For Immediate Release - July 27, 2010


New members bring classroom experience, standards expertise and advocacy for underserved populations

BOSTON - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced the appointment of two new members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education noting their unique perspective and deep experience in public education.

The Governor appointed Dr. James McDermott of Clark University and Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Chief Executive Officer of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, to the Board charged with setting the policy for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the state's nearly one million public school students in grades Kindergarten - 12.

"Massachusetts is a national leader in education based on our success with students through high expectations and rigorous accountability," said Governor Patrick. "We remain committed to the hard work that has led to our outstanding achievement and recognize that there is still work to be done. Jim and Vanessa have decades of experience in helping children reach new levels and will provide powerful voices as we work to fulfill the promise of public education."

"As our Administration continues to improve our public education system and close the achievement gap, the years of experience of both Jim and Vanessa will be a great complement for our vision, and also an effective asset on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

In January, Governor Patrick signed the historic Achievement Gap Act of 2009, his education reform bill aimed at closing achievement gaps, improving schools and ensuring excellence and equity for all students. The most sweeping change to education since the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993, the bill was the culmination of two years of work capped off with the release of the Readiness Project, Governor Patrick's vision for a transformed education system in Massachusetts. The law includes new rules, tools and supports to turn around underperforming schools, doubles the spending cap on charter schools in the state's lowest performing districts and promotes innovation for all while expanding school choice for students and their families.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has been hard at work developing the policies to fully realize the Governor's education priorities and cement the Commonwealth's standing as the leading education state in the nation.

Dr. McDermott has a nearly 40-year teaching career focused exclusively on improving public education for urban students. A classroom teacher for over 30 years, Dr. McDermott was the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in 1988. He worked for five years as an English teacher at the University Park Campus School in Worcester, an internationally recognized model for urban education with outstanding results in student achievement.

Dr. McDermott served on the Massachusetts State Framework Committee beginning in 1993 where he helped develop the state's first standards in English Language Arts. Beginning in 1995, he served on the Assessment Development Committee charged with designing the state's first assessment to measure student achievement toward those standards. Dr. McDermott has remained active in developing, sharpening, implementing and measuring English standards through his work as a teacher, instructor, curriculum developer and advisor at the local and state level while also helping to advise other states on their English standards.

He is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Central Massachusetts Writing Project, and for seven years served as the English Language Arts Liaison for the City of Worcester during which time he led the task force for developing an articulated K-12, portfolio-driven curriculum.

Dr. McDermott continues his clinical work as an Assistant Professor at Clark University. His work focuses on school improvement strategies in the Hiatt-Main South Secondary School Collaborative between University Park Campus School, South High Community School and the new secondary Claremont Academy.

"The highest of standards is to develop a thinking curriculum for every child in every classroom built solidly on rigorous content, tapping into each teacher's and child's ability to imagine and inspire and innovate," said Dr. McDermott.

Dr. Calderón-Rosado has focused her entire career on improving the lives of the Commonwealth's burgeoning Latino population as a researcher and educator and as the leader of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA). The IBA is a Boston-based community building nonprofit organization founded in 1968 to develop low- and moderate-income housing, provide support services to families and promote and sustain the achievements of the Commonwealth's Latino residents. Under Dr. Calderón-Rosado's leadership, the IBA has expanded the Pathway Technology Campus, a joint venture with Bunker Hill Community College that created a technology-infused satellite campus in Villa Victoria (IBA's affordable housing community), and has increased IBA's arts and culture programs to anchor it as New England's prime Latino arts hub.

Dr. Calderón-Rosado has deep roots in education having served as a member of the Turnaround Leadership Stakeholder Group of the Blackstone Elementary School in Boston and taught third grade in her native Puerto Rico after earning her bachelor's degree in elementary education. She completed extensive research and written on areas impacting the lives of underserved children and families. Her work has endeavored to explore, identify and disseminate proven strategies for empowering and enabling African American and Latino residents -- especially women -- to become better advocates for themselves and access vital services.

She is a trained gerontologist having earned her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts-Boston where she worked on comparing the support for elderly residents from different ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Calderón-Rosado's scientific work has been published in many letters and professional journals. Additionally, she has lectured courses on social work and at area institutions of higher education.

Dr. Calderón-Rosado is a 2009 Barr Foundation Fellow and has been named as one of the 100 most influential people in the Latino Community by El Planeta Newspaper in 2006, 2007 and 2008. She serves on many professional boards and advisory groups across the city of Boston and the entire state.

"I am deeply honored in being appointed to the Commonwealth's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education by Governor Patrick," said Dr. Calderón-Rosado. "This is an exciting time for Massachusetts, as it implements changes in our education system. Along with my knowledge and experience, I hope to bring an important community-based perspective to the deliberations and decision-making of this Board."

"Jim's track record of success spans his decades of work as a classroom teacher and a standards expert and is a tremendous asset to the Board as we continue our work to improve teaching and learning for all students," said Secretary Reville. "Likewise, Vanessa is a proven leader with deep roots in the Latino community and years of success in improving the lives of children and families. Together, they will strengthen the Board's work to ensure all students are educated to the highest possible standard."

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester agreed.

"I welcome Drs. Calderon-Rosado and McDermott to the Board, and look forward to working with them closely," said Commissioner Chester. "Our Board plays a critically important role in developing policy for our public schools. Dr. McDermott's experience in the classroom and Dr. Calderon-Rosado's expertise in connecting communities with schools are among the assets they will bring to our discussions."

Dr. McDermott and Dr. Calderón-Rosado replace outgoing Board members Sandra Stotsky and Tom Fortmann whose terms expired this year. Governor Patrick, Secretary Reville and Commissioner Chester expressed their deep gratitude to the outgoing members for their enthusiasm and many contributions to the Board over their terms of service.

For more information on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, please visit