Press Release

Press Release Governor Baker Names New Chair of Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Chairman Sagan to be replaced by board member Craven, Hills named to vacated seat
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Education

Media Contact for Governor Baker Names New Chair of Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Colleen Quinn, Communications Director, Executive Office of Education

Boston — Governor Charlie Baker today announced Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chair Paul Sagan is stepping down after four years in the role, and Board member Katherine Craven will replace him as the new chair.  Governor Baker also appointed Matthew Hills to take the board seat vacated by Chair Sagan’s departure. Members of the Board, including the chair, are appointed by the Governor.

Katherine Craven, first appointed to the 11-member Board in 2014, will be sworn in by the Governor as the new chair next month. Previously, she was the founding executive director and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, appointed in 2004. Currently, she works at Babson College as the chief administrative and financial officer of the private college.

Chairman Sagan was first appointed to the Board in March 2015. During his tenure, he oversaw the implementation of new curriculum standards in math, English Language Arts, and history, as well as the creation of standards for digital literacy and computer science. He also oversaw the successful launch of the next generation MCAS test in 2017, and led a search for a new commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 2017 and 2018.

“We are thankful for Paul’s hard work and dedication to improved standards, high-quality assessments and overall accountability to ensure all Massachusetts students have the chance to achieve academically,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Katherine’s expertise in school finance will provide valuable insight as we work to increase investments in our schools to help close achievement gaps among low-income students, special education and English language learners.”

“We thank Chairman Sagan for his thoughtful leadership and steadfast focus on improving the Commonwealth’s public education system over the last four years,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working with Katherine and Matt in their new roles so we can continue to prepare all Massachusetts students for success after finishing high school.”

“Paul Sagan will leave a lasting legacy as Board chair for the past four years.  During his tenure, the board updated our curriculum frameworks, developed and deployed the next generation MCAS, redesigned the school accountability system, and hired a new commissioner, among other major accomplishments,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “Equally important, Paul navigated the Board and Department through the difficult and uncertain days following the untimely death of former Commissioner Mitchell Chester.  Paul’s steady and thoughtful leadership will be missed by all of us, but the positive impact he has had on the lives of our children will endure for years to come.  All of us owe Paul a deep debt of gratitude.”

“Katherine Craven is truly a worthy successor to Paul Sagan.  Katherine is an experienced educational leader who cares deeply about expanding opportunity for every community and every child in the Commonwealth.  Her deep knowledge of state government and her commonsense approach to policymaking and problem solving will be a tremendous asset to the Board and the Department in her new role.  I am so thankful for Katherine’s willingness to accept this new challenge,” Secretary Peyser added.

Paul Sagan’s last Board meeting was today.

“The Department and Massachusetts students have benefited from Paul Sagan’s steady leadership on topics as varied as revised learning standards, district turnaround, and next-generation assessments,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “While I will miss his guidance, we are lucky to have Katherine Craven as his successor. Her knowledge and experience have already made her a strong member of this Board.”

“I am honored and grateful for the support of the Baker-Polito administration. I look forward to continuing the great work of Chairman Sagan and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to promote forward-thinking policies providing educational opportunity for nearly 1 million children of all different learning styles and socio-economic backgrounds across the Commonwealth to succeed in an ever-changing world,” Board Member Katherine Craven said.

“I am extremely proud of the work this Board has done over the past four years maintaining the highest standards in the country for public education while working to improve the educational outcomes for children in the Commonwealth,” Chair Sagan said. “It is an honor to serve here, and I am confident that this Board and Commissioner Riley are committed to staying focused on bringing outstanding opportunities for learning to all of the nearly 1 million public school students across Massachusetts.” 

About Katherine Craven:
Katherine Craven currently serves as the chief administrative and financial officer of Babson College, one of the nation's leading business colleges located in Wellesley. She began her career in state budget analysis, planning and policy, helping deliver more than 10 state budgets for the Massachusetts House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means.

In 2004, she was appointed as the founding executive director and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, 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 is a member of many local government and community organization boards, such as the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and Women in Public Finance. Craven received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Harvard University. She lives in Brookline, with her husband and five children.

About Matthew Hills:
Matthew Hills is a former member and chair of the Newton School Committee. He was first elected in 2009 and served until 2018. Throughout his career, he has worked in consulting, investment banking, and private equity industries. Currently, he is a managing director at LLM Capital Partners in Boston. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts from Brandeis University and a masters’ in business administration from Harvard Business School.

About Paul Sagan:
Paul Sagan is currently a managing director at General Catalyst, a venture capital firm in Cambridge. From 1998 until 2013, he was a member of the executive team of Akamai Technologies, Inc., a leading internet services company based in Cambridge, where his responsibilities included serving as CEO, president and chief operating officer. Prior to joining Akamai, Sagan served in various executive positions at Time Warner Cable and Time Inc., where he helped to found several internet businesses. Sagan was also a senior advisor to the World Economic Forum, and he has served on the boards of numerous companies, advisory panels and educational organizations, including for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, the Alliance for Business Leadership, Massachusetts Business Leaders for Charter Public Schools, and the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. 

About the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education:
The mission of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is to strengthen the Commonwealth's public education system so that every student is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, compete in the global economy, and understand the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, and in so doing, to close all proficiency gaps.

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


Media Contact for Governor Baker Names New Chair of Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Executive Office of Education 

From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with an education that creates opportunities.

While Massachusetts' students rank first in the nation on many educational measures, the Executive Office of Education strives to strengthen the foundations of education reform, empower schools and educators, and develop pathways to college and careers so all students in the Commonwealth can succeed, regardless of their zip code.

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