For Immediate Release - September 14, 2016

Governor Baker Appoints Members To Board of Early Education and Care

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced the appointment of Sheila Balboni and reappointment of Mary Walachy to the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care (EEC). Both Balboni and Walachy are expected to participate in today’s EEC board meeting in Boston.

“I am pleased to appoint two exceptionally qualified individuals in both Mary and Sheila to serve on the Commonwealth’s Board of Early Education and Care,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Their experience and proven track record of service to various communities and groups throughout their careers ensures that they will contribute valuable insight to the oversight and policy responsibilities the board provides for our early education and care students and providers.”

“Sheila’s and Mary’s professional experiences and expertise focused on supporting young children’s learning and development will be invaluable as the Board continues its work toward advancing the Commonwealth’s system of early education and care,” said Chair of the Board of Early Education and Care Nonie Lesaux. “I am eager to collaborate with them in this important effort.” 

“I look forward to working with Sheila and Mary as we continue to provide children in our state with high-quality, accessible, and affordable early education and care,” said Secretary of Education Jim Peyser. “I am thankful to Sharon Scott Chandler for her excellent service to the board and her contributions toward early education in the Commonwealth.”

About Sheila Balboni:

Sheila Balboni serves as an Executive Director of a non-profit agency, The Community Group Inc. with offices in the North Shore, Merrimack Valley. Ms. Balboni has overseen the continued growth of the agency and established a reputation as a leader in the field of education. She is an original founder of numerous non-profit education related programs including: preschool, after-school, and workforce development initiatives. She has served on numerous state level task forces and planning committees concerning policies and programs in support of quality education, such as the Governor’s Commission on School Readiness (2000). In November 2000, she received the Merrimack Valley Athena Award from the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce for her work helping professional women reach their leadership potential. In November 2001, she was recognized by the Lawrence History Center and Immigrant City Archives for her commitment to the preservation of the physical and human assets of Lawrence. She is Founding President of the Massachusetts Charter Public Schools Association, past President of the Massachusetts Association of Child Care Agencies. She serves as a Director of The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). She served as a Trustee of Northern Essex Community College. She is a Graduate of Newton College and holds Masters Degrees, including an M.Ed., from Harvard University.

About Mary Walachy:

Mary Walachy currently serves as the Executive Director of The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation in Springfield where she has directed the management of this family foundation for over fifteen years. During her time as Executive Director, Ms. Walachy has been a driving force for the organization’s agenda, including the creation of the Cherish Every Child initiative in Springfield, an initiative that focused the foundation’s resources and leadership on a range of early childhood issues.  In 2009 the Foundation expanded its Cherish Every Child initiative to include Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade, a comprehensive campaign to improve the reading proficiency of children from birth to 8 years old and aimed at the goal of all of Springfield’s 3rd graders achieving reading proficiency. Walachy also created the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success, a collaboration of over 12 funders who have collectively raised several million dollars in support of early literacy and reading success.  Mary was also the leading architect in the creation of Springfield Business Leaders for Education (SBLE), a group of over 40 local employers concerned about and committed to improving educational attainment from pre-school through K-12, to higher education and career training. SBLE’s goal is to ensure a skilled workforce and economic opportunity for all in the community.

About the Board of Early Education and Care:

The Board of Early Education and Care oversees the administration of early education and care and out-of-school time programs in Massachusetts. Under the Board's oversight and regulations, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) licenses child care programs, residential programs, and adoption/foster care placement agencies; provides financial assistance for over 56,000 children to attend high-quality programs that support their growth, development and learning; and provides information and referral services, inclusive programming for children with special needs, parenting and family support, and professional development opportunities for early educators. The Board of Early Education and Care's mission is to provide a system of early education and care and out-of-school time in Massachusetts that provides all children with the necessary foundation for healthy and positive educational development and lifelong success. For more information on the Board of Early Education and Care, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/departments-and-boards/board-of-early-education-and-care/.

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