students from diverse linguistic, cultural, and economic backgrounds in today's classrooms. Her research on reading and vocabulary development and on instructional strategies to prevent reading difficulties, has implications for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. Professor Lesaux served as senior research associate of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Youth, was a member of the Reading First Advisory Committee for the U.S. Secretary of Education, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and earned a five-year award from the W.T. Grant Foundation in support of her research on English language learners in urban public schools. Currently, with Massachusetts Secretary of Education Malone, she is Co-Chair of the Commonwealth's Early Literacy Expert Panel.