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Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Members

How to Contact the Board

Katherine Craven
Katherine Craven, Chair
Babson College
Chief Administrative Officer
231 Forest Street
Babson Park, MA 02457-0310
(Appointment: August 2014)

Katherine Craven currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of Babson College, one of the nation's leading business colleges. Katherine began her career as a budget director and policy advisor to the Massachusetts House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. Craven was named Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the newly created Massachusetts School Building Authority in 2004, where she won plaudits for her effective management and leadership. While leading the School Building Authority, Craven was also named First Deputy Treasurer of the Commonwealth. Craven left the School Building Authority and the Treasurer's Office in 2011 when she was appointed Executive Director of the UMass Building Authority and Assistant Vice President for Capital Finance for the University of Massachusetts. Craven received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Harvard University. She is a resident of Brookline, where she lives with her husband and five children. Her appointment fills the vacancy left by Board member Beverly Holmes, who stepped down from the Board last year. Craven fills the business seat on the Board.

James Morton
James Morton, Vice Chair
YMCA of Greater Boston
316 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(Appointment: October 2013)

James O'S. Morton is the 13th President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston. James joined the Greater Boston Y in 2015 after serving at YMCAs in Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA YMCAs. Prior to joining the YMCA of Greater Boston, James served as President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford where the Y experienced double digit growth in contributions; developed innovative programming; improved the membership engagement experience; and built many collaborative relationships. He led a successful $15 million capital campaign and launched a new strategic plan to guide the work of the organization.

He also has a deep personal and professional connection to work force development and education having served as a leader to two work force development agencies and was an educator in the Springfield, MA public school system.

James earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and a Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law. He is a current member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, serves on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and is a trustee of Springfield College. In addition, he has served on numerous YMCA of the USA committees and task forces around brand management, executive leadership and multiculturalism.

James has a compelling personal history that exemplifies the positive impact that the Y makes. With an African-American father and mother of Irish descent, James laughingly often introduces himself as "Black Irish", and his background and personality provide him with a unique ability to forge meaningful connections with everyone that he meets. James is a world class runner and continues to run competitively. In 2008, James was the national Master's champion and #2 in the world in the 800 meter, in his age bracket.

Amanda Fernandez
Amanda Fernandez
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment: September 2017)

Amanda is the CEO and co-founder of Latinos for Education, the first Latino-founded and led social enterprise solely dedicated to creating leadership pathways for emerging Latino leaders in the education sector. She has over 25 years of work experience in the private and nonprofit sectors with focus on talent, leadership and Latino community engagement. She currently serves on the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees, the RISE Colorado Advisory Board and CSC Consulting advisory board based in Chicago. She is a Fall 2015 Aspen Institute Pahara Fellow and recently delivered the convocation speech at Boston University School of Education graduation. Amanda holds an M.S. in Education from Fordham University and a BA from Western Illinois University.

Matt Hills
Matt Hills
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148

Matt Hills served on the Newton School Committee from 2010-2018, during which time he was Chair of the School Committee and Chair of the collective bargaining team. He is a Managing Director at LLM Capital Partners, a private equity firm. Matt's career has been in private equity, investment banking and strategy consulting. He has served on public and private corporate and non-profit Boards in the U.S., Canada and Israel.

Matt has been active in Newton's community and public school affairs for many years. Matt and his wife Lisa have four children, all of whom were Newton Public Schools K-12 students. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Michael Moriarty
Michael Moriarty
OneHolyoke Community Development Corporation
70 Lyman Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
(Appointment: September 2015)

Michael Moriarty is a lifelong resident of Holyoke, where he served for 13 years on the school committee. He was instrumental in the formation of the Holyoke Early Literacy Initiative, a community wide collaborative focused on increasing the number of students that are proficient in reading by the end of third grade. He has also been a vocal advocate for arts education.

In 2013, Attorney Moriarty was named the executive director of a community development corporation based in Holyoke. OneHolyoke Community Development Corporation is a mission driven non-profit that believes every resident of Holyoke should live in a dignified home and a safe, attractive neighborhood. Prior to joining the company, he was a practicing attorney focused on real estate and civil matters. In the 1980's, he was a teacher at Holyoke's William R. Peck Junior High School.

He is a graduate of the Catholic University of America (BA '85) and Western New England University School of Law (JD '93). He is married to Attorney Susan Turcotte Moriarty. They are the parents of two children, who like Mike, are proud products of the Holyoke Public Schools.

James Peyser
James Peyser
Secretary of Education
Executive Office of Education
One Ashburton Place, Room 1403
Boston, MA 02108

Jim Peyser was appointed Secretary of Education by Governor Charlie Baker in January 2015. He is the former Managing Director at NewSchools Venture Fund, a non-profit grant-making firm that seeks to transform public education in high-need urban communities by supporting innovative education entrepreneurs. From 1999 through 2006, Secretary Peyser served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Prior to joining NewSchools, Secretary Peyser was Education Advisor to Governors Bill Weld, Jane Swift and Mitt Romney, where he helped shape state policy regarding standards and assessments, school accountability, and charter schools. In 1995, he served as Under Secretary of Education and Special Assistant to Governor Weld for Charter Schools. He spent seven years as Executive Director of Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, where he helped to launch the Massachusetts Charter School Resource Center, which supported the development of the state's first charter schools. Prior to joining Pioneer, Jim held various positions at Teradyne, Inc. in Boston, an electronic test equipment manufacturer.

Jim holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School (Tufts University) and a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University.

Paymon Rouhanifard
Paymon Rouhanifard
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148

Paymon Rouhanifard is the co-founder and CEO of Propel America, an organization that empowers students with the skills, experiences, credentials, and social networks necessary to transition from high school to an upwardly-mobile first job within one-year of high school graduation.

Previously, he served as the superintendent of Camden, New Jersey from 2013 to 2018 where he helped lead improvements in student outcomes, reductions in out-of-school suspensions, stronger family engagement, and critical capital investments in school facilities.

Rouhanifard started his career in New York City as a 6th grade teacher in West Harlem and went on to work in the central office of the New York City Department of Education. Prior to that, Rouhanifard worked as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs and a private equity associate.

He holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mary Ann Stewart
Mary Ann Stewart
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment: August 2014)

Mary Ann Stewart was appointed Parent Representative to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education by (then) Governor Patrick in August 2014. From 2010-2012, she served as President of the Massachusetts PTA and continues to serve on the state PTA Board as a Member-at-Large. She also serves as a member of the National Advisory Council for Media Literacy Now.

Mary Ann is a parent of three and resides in Lexington. She has been active in the schools and in town government, serving as an elected representative to Town Meeting since 2006 and on the School Committee from 2009-2014 where she lead as Chair from 2011-2012.

Mary Ann has served in numerous leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels. She is a champion of children, youth, and families, and her experience in organizational development and passion for advocacy and creativity has leveraged engagement in professional and volunteer settings alike. Mary Ann received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts for Music Education.

Matthew Tibbetts
Matthew Tibbitts
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148

Matthew Tibbitts is the student member of the Board and subsequently is the chair of the State Student Advisory Council. He is currently a senior at Ludlow High School where he serves as the Vice-President of the senior class, President of the Student Council, President of the National Honor Society, and President of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Additionally, he has the pleasure to serve on advisory boards for both the Ludlow CARES Coalition—an organization which provides education, support, and awareness to help combat drug abuse in the community—and the Hampden County District Attorney's Office, to help make his community safer.

In his spare time, Matthew enjoys playing in his high school's drumline where he plays the snare drum. He has been playing various forms of percussion for over eight years and is a passionate advocate for fine arts education.

Matthew is currently a clerk at Gove Law Office and looks forward to eventually obtaining a law degree and working as a Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State.

Martin West
Martin West
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment: September 2017)

Martin West is professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and editor-in-chief of Education Next, a journal of opinion and research on education policy. He previously worked as senior advisor to the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, taught at Brown University, and was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution. West received a B.A. in History from Williams College, an M.Phil. in Economic and Social History from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University. He lives in Newton with his wife and two sons who attend public schools.

Jeffrey C. Riley
Jeffrey C. Riley
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148

Jeffrey C. Riley was appointed Massachusetts' 24th commissioner of elementary and secondary education in early 2018 and began serving as commissioner on April 5, 2018. A Massachusetts native, Mr. Riley's experience spans urban and suburban districts and includes teaching in Baltimore, Md., being principal of Tyngsboro Middle School, and being principal of Boston's Edwards Middle School. In January 2012, Commissioner Riley was appointed superintendent/receiver of the Lawrence Public Schools. During his more than six years there, he led a team that brought major improvements by shifting more resources and autonomy to the school level, expanding the school day, increasing enrichment opportunities, and ensuring all schools had great leaders and teachers.

Commissioner Riley lives in Boston and holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Pomona College in California, a master's degree in counseling from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and a master's degree in school administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University.

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

Directions

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