For Immediate Release - June 07, 2011

Paul Toner Appointed to Board of Higher Education

Massachusetts Teachers Association President will fill role of labor representative

BOSTON - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick has appointed Paul Toner, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, to the Board of Higher Education to fill the labor position on the Board. The Board of Higher Education defines the mission and sets policy for the Massachusetts system of public higher education, including fifteen community colleges, nine state universities and five campuses of UMass.

"I am pleased to appoint Paul Toner to the Board of Higher Education and look forward to his contributions as we work to ensure that our students receive a world-class education," said Governor Patrick. "Paul has been a vocal advocate for the students educated by his members and has been a strong partner in advancing a progressive education reform agenda."

President Toner has been president of the 107,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association since July 2010 after serving for four years as vice president. He taught middle school social studies for over a decade and also served as president of the Cambridge Teachers Association.

President Toner graduated from Boston University's College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations and earned a master's degree in secondary education from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. While teaching full time, President Toner earned his juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School at night. He is a resident of Cambridge where he lives with his wife, Susan, and their two young children, Grace and Jack.

"Paul Toner has a strong record of putting the needs of students first," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I am confident he will continue to advocate for policies that maximize teaching and learning."

President Toner will fill the role of labor representative on the Board of Higher Education. State statute requires at least one member of the Board to come from the world of labor. The Massachusetts Teachers Association represents faculty and staff members from the Commonwealth's system of public higher education. He replaces James Coyle who has served on the Board since 2006.

"I look forward to working with my fellow Board members to continue to push the Commonwealth toward excellence for all students," said President Toner. "Our 29 public campuses play a vital role in the development and support of young minds in every corner of the state by providing a top-notch, challenging education to many of our state's residents who more often than their peers stay here and contribute to our communities and strengthen our economy."

"The Board of Higher Education is working aggressively to increase and report on the quality of our entire system of public higher education while raising the profile of the terrific work already taking place statewide," said Board of Higher Education Chair Dr. Charles Desmond. "We welcome President Toner to the dialogue and look forward to working with him on the critical issues that impact our students."

"President Toner brings a breadth and depth of experience that spans the worlds of elementary and secondary and higher education," said Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Richard M. Freeland. "The Commonwealth is very actively engaged right now on a groundbreaking agenda in public higher education and his contributions will have an immediate impact on our work."