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Commissioners & Staff

MCSW is comprised of 19 volunteer commissioners, three dedicated staff members and seasonal interns.

MCSW is composed of women from diverse backgrounds, representing counties and municipalities from across the state. Their commitment to improving the status of women in society is evident within their professional endeavors, and their contributions to MCSW stand true to its underlying mission. Their biographies highlighting some of their notable work within and outside of MCSW are linked below.

All Commissioners are appointed by one of the four appointing authorities: Five Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, four by the Senate President, four by Speaker of the House, and six by the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The Commissioners are sworn in by the Secretary of State or another authorized designee and serve for up-to 3 terms (renewable). 

Interested in becoming appointed as a Commissioner? Contact one of the appointing authorities to find out their respective policies and timelines for appointments. Prospective Commissioners may also contact Executive Director, Yarice Hidalgo (, for additional information regarding the nomination process and expected responsibilities.

As a Commission, we are empowered to: 

  • Study, review and report on the status of women in the Commonwealth
  • Advise executive and legislative bodies on the effect of proposed legislation on women
  • Inform leaders of business, education, health care, state and local governments and the communications media of issues pertaining to women
  • Provide referrals and serve as a resource of information on issues pertaining to women
  • Identify and recommend qualified women for positions at all levels of government
  • Promote and facilitate collaboration among local women's commissions and among women’s organizations in the state
  • Serve as a liaison between government and private interest groups concerned with issues affecting women
  • Assess programs and practices in all state agencies as they affect women

    Commissioner Bios

    Denella Clark

    Denella Clark, Hyde Park 

    MCSW Chair

    Eastern Regional Commission Liaison

    Denella Clark, Hyde Park resident and President and CEO of Boston Arts Academy (BAA) Foundation, has been re-elected as Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW). Chairwoman Clark was first appointed to the Commission in 2015 and reappointed in 2018 by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. She was elected to Chair by her fellow Commissioners, and is the first Woman of Color to lead the Commission. Clark’s past roles include serving as Vice Chair and Treasurer.

    Chairwoman Clark shares, “The Commission is ever grateful to our partners and colleagues, including the members of state administration and the legislature, who collaborated with us during this challenging time in order to listen to the voices of women and advocate for legislation that uplifts our voices. We look forward to expanding our research and efforts in line with our mission to advance the status of women and girls in Massachusetts.”

     A nonprofit executive, mother, and philanthropist, Chairwoman Clark is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion. Chairwoman Clark states, “As the first Black woman to chair the Commission, one of my goals is to amplify legislation that will directly benefit and improve the lives of women of color.”


    Audrey Hall, Framingham

    Audrey Hall, Framingham

    MCSW Vice Chair

    COVID-19 Action Committee Chair 

    MetroWest Regional Commission Liaison

    Audrey Hall was recently elected by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) to the office of Vice Chair. Hall was appointed to the Commission in 2018 by Senate President Karen E. Spilka. She served as Vice Chair of the MCSW’s Legislative and Public Policy Committee from 2019 to 2020 and as Chair of the MCSW’s Budget and Personnel Committee from 2020 to 2021. In March of 2020 after Governor Baker declared a state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, Hall was elected to serve as Chair of the MCSW’s COVID-19 Action Committee. Hall is a Strategic Communications Consultant with 35 years of Executive Leadership in Marketing and Operations in the private and public sectors. She is the President of the Board of Directors of Framingham Public Access Television and the Executive Producer and Host of The Audrey Hall Show on YouTube, RCN, Verizon and Comcast. Hall is a Mayoral appointee to the Framingham Council on Aging, serving as Clerk. Hall served as an elected town meeting member in Framingham for 19 years and 12 years as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. 

    Speaking about her new role as Vice Chair, Hall said, “I am relentlessly passionate about justice, equality, and integrity in government. It’s an honor and a privilege to put that passion to work in this leadership role at the MCSW on behalf of all women and girls in the Commonwealth.”



    Dr. Sarah Glenn-Smith

    Sarah Glenn-Smith, Holliston

    MCSW Treasurer

    Budget and Personnel Committee Chair

    Dr. Sarah Glenn-Smith was appointed to the Commission by Senate President Karen Spilka in November 2020. She has worked as a professional in the healthcare, education, technology and nonprofit arenas for more than 20 years. She is currently the President and CEO for The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham. Prior to joining TLC, Dr. Glenn-Smith worked for Kaleida Health, the largest healthcare system in Western New York, as both a CEO for their joint radiology venture, and, later, as President of Ambulatory Services. Applying her passion for education, she worked for six years at PLS 3rd Learning, an international education technology company, as Chief Operating Officer, and brings extensive experience in the conception, development and execution of strategic and tactical financial, organization and development initiatives. Dr. Glenn-Smith has also held the roles of Chief Administrative Officer for the healthcare management group, Exigence, and Executive Director of Deaf Adult Services, in Buffalo, New York. She is currently serving on the board of The Center for the Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters in the role of Treasurer. Dr. Glenn-Smith earned her Executive Master's Degree in Business Administration at State University of New York at Buffalo, and both a Masters and Doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She grew up in Southern California, and currently resides in Holliston, Massachusetts.



    Photo of Commissioner Tanisha Arena

    Tanisha Arena, Springfield

    Tanisha Arena was appointed to the Commission by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators in November 2021. Tanisha Arena is a black woman in community leadership as the executive director of ARISE for Social Justice, occupying the world’s messiest intersection, the space where race, gender, culture, identity, politics, and the law all collide. She has a passion for social justice and transparent, authentic leadership. She is the host of the award-winning podcast, Unapologetic, bringing the hard truths of our social issues to the forefront. She is a guest commentator on Vaya Con Munoz, a weekly radio show airing on 101.5 WHMP that focuses on local and national political issues. She is also a consultant for Growing A New Heart, training on Holding Space: holding affinity, anti-racism, self-education, support groups and on Dialogues Across Differences of social location, including race and ethnicity. She has deep roots in the field of anti-violence work. Prior to that, Tanisha worked in the private sector, during which time she was a mentor at True Colors, a support and advocacy organization for sexual minority youth in Hartford, CT. Tanisha holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University and a Master’s Degree in Non Profit Management from Bay Path University and recently completed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program through the University of South Florida. She is a published author, public speaker, and freelance writer.


     Rebecca Bact, Auburndale

    Rebecca Bact, Auburndale 

    Upper Middlesex Commission Co-Liaison

    Rebecca Bact, Newton resident and attorney, has been elected as MCSW Vice Chair. Bact was appointed to the Commission in 2017 by Governor Charlie Baker. From 2018-2020, Rebecca served as Secretary of MCSW and Vice Chair of the Program and Planning Committee. Rebecca is committed to advancing the interests of all women, girls, and non-binary people, and is particularly committed to hearing from and including the voices of communities of color, immigrant communities, and the LGBTQ community as to their particular needs. Outside of the Commission, Rebecca works as a lawyer, including at the firms of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and Beck Reed Riden LLP, where she represented clients in litigation, concentrating on intellectual property and appellate matters. She is also dedicated to her pro bono practice, which has focused on LGBTQ and immigrant rights.


    Photo of Commissioner Guimel DeCarvalho

    Guimel DeCarvalho, Natick


    Guimel DeCarvalho was appointed to the Commission by Senate President Karen E. Spilka in November 2021. Guimel is Wayside’s first Vice President of People and Culture and Chief Diversity Officer. Her pronouns are She/Her/Hers. Prior to her current role, she was the Program Director for Wayside’s Framingham Family Networks and worked for the Department of Children and Family Services in Compton, California. Guimel’s current role allows her to utilize her experience as a social worker while maximizing her organizational and analytical strengths. Guimel sees the position of Vice President of People and Culture and Chief Diversity Officer as an opportunity to expand upon and broaden culture, fortify communication among staff, boost staff morale, empower staff to consider their career development and prioritize and streamline process efficiencies across Wayside. 

    Guimel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and a Society of Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional. In 2019 she was awarded the Elizabeth Funk Emerging Leaders Award from the Association of Behavioral Health for her work embedding equity and inclusion across the agency. In 2020 she was named to the 50 Most Influential Business People of Color list by Newton-Needham Metrowest Regional Chamber. She speaks fluent Portuguese and lives in Natick with her wife and son.


    Jean Cotter Fox, Freetown

    Jean Fox, Freetown 

    Program and Planning Committee Chair 

    Jean Fox is the Director of Outreach for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s South Coast Rail project. Fox was appointed to the Commission by MA Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, in 2017. Heading up the public engagement and outreach effort for a major commuter rail expansion project, Fox led the South Coast Rail project through MassDOT’s environmental review and permitting process, ushering the project to construction. Jean is active in her hometown of Freetown as well as the South Coast, most recently spearheading the effort to launch and implement the Freetown Regional Food Pantry. A former Freetown Selectman, Jean has participated on numerous educational boards and committees in the South Coast. She is Chair of the Freetown-Lakeville Regional School Committee and Secretary of the Global Learning Charter Public School Board of Trustees. Fox has been active in bringing much-needed attention to the transportation needs of the region, working on a Transit Development Plan in New Bedford as well as advocating for reliable transportation for women and students to get to and from work, jobs, education, healthcare, and childcare. Fox was named a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts in 2013, and received the Lifelong Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees in 2010.


    Marianne Fleckner, Westford

    Marianne Fleckner, Westford 

    Upper Middlesex Commission Co-Liaison

    Marianne is currently the Director of Human Resources for the Town of Acton, since 2008. Before joining Acton, Marianne worked for the Commonwealth for over 20 years in various administrative capacities for 11 State Agencies, specializing in mergers from a Human Resources standpoint. She worked directly for 5 different Governors serving in such capacities as Chief Secretary and Deputy Commissioner. She appointed to the Commission by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Previous to joining the Commonwealth, Marianne worked in private industry. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Westfield State University and possesses a graduate-level Human Resources Certificate from Bentley University and an MBA certificate from UMASS Lowell. Marianne is involved with a number of organizations such as the Domestic Violence Services Network, the Center for Hope and Healing, Acton/Boxborough Rotary and the Westford J.V. Fletcher Library. Marianne also volunteers her time to the family’s bagel business, Bagel Alley, and at various Farmer’s Markets.


    Liz Friedman, Northhampton

    Liz Friedman, Northhampton 

    Hampshire-Franklin Regional Commission Liaison

    Liz Friedman MFA has served as a Commissioner since 2017, appointed by Speaker Robert DeLeo because of her ongoing commitment to perinatal women’s health and her effective advocacy on behalf of the MA Pregnant Workers Fairness amongst other critical bills. Commissioner Friedman currently serves as the Legislative Chair of the Commission and brings more than 30 years of expertise in advocacy including serving on the MA PPD Commission since its inception in 2011 and launching a national coalition for perinatal mental health. She is currently on the Advisory Boards of MA PPD Fund and It Takes A Village and is an associate at Effie’s Grace, focused on maternal-child health policy. She Co-founded MotherWoman, a reproductive justice organization in Western MA and is currently Co-Founder and Co-President, with Annette Cycon, of GPS Group Peer Support, a national organization leading communities, non-profits and state-entities in implementation of trauma-responsive and culturally co-created support groups across a spectrum of lived experiences including parenthood, incarceration, addiction/recovery, and those targeted by immigration discrimination. Currently she is launching the COVID-19 Emergency Support Program across the U.S. and internationally. In 2010, she received the Ted Women’s Award for her outstanding work on behalf of mothers and was highlighted in two award-winning documentaries on perinatal mental health, "Dark Side of the Full Moon” (2016) and “Not Carol” (2019).  Commissioner Friedman has never been more excited than in her work on the MCSW. She says, “ We have the opportunity to unite ALL women in the Commonwealth towards a collective voice as we share our experiences and partner with legislators in advocating for equity for each one of us. Now is the time. Come join us!”

    Allison Goldberg, Marblehead

    Allison Goldberg, Marblehead

    Essex County Regional Commission Co-Liaison

    Allison Goldberg was appointed to the Commission by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in 2018.  Allison currently serves as Chair of the Marketing & Communications Committee, formed in 2020 to develop the voice of the Commission as it works to bring programs and outreach to women and girls across The Commonwealth.  Past roles include serving on the Legislative, Budget & Personnel, and Program & Planning Committees.  A food and beverage entrepreneur, Commissioner Goldberg is passionate about educating women & girls about money: how to save, how to plan and how to journey along a path to self-reliance and independence.  Commissioner Goldberg lives in Marblehead.



    Photo of Commissioner Nina Liang


    Nina Liang, Quincy

    Nina Liang was appointed to the MCSW by the Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano in 2021.Nina Liang is the first and only Chinese-American City Councilor elected in her hometown of Quincy, and is currently serving as the first minority City Council President. Born in Quincy and raised by immigrant parents, she has experienced first-hand the challenges minority children and families face. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to be a part of community organizations that work to expand services to everyone in the city and those dedicated to addressing the needs of those who are new to both the language and customs of American culture. Having worked as the office manager and in operations within her family’s restaurant group, Nina also has the experience and perspective of a small business owner, helping to create jobs and opportunity locally. As City Councilor, Nina has worked to open the doors of government to every resident ensuring that their voices and concerns are heard. She had previously served on the boards of D.O.V.E, Maria Droste Counseling Services, Quincy Catholic Academy, and currently on the Thomas Crane Public Library Foundation and the State’s Asian American Commission. Working alongside community leaders, she co-founded the Quincy Women’s Network and currently serves as the Executive Director for Emerge, Massachusetts – a nonprofit organization that trains Democratic self-identifying women to run for political office across all levels of government. Her civic engagement and political experiences has taught her the importance of collaborative efforts among local organizations, businesses and public service facilities to better address the needs of a diverse population, ensuring that all voices are heard.



    Leslie-Ann McGee, Kingston


    Leslie-Ann McGee, Kingston 

    Leslie-Ann McGee is the Director of Projects and Special Initiatives, Marine Operations and Facilities at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Leslie-Ann is responsible for developing strategic vision and leadership, managing external relations and partnerships and retaining primary responsibility for organizational and program management of CMR.  She provides leadership on customer relationship management for industrial clients and government sponsors and supports CMR’s acceleration of a robust robotics program at WHOI. Ms. McGee is also the Program Manager for the Cape Cod Blue Economy Project in association with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation. She is an expert in ocean and coastal issues in both the domestic and international arena and has a diverse background working with and for state, regional, national, business and environmental entities globally. She also maintains a consulting practice through her firm, Full Sail Consulting based in Kingston, MA. Ms. McGee served as the Director of Coastal Zone Management for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, McGee was the Director of Programs for the World Ocean Council, Director of Ocean and Coastal Solutions at Battelle Memorial Institute and held state and federal positions with NOAA, the New England Fishery Management Council and the MA Department of Fish and Game. Ms. McGee is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She conducted her graduate research on Bluefin Tuna at the New England Aquarium. Leslie-Ann lives in Kingston, MA with her husband, Dan Shropshire, and their two children, Coyle and Holden. And, one very large Bernese Mountain Dog, Tanner.



    Christine Monska

    Christine Monska, Aburndale

    Christine Monska was appointed to the MCSW by the Caucus of Women Legislators in 2020. She is originally from Easthampton, but currently lives in Auburndale. Christine is the Youth Leadership Program Manager at The Clubhouse Network, a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab that brings innovative technology and inclusive leadership development to young people across the world, including sites across MA. Christine brings over ten years of experience in public policy, international relations and leadership development with a strong focus on women and girls’ empowerment. Before joining The Clubhouse Network, Christine worked across Western MA on various initiatives for women and girls. She designed and led the Young Women’s Initiative, a policy advocacy and leadership development program for young women, often systematically pushed to the margins, in Springfield. This program was a local implementation of a national program stemming from the White House Council on Women and Girls. Christine was also the District Director for former Senator Ben Downing in Pittsfield where she also sat on the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women and served as a Board Member for Berkshire County Action Council and Shout Out Loud, a small nonprofit addressing human trafficking across MA. In addition, she taught at Bard Microcollege in Holyoke, one of the nation’s first free associate degree programs for mothers whose education was disrupted by parenting and poverty. Christine also worked at The Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs, International Center for Transitional Justice’s Gender Justice Program, Bean Group Global LLC, and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Her publications, speaking engagements and workshops center on girl empowerment and policy advocacy, women in leadership across sectors and other global gender justice issues. Christine holds a B.A. in Government from Smith College, a M.S. in Global Affairs with a concentration in International Law and Human Rights from New York University, and holds Certificates in Financial Accounting, Economics for Managers and Business Statistics from Harvard Business School, a Paralegal Certificate from Boston University as well as a Certificate in Transformative Leadership in Disruptive Times from George Washington University where she currently sits on the Advisory Council.


    Shaitia Spruell, Springfield

    Shaitia Spruell, Clinton

    Legislative and Public Policy Committee Chair

    Shaitia Spruell, a proud young mom, has served as a Commissioner since 2019, appointed by the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. She currently serves as the Chair for the Legislative & Public Policy Committee. Originally from Springfield, Shaitia lives in Clinton, MA and currently works for the Office of the State Treasurer & Receiver General as the Program Manager primarily overseeing Women's Economic Empowerment Programming and Digital Financial Education Programs. Before joining the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, Shaitia served as a regional commissioner on the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls for one year. Shaitia is passionate about financial literacy, empowering girls and working moms. Earning her B.S. from Bay Path University, Shaitia is now enrolled at Fitchburg State University pursuing her MBA in Business Management. Shaitia is also a member of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC) and formerly sat as Board Chair of Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts.  


    Marydith Tuitt, Boston

    Marydith Tuitt, Boston 

    Legislative and Public Policy Committee Vice Chair

    AD HOC Regional Committee Chair 

    MetroWest and Worcester Regional Commissions Liaison

    Mary-dith Tuitt, Boston resident and a Community and Peer Veteran Specialist, was appointed to the Commission by the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators in 2011. Mary-dith was born on the Island of Montserrat in the British West Indies to Henrietta and Michael Tuitt. Tuitt has served as Chief of Staff for State Representative Gloria L. Fox, where she worked as Constituent Services Coordinator for a Boston City Councilor, providing support to the underserved communities of Boston, and has worked on various political campaigns. Over the years, Mary has always been involved and invested in enriching, enhancing and empowering her community. She served as a volunteer with Boston Public schools, various community youth groups, and with her church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Columbia Road in Dorchester, MA. An alumnus of the Boston Public School system, Mary-dith graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1985. Shortly after graduation, Mary-dith entered the United States Navy, where she served fourteen years as a Navy Aviation Machinists Mate, first on active duty and then in the active & inactive Reserves. Mary-dith runs her own special events coordination business that specializes in design, planning, decoration and assisting her clients in making their dreams reality. 

    Staff Bios

    Photo of Executive Director Yarice Hidalgo


    Yarice Hidalgo, Arlington

    Executive Director 

    Mrs. Yarice Hidalgo has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She brings an extensive trajectory in the philanthropic and corporate social responsibility fields. She established and led many efforts for the well-being of women, girls, young adults, and underserved communities. Some highlights of her career include the design of a career program for women, Wings for Women, that created career pathways from entry-level to management positions in Fortune 100 companies, like Walmart. As the Deputy Advisor of the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Mrs. Hidalgo helped to launch a Domestic Violence awareness campaign, led the drafting of public policy to establish a comprehensive multi-government agency plan to support victims of domestic violence. In addition, she helped to re-establish the Governor's Commission for Community Service and Volunteerism in collaboration with the federal Corporation of National of Community Service.

    For over 25 years, Mrs. Hidalgo has used her communications, marketing, and fundraising skills to bring educational opportunities to help individuals and their communities achieve their full potential. Some of her leadership roles include Chief Development and Diversity Officer for Centros Sor Isolina Ferré, Philanthropy and Communications Officer at the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, Assistant Dean of Communications at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and most recently Executive Director of Fontbonne the Early College of Boston, among other roles.

    Mrs. Hidalgo is a believer in the power of communication to ignite social transformation. In 2000, she was nominated for two New England Regional Emmy nominations for Public Service Announcements for the Latino Parent Association and Latino Health Institute in Boston. The Latino Parent Association increased the participation of Latino parents in their children's education, and the Latino Health campaign raised awareness of the impact of HIV in Latino communities. In 2005, The Council of Foundation recognized her with the Emerging Philanthropic Leadership Award to create The Power of Philanthropy campaign. This campaign established the creation of the Green Philanthropic Ribbon (social awareness icon to represent Philanthropy) adopted by Mexico, St. Lucia, Panamá, the United States, and Puerto Rico. This ribbon helps promote the impact of Philanthropy around the world. She also received the Excel Award from Puerto Rico's Public Relations Association for revamping the Puerto Rico Community Foundation image. In 2012, she was elected Secretary of the National Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Puerto Rico. In 2014, Mrs. Hidalgo was part of the Clinton Global Initiative delegation for Puerto Rico.

    Since 2015, Mrs. Hidalgo has focused her work on increasing educational and professional opportunities for all Boston students. In her roles as Director of Corporate Donors at Citizen Schools and as the Assistant Dean for Communications and Marketing at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ms. Hidalgo secured the financial resources and strengthened the institutions' branding to help them increase their impact in the community. During her work at Harvard, she designed the first Communications and Marketing Plan for the Grad School of Education. This plan helped to increase the number of applicants that applied to the school. From 2017 to 2020, she was a board member of the national organization ALPFA - Association of Latino Professionals for America. As the organization's Chief Administrative and Diversity Officer, she developed several professional development seminars focused on the career development of professionals of color. As part of this role, she represented ALPFA as a board member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) - Education Foundation and a scholarship selection committee member. The MSCPA's mission was to bring educational and internship opportunities to students of color and women to consider finance and accounting as an alternative career. In 2020, Ms. Hidalgo was appointed VP of Civic Engagement of the Affinity Leadership Consortium of Massachusetts.

    Mrs. Hidalgo completed her Bachelor's Degree in Communications and a concentration in Economics at Boston University and her Master's Degree in Philanthropy and the Media at Suffolk University.

    Mrs. Hidalgo was born in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Arlington, MA, with her husband of 27 years and her three children. She considers her daughter Gabriella – 25 years old, her son Diego – 19 years old, and youngest girl Sarah – 12 years old to be her greatest blessings in life. Her husband and life partner, Jorge, is an immigrant from El Salvador. He currently works in the Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University. Mrs. Hidalgo and her husband share the passion and commitment to service and empower others. They ran a Robotics camp for children in marginalized communities in Puerto Rico, supported a renovation project for a small elementary school in El Salvador, and are active fundraisers for their youngest daughter's school, Shady Hill.


    Photo of Interim Executive Director Ellen Panarese Gibson


    Ellen Panarese Gibson, Newton 

    Interim Executive Director

    Ellen Panarese Gibson was hired as Interim Executive Director in 2021. Prior to joining MCSW, Ellen was the Director of Policy & Advocacy for the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for MA (SEL4MA). She remains a member of the Steering Committee and Board of Directors. Ellen was elected to the Newton School Committee in 2013 where she served for two terms until 2017. Ellen has been a parent and community activist for over 22 years. She was recently appointed by the Mayor to the Newton Parks, Recreation and Arts Commission. Ellen is a graduate of Vassar College with a B.A. in English and received her Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law where she focused on Family Policy and Law. She was an Associate at the Boston firm of Taylor, Anderson & Travers specializing in family law, custody issues and domestic relations. Ellen grew up in Milton and now lives in Newton


    Melanie Soto

    Melanie Soto, Boston (she/her/hers)

    Communications and Events Coordinator

    Melanie Soto is a Boston native and a youth worker at heart. During her time as a youth worker from the ages of fourteen to eighteen, she was provided with support by community members to pursue her passions in both writing and higher education. Growing up in the city allowed her opportunities to work with various nonprofit organizations in both her undergraduate and graduate experiences. With the help of those in her community, she graduated Wheelock College with a Bachelors in Social Work and Juvenile Justice and earned a Masters in Social Work at Bridgewater State.

    As the Communications and Events Coordinator, Melanie will increase engagement of local policy discussions and action through MCSW’s social media channels with those across the state. She aims to make information accessible to all age groups while also supporting and showcasing advocacy that is happening within our communities that may go unrecognized.

    Commissioners Emeritae

    Penny Blaisdell, Marblehead

    Victoria Budson, Wellesley

    Kathy Casavant 

    Linda Cavaioli, Worcester

    Chris Chanyasulkit, Brookline

    Maureen Curley, Medford

    Joanne Fitzgerald McCrea - springing

    Elizabeth Hart, Malden

    Clare Higgins, Northhampton 

    Denise Hurst, Springfield

    Nina Kimball, Plymouth

    Ruth Nemzoff

    Margot Parrot, Athol - springing

    Susana Segat