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Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Members

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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.

Matt Hills
Matt Hills, Vice-Chair
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.

Tricia Canavan
Tricia Canavan
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment July 2022)

Tricia Canavan is a senior executive and former community college adjunct faculty member who currently serves as the chief executive officer of Tech Foundry, an economic development nonprofit which focuses on connecting underserved and underrepresented adults to training and placement in the information technology sector. She has provided leadership to education, workforce development and community projects in the Springfield area for many years, including serving as the co-chair of Springfield Business Leaders for Education. She was also a member of the "Portrait of a Graduate" strategic planning initiative for Springfield Public Schools.

Previously Tricia was an executive vice president of corporate relations and advocacy at United Personnel Services/Masis Staffing in Springfield. She holds a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and conducted graduate studies in American history at Boston University.

Darlene Lombos
Darlene Lombos
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment: June 2020)

Darlene Lombos is executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC) and the first woman and person of color to be elected to this top leadership position. The GBLC represents over 100,000 union members and their families within 24 cities and towns and has as its primary mission to build power for workers and progressive allies to advance the movement for social, economic, and racial justice.

Ms. Lombos is the former executive director of Community Labor United (CLU), a partnership of unions and community organizations that has successfully moved strategic campaigns to protect and promote the interests of working class families and communities of color in Greater Boston. In 2008, CLU formed the Green Justice Coalition in order to build a broader base of support for a sustainable, equitable, and clean energy economy in Massachusetts.

Ms. Lombos has been organizing around various community issues since 1996, including police accountability and home daycare justice at Direct Action for Rights and Equality in Providence, R.I. as well as transportation equity, gentrification and displacement, and education reform at Sisters in Action for Power in Portland, Ore. She brings nearly 20 years' experience in community and youth organizing, leadership development, and coalition-building to this work.

Farzana Mohamed
Farzana Mohamed
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment: July 2022)

Farzana Mohamed is a native of Nairobi, Kenya, where she was raised by parents and a community deeply committed to educational advancement. Admitted to MIT as an undergraduate, she was the first in her family to attend university. While at MIT, she participated in tutoring programs for students of diverse backgrounds. She stayed on to graduate with two masters degrees, one in Environmental Engineering and one in Urban Studies and Planning. A career in healthcare followed, first with an emphasis on strategic planning, governance, and clinical quality improvement at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and BID Hospital~Needham, and later in helping to establish clinical research and educational programs in India and Spain. For the last decade, she has focused on teaching and advising on negotiation, especially for students and young professionals, both domestically and abroad. Farzana has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts in Jamaica Plain, Board of Advisors of the Charles River Watershed Association, and the Metrowest Advisory Council of Mass Audubon Society. She has served in a variety of leadership roles, including youth education and sports programming, as well as clergy functions, in the Shia Ismaili Muslim community. She lives in Newton with her husband and son, who attends the local public elementary 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.

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

Eric Plankey is a senior from Westford Academy and a vocal advocate for youth engagement in public education. Eric served as Class President for 3 years before establishing the Westford Academy Student Senate, a branch of student government which empowers youth to engage with local government. He now serves as the first Chair of the Senate, and has worked with students in over 20 districts to establish their own Student Senates.

In late 2021, these Student Senates formed a coalition known as the Student Union of Massachusetts, an organization for which Eric is the Director. The Student Union aims to share resources among Student Senates in an effort to fight for local policy change, and the three priorities this year are 1) Sustainability 2) Financial Literacy and 3) Student Rep Voting Rights.

Eric has been a part of the State Student Advisory Council to BESE since December 2020, and he was elected chair in June of 2022. When he's not working with students on issues of educational policy, Eric works at his town's Ace Hardware, and is involved with his school's speech and debate club, DECA club, and German Honors Society.

Paymon Rouhanifard
Paymon Rouhanifard
c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(Appointment: September 2019)

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 is a parent of three in Lexington and an advocate, community organizer, and activist, speaking before government officials and policy-makers who make decisions impacting the lives of children, youth, and families.

Mary Ann has served in numerous leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels. She was first elected to Town Meeting in 2006 and to School Committee in 2009, where she served as Chair. From 2010–2012 she was president of Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and from 2011-2014 Mary Ann chaired MassPartners for Public Schools, a coalition of statewide education associations (MASC, MASS, MSSAA, MTA, AFT) and the Massachusetts PTA. In 2017 she completed a two-year term as Northeast Regional Representative on NASBE's Board of Directors.

Mary Ann continues to serve on the Leadership Team of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts and as a founding board member of the Wilkinson Young Singers Fund, a non-profit providing financial support to young singers pursuing a professional music career in the Boston area.

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, Secretary to the Board
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.

Last Updated: November 16, 2022

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

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