Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Swears in Members of Early Education and Care Board

For immediate release:
  • Department of Early Education and Care
  • Executive Office of Education

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Swears in Members of Early Education and Care Board

Alana Davidson, Director of Communications

Education Secretary Tutwiler swears Chair Belsito, Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga, and Jamella Lee, who were reappointed to the Board of Early Education and Care.

Boston — Massachusetts Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler swore in three reappointed members to the Board of Early Education and Care today. This included Board Chair Paul Belsito, member at large Jamella Lee and parent/guardian member Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga. The Board of Early Education and Care sets policies and regulations related to the state’s early education and care programs and services.

“As a member of the Board of Early Education and Care, I have had the privilege of working with Chair Belsito, Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga and Jamella Lee. Together, the Board and Administration have made progress our joint efforts in providing all Massachusetts families with affordable and accessible early education and care,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler. “It was an honor to swear them in today and I look forward to continuing the work together.”

“I am grateful for Chair Belsito’s leadership and EEC’s partnership with the Board. We made significant, nation leading efforts this year, including significant improvements to our Child Care Financial Assistance programs, as well as transformative changes to our rates for child care providers,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw. “I am excited to continue these efforts with Paul as our Chair and am grateful for the ongoing commitment and critical voices of Board members Jamella Lee and Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga.”

In April 2023, the Board of Early Education and Care unanimously approved the Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) revised Child Care Financial Assistance regulations for promulgation. The updated regulations and policies simplified the application process for parents, reduced paperwork for families and early education programs, and better support families experiencing homeless, families with disabilities and families facing domestic violence.

Further, in January 2024, the Board unanimously approved EEC’s transformative changes to how the state reimburses early education and care providers who accept child care financial assistance, known as rates. These changes made significant progress on addressing long-standing inequities in rate amounts by geographic region and age group of children served. It also made Massachusetts one of the first states to use the cost of providing care as a metric for setting rates, using this metric for the first time.

“I am honored to continue serving as Chair of the Board of Early Education and Care. Our collective commitment to ensuring every child in Massachusetts has access to high-quality early education is unwavering. The recent advancements in financial assistance and provider reimbursement policies reflect our team’s dedication to equity and excellence in early childhood education. I look forward to building on this progress with my colleagues on the board, and in partnership with the department and the Healey-Driscoll Administration,” said Paul Belsito, Chair of the Board of Early Education and Care.

"It is an honor to continue to serve on the MA EEC Board. The investments in and commitment to early education and care by the Healey-Driscoll administration, legislature, EEC staff, providers, partners, parents, and board is a beautiful example of a state that understands that the measure of the soul of our society is how we treat our most vulnerable - our youngest learners. For this, I am grateful and hopeful for the future of MA," said Jamella Lee, Board of Early Education and CareMember at Large.

"It has been my great honor to represent the voices of parents and guardians on the Board of Early Education and Care. I look forward to continuing this vital work of ensuring access to quality care for more children across the Commonwealth in partnership with Secretary Tutwiler, Commissioner Kershaw, and the Healey-Driscoll administration," said Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Board of Early Education and Care Parent/Guardian Member.

Learn more about the Board of Early Education and Care and the members’ full bios

Paul Belsito, Board Chair

Paul Belsito is the Executive Director of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation and works to advance the Foundation’s work and mission in Hampden County and reaffirm the Foundation’s commitment to excellence, innovation, and equity in education. Paul has served on several boards and commissions over his career and currently serves on the Board of Educare Springfield, the board of advisors for the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and a member of the steering committee of the Early Childhood Funder Collaborative. Committed to racial and gender equity, he is an alum of Capital Collaborative, a program of Camelback Ventures, which brings together leading philanthropists across the country to deepen their commitment to equitable grantmaking.

Jamella Lee, Member at Large

Jamella worked at Jumpstart for the past five years, as VP of People & Culture and Chief People Office, providing human capital leadership to the organization as it sought to build a more equitable education system for young children. Prior to these roles, she managed the Clinton Democracy Fellowship at City Year in South Africa, worked as vice president at the Ohio Charter School Association and Concept Schools in Chicago and served as chair of the Global Studies and Service Department and dean of Global and Diversity Education at the Taft School. Previously she had also served in many roles throughout her career, including as a service leader and elementary and literacy teacher. Jamella earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University and her master’s at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received her Juris Doctor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and received numerous awards from the University and Columbus Bar Foundation.

Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Parent/Guardian Member

Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga will be starting as Chief Development Officer at the national organization MENTOR later this month, after working at Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) for 15 years. At EMPath, Nicki served as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement. She focused much of her work at the organization on children’s and family issues, with a particular interest in the interdependence of family members in moving out of poverty. She led the development of EMPath’s intergenerational model, The Intergen Project, and co-authored a brief on the theory and practice of intergenerational antipoverty efforts. She also has a strong interest in coaching, both as a vehicle for economic mobility and to develop staff who are serving families. Before joining EMPath, she developed children’s programming at various for-profit and nonprofit organizations and became very interested in how poverty affects children and youth. Nicki completed a master’s in public administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she was awarded a Gleitsman Fellowship through the Center for Public Leadership. She was born and raised in Massachusetts, and currently lives in East Boston with her partner and their two young children.


Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Swears in Members of Early Education and Care Board

  • Department of Early Education and Care 

    The Department of Early Education and Care's mission is to support the healthy growth and development of all children by providing high quality programs and resources for families and communities.
  • Executive Office of Education 

    From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with a high-quality education regardless of their circumstance, zip code, or socioeconomic status.
  • Help Us Improve  with your feedback

    Please do not include personal or contact information.