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Board Members

Charles F. Desmond, Ed.D., Chairman (Biography)
Louis Ricciardi, Vice Chair, State University Trustee Representative (Biography)
Maura Banta (Biography)
Nancy Hoffman, Ph.D. (Biography)
Tom Hopcroft (Biography)
Stacey DeBoise Luster, Esq., Community College Trustee Representative (Biography coming soon)
Matthew Malone, Ex Officio (Biography)
Dani Monroe (Biography)
Keith J. Peden (Biography)
Fernando M. Reimers (Biography)
Henry Thomas III, University of Massachusetts Trustee Representative (Biography)
Paul F. Toner (Biography)

Non-Voting Student Advisors
TBD, Community College Student Advisor
TBD, University of Massachusetts Student Advisor

Charles F. Desmond, Ed.D., Chairman

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Dr. Charles Desmond was appointed by Governor Patrick in September 2008 to the Board of Higher Education, and in December 2008, the Governor appointed him to serve as Chair.

A Fulbright Scholar, Charlie served from 2002 to 2009 as Executive Vice President of the Trefler Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving educational opportunities and success for Boston's urban youth. At Trefler, he provided managerial oversight, advocacy and leadership on behalf of the Foundation to strengthen partnerships with Boston Public Schools, and nourished collaborative initiatives between and among philanthropic institutions in order to enhance their impact on urban educational reform.

Prior to Trefler, Charlie worked for 30 years at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with a focus on student affairs and community collaboration. He was Associate Chancellor for School/Community Collaboration, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Director of the Department of Pre-Freshman Programs and Project Director of College Preparatory Program/Upward Bound, among other positions. He has also served as a guidance counselor at Northeastern University’s African/American Institute, and in the Boston Public Schools.

Charlie is active in civic and community organizations, including service as President of AARP Massachusetts and as a member of the Review Committee for the Broad Prize in Urban Education, Board of Governors for the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University, Brown University Design Group/Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and Cambridge College Board of Trustees. He was the co-chair and executive director of the Urban Educators Corps and is a past president of the Massachusetts Educational Opportunity Association, and he has been active with the American Council on Education, and the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations, among other organizations.

Charlie earned his Ed.D. in instructional leadership from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a B.S. in sociology from Northeastern University. He is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, receiving both Silver and Bronze stars.

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Louis Ricciardi, Vice Chair, State University Trustee Representative

Lou Ricciardi joined the Board of Higher Education in July 2009 following his election by his fellow state university board chairs. Lou serves as chair of the Bridgewater State University Board of Trustees and co-chair of the State Trustees Association. Since his graduation from Bridgewater State College in 1981, he has managed his financial and investment advisory practice, The Ricciardi Financial Group, which today manages over $200 million on behalf of customers in a dozen states. 

Lou began his service on the Bridgewater State College (BSC) Board of Trustees in 1989 as the elected alum member.  In 1990, at age 30, he was elected chair, becoming the youngest-ever chair in the state system, and he held that position through 1994. He continued his service through 1999 as secretary of the board and chair of the budget and finance committees.  His first two trustee terms were marked by the complete overhaul of the college's organization, the establishment of new schools, the pursuit and awarding of a $10 million federal grant (the largest ever to a New England state college at the time), and the college's first-ever capital campaign, which Lou himself conceived and co-chaired, raising $400,000 that built a new baseball/softball complex. In 2004, he appointed to serve again on the BSC Board of Trustees by Governor Romney, and in 2006, he was again elected chair.

Lou also served as chair of BSC’s Foundation from 1996 to 2004 and, in 1997, launched the “Campaign for Bridgewater,” the college's inaugural endowment campaign.  The campaign raised $10 million in five years, an amount that eventually grew to over $17 million, providing scholarships and first-of-their-kind undergraduate research grants. He has personally endowed four separate scholarships at the college as part of the campaign.

In his local community, Lou is currently serving the last year of his term as president of the Boys & Girls Club of Taunton.  He is also president of the Taunton Development Corporation (which has built two industrial parks with over 870 companies and 7,000 new jobs), is a past president of the Taunton Rotary Club, and serves on the Board of Directors of Bristol County Savings Bank, Beacon Bancorp, and Morton Hospital.  He has been recognized with a number of community service and "man of the year" awards over the years for his service.

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Maura Banta

Maura O. Banta is IBM’s Director of Citizenship Initiatives in Education.  She joined IBM in 1973 as a marketing representative and held positions in Sales, Insurance Industry Consulting and Marketing Management before joining the Corporate Citizenship Department.  In 2006 Maura was named Eastern Regional Manager for IBM’s corporate philanthropy, government relations and community relations. She assumed her current role in 2012.

Ms. Banta is a board member of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the Boston Plan for Excellence, The Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, and The Carroll School of Management at Boston College.  Maura is a former chair of the board of the Mass Business Alliance for Education. She served for 6 years on The Massachusetts Educational Management and Audit Council under both Governor Swift and Governor Romney. Maura chaired the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from 2008-2014 under an appointment by Governor Patrick.  

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Nancy Hoffman, Ph.D.

Dr. Nancy Hoffman was appointed to the Board of Higher Education in December 2008 by Governor Patrick. She is a Vice President and Senior Advisor at Jobs for the Future, a national non-profit in Boston focused on improving educational and workforce outcomes for low-income young people and adults. She works with the Early College High School Initiative, a network of over 270 schools in 28 states blending high school and two years of college and with states on aligning and integrating high school and college and developing new pathways to degree completion and careers.

Hoffman has held teaching and administrative posts at Brown, Temple, Harvard, FIPSE, M.I.T. and elsewhere. She co-teaches a course on philanthropy, non-profits and school reform at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hoffman serves as a consultant for the education policy unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Her most recent book, drawing on the OECD’s Learning for Jobs initiative is Schooling in the Workplace: How Six of the World’s Best Vocational Education Systems Prepare Young People for Jobs and Life (Harvard Education Press i2011).

Hoffman holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Other recent publications include, Women’s True Profession: Voices from the History of Teaching (2003), and, edited with Richard Kazis and Joel Vargas, Double the Numbers: Increasing Postsecondary Credentials for Underrepresented Youth (2004), and Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School with College Makes Sense and How to Do It (2007), edited by Hoffman and Vargas with Andrea Venezia and Marc Miller.

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Tom Hopcroft

Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, Inc. (MassTLC), a business association that addresses the critical leadership issues of innovative technology and technology-enabled companies.  Drawing on the rich legacies of Massachusetts Network Communications Council, the Massachusetts Software Council, and the New England Business and Technology Association, Inc., MassTLC accelerates innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content, and offering a collaborative platform for driving ideas and people forward.  

A Massachusetts attorney and former adjunct professor at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration, Mr. Hopcroft formerly led and founded the New England Business and Technology Association (NEBATA) which merged with the Mass Software Council in 2005. After the merger he led the Council’s cluster development activities, growing the cluster portfolio from three to ten active groups. Prior to founding NEBATA, Hopcroft served on the American Bar Association's Information Security Committee, where he contributed to the drafting and editing of the ABA's Digital Signature Guidelines: Legal Infrastructure for Certification Authorities and Secure Electronic Commerce, published in 1996. He also participated in the International Chamber of Commerce's ETERMS Repository project, an international repository for incorporating terms by reference into EDI messages.

Hopcroft is the vice chairman of the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), an organization of about 50 technology councils across North America. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions, including the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and MassTLC’s Education Foundation board. He has testified before the Massachusetts Senate Technology Caucus and speaks frequently at academic and industry functions. He is often quoted in business and technology publications including the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Globe, InfoWorld, Inter@ctiveWeek and The Wall Street Journal. In 1998 and 1999 he was named to the Improper Bostonian's "Internet Top 40" list of Boston's Web elite and in 2000 was named to the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list of prominent local businesspeople.

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Stacey DeBoise Luster, Esq., Community College Trustee Representative

Stacey is a graduate of South High Community School in Worcester, St. John’s University in New York, Boston University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has secured her place in Worcester Women’s History by becoming the first African-American woman to be elected to the Worcester City Council.

Stacey currently holds the position of Human Resource Manager for the Worcester Public Schools, responsible for a work force of approximately 4,000 employees, who serve over 24,000 students. She also serves as Chairman of the Board for Quinsigamond Community College, is an active member of St. Peter’s Church, and a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother.

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Matthew Malone, Ex Officio

As Secretary of Education since January 2013, Matthew Malone directs the Executive Office of Education and works closely with the Commonwealth's education agencies—Department of Early Education and Care, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Higher Education and the University of Massachusetts system—while serving as a voting member of the governing board of each agency. He is the Governor's top advisor on education and helps shape the Commonwealth's continuous education reform agenda.

Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Dr. Malone served as the Superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools, and brings real-world experience managing the fourth-largest school district in the state to his role as Secretary. While Superintendent in Brockton, Dr. Malone led the development of an innovative strategy to increase student achievement known as R3: "Realigning Resources for Results," focused on supporting learning and teaching in the classroom. This initiative, and others he helped implement, resulted in both increased student achievement and the narrowing of achievement gaps among students in Brockton.

Prior to his time in Brockton, Dr. Malone served as the Superintendent of the Swampscott Public Schools from 2005–2009, where he led a small suburban system serving 2,400 students from pre-K through grade 12. During his tenure in Swampscott, student achievement results increased in nearly all measurable areas.

He previously served as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent/Instruction Leader in the San Diego City School District where he was responsible for the supervision and evaluation of twenty-six school principals serving 14,000 students. In this role, he was responsible for leading the small high school renewal initiative, successfully converting three large underperforming high schools into 14 autonomous, career-themed high schools. In this role, Dr. Malone also served as the Executive Director of the Office of Secondary School Innovation and was responsible for the redesign of a middle school converted into three autonomous small thematic middle schools, alternative education, and the design and opening of the first MET high school in San Diego.

Prior to his work in San Diego, Dr. Malone was the Headmaster of Monument High School in South Boston, where he co-led the transformation of this large, underperforming high school into three small, effective high schools. At Monument, he partnered with the Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department and Boston's Emergency Medical Services Department to create the first public safety/criminal justice high school in New England. His work at Monument High School became a model for high school conversions in the Boston Public Schools.

Dr. Malone has also served as a middle school assistant principal in Duxbury, Massachusetts, and taught social studies at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston as that school successfully worked to regain its state accreditation. Dr. Malone began his career as both a paraprofessional and long-term substitute teacher in Boston Public Schools at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

Before beginning his career in education, Malone served as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He is a Combat Veteran of the Persian Gulf War, having served in the Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti Theatres of Operations with the First Marine Division.

Dr. Malone received a Bachelor of Science degree in History from Suffolk University, and earned his Masters of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in School Education degrees from Boston College. Dr. Malone is the parent of two Boston Public School children and lives with his family in Roslindale.

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Dani Monroe

Dani Monroe was appointed to the Board of Higher Education in December 2012 by Governor Patrick. She has led the highest-level executives ("C-suites") of Fortune 100 companies to success in global diversity, inclusion, and talent management, favorably impacting their bottom line, reputation and business potential.

Monroe's valued expertise in strategy and international practice defined her success as Senior Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at the Pfizer Corporation. In this highly visible global role, Monroe designed and facilitated organization change strategies that integrated all components for the diversity and inclusion strategy—from metrics and accountability for senior leaders to leadership curriculum and inclusive work processes. Working collaboratively with C-suite leaders or their direct reports from Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America and the United States, Monroe developed and executed a global strategy on diversity education for senior leaders worldwide as well as developed a global women's strategy—including advancing the international strategy for the development and promotion of women in emerging market areas.

As Founder and President of Center Focus International, Inc. (CFI), Monroe is one of the world's most valued corporate resources for change and inclusion strategies, as well as on other organization management and global work issues from leadership training to succession planning and recruitment. She has provided leadership for diversity-focused initiatives, research and knowledge-sharing at Fortune 100 companies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, Experian, Fleet Boston, John Hancock, Hasbro, Houghton Mifflin Company, Pfizer, Raytheon, Shell America, State Street Corporation and the Walt Disney Company.

Monroe received her master's degree in organizational development from Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Business and her bachelor's degree from California State University in Dominguez Hills. She has received many awards such as the prestigious YWCA Academy of Women Achievers Award and served on the Boards of: Project Bread, The Boston Club, the Simmons School of Health's Advisory Board and the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Monroe's articles on diversity have appeared in many publications, from Banker & Tradesman to Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, as well as used in Columbia University's Executive Management Program. As a national contributor to the book Transforming Work by John Adams, she co-authored the chapter focusing on "Managing the Complexity of Organizational Transformation." Dani's latest book, Untapped Talent: Unleashing the Power of the Hidden Workforce, was released April 30, 2013.

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Keith J. Peden

Keith J. Peden is senior vice president of Human Resources for Raytheon Company. He was elected to this position in March 2001. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.

As Raytheon’s top human resources officer, Peden is responsible for providing worldwide direction for the company’s human resource initiatives. As such, he leads organizational change, leadership development, learning, talent acquisition, diversity, executive compensation, performance development, benefits and the execution of contemporary Human Resource process. Previously, Peden served as Raytheon’s vice president and deputy
director of human resources since 1997. In that role he was responsible for the execution of the human resource process in the business as well as international human resources and human resources systems.

Before joining Raytheon in 1993 as director of benefits, compensation and human resource management systems, Peden was director of worldwide compensation, benefits and human resources information systems for Lotus Development Corporation. Prior to joining Lotus, he was a vice president of Alexander & Alexander Consulting and led the Boston Human Resources practice. He also held various human resources posts at Prime Computer
and Honeywell.

He is committed to lifelong learning and pursues this passion through his participation as a member of both the Wheaton College and Wentworth Institute Boards of Trustees. Further, he was a participant in Governor Deval Patrick’s educational transition team and has contributed to efforts to advance liberals arts education through the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Peden earned his bachelor’s degree in history, political science (pre-law and education) at Western Michigan University and his master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University

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Fernando M. Reimers

Professor Fernando M. Reimers was appointed to the Board of Higher Education by Governor Patrick in March 2012.  He is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of the International Education Policy Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

His research focuses on educational innovation and on the impact of education policy, education leadership, and professional development of the quality and relevancy of education to develop twenty first century skills and expand opportunity for socially disadvantaged children and youth.  He has designed and led a number of innovative graduate and executive education programs and curricula, and participated in the evaluation of higher education programs and strategies, including the National Research Council evaluation of Title VI, Fulbright-Hays, and other federally funded programs to promote the internationalization of American universities.

He completed an Ed.M. and Ed.D. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an undergraduate degree in Psychology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the International Academy of Education, as well as a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO.  He is currently serving on the Global Learning Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges and Universities project “General Education for a Global Century” focusing on some of the pressing issues related to global learning and undergraduate education.

He has provided advice on policy and strategy to education leaders in institutions of higher education, governments, foundations and international development agencies.

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Henry Thomas III, University of Massachusetts Trustee Representative

Henry Thomas is a member of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, and was elected in 2007 to represent the University on the Board of Higher Education.

Henry is a native of Springfield, MA, and has worked in the Urban League movement for 35 years, including 31 years as President and CEO. At the age of 25, he became the youngest appointed Urban League affiliate President and CEO in the nation. Henry also serves as CEO for the historic Camp Atwater -- the oldest African American overnight youth camp in the United States – which he reopened in 1980 following a six-year hiatus.

Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master's degree in human resource development from American International College; and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law. He has also received honorary doctoral degrees from Bay Path College and Westfield State College, and a certificate of completion for the Senior Executive Leadership Program from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Henry was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve on his 2007 Transition Team on Pre-K through Higher Education, as well as the Leadership Circle of the Governor’s Readiness Project.

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Paul F. Toner

Paul F. Toner, president of the 107,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association, is a strong voice for educators and a proud public school parent.

Toner, a middle school social studies teacher, lawyer and former president of the Cambridge Teachers Association, was elected MTA president after serving for four years as the association’s vice president. He took office on July 15, 2010.

From 1993 to 2001, Toner taught social studies and reading to seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Harrington Elementary School in Cambridge. During his time there, he was responsible for a seventh-grade inclusion classroom and operated before-school and after-school homework programs. He also developed a school handbook and policies, served as acting assistant principal, and belonged to both the Extended Day Planning Committee and the Student Support Team.

In 2001, Toner was elected president of the Cambridge Teachers Association, a post he held for five years. As CTA president, he represented 1,100 teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, clerks, and substitutes. He negotiated 12 contracts and handled more than 200 grievances. He was a strong advocate for members and worked with the administration to improve labor-management relations and focus on improving student achievement. Prior to becoming CTA president, he held the offices of vice president, secretary, and building representative. Toner has served for a number of years as a delegate to the MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates and the Representative Assembly of the National Education Association.

Toner graduated from Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. He also holds a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. While teaching full time, Toner earned his juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School at night. During law school, he completed internships with the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee in Alexandria, Virginia.

Toner serves as chair of MassPartners for Public Schools, a coalition of organizations representing superintendents, principals, teachers’ unions, and parents, and he is active in the Teacher Union Reform Network, a national group that has sought to develop and share teacher-led school improvement practices at the local level. He served on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Task Force on the Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators, Task Force on 21st Century Skills and Task Force on Closing the Proficiency Gap. He also was a participant in Governor Deval Patrick’s Readiness Project. Toner is a commissioner on the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission and a member of the state Board of Higher Education. He is also a labor delegate to the Democratic State Committee and a member of the DSC Executive Committee.

Toner is dedicated to working on behalf of students at all levels and to representing the interests of teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty and staff.

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