Chairman Reville recognized the extraordinary service that Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Nellhaus gave to the Board in his nine months as Acting Commissioner. The chairman said the Board was delighted that the deputy commissioner would remain at the Department, as he is one of its great assets. The chairman presented Deputy Commissioner Nellhaus with a Board citation, a Governor’s citation, and a pair of Red Sox tickets as a gift from the Board. The deputy commissioner said he appreciated the recognition, and he thanked the Board and Department staff for their support. Deputy Commissioner Nellhaus distributed a handout summarizing the Department’s major accomplishments over the past year.
The chairman described the ceremony that took place at the Joseph J. Hurley School in Boston on May 19th, where Governor Patrick swore in Mitchell D. Chester as the Commonwealth’s 23rd Commissioner of Education. Board members Christopher Anderson, Ruth Kaplan, and Tom Fortmann also attended the ceremony. The chairman said Commissioner Chester gave an excellent speech, and that everything that has happened since his selection has confirmed the wisdom of the Board’s choice. Commissioner Chester thanked the Board for its confidence in him, and thanked Deputy Commissioner Nellhaus for his generous support during the transition period. Commissioner Chester said the ceremony at the Hurley School was wonderful for him and his family.
Chairman Reville said he was honored to deliver the commencement address at Bridgewater State College this past weekend. The chairman noted that U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings visited Boston on May 6th. The chairman said that he and Board member Christopher Anderson attended and learned a lot from a Commonwealth Pilot Schools conference at Holy Cross. The chairman asked Board member Dana Mohler-Faria to update the Board on the Governor’s Readiness Project. Dr. Mohler-Faria said that staff is working to complete the project over the next few weeks, and announced that Board members were invited to a special event at Framingham State College on June 2nd.
Chairman Reville updated the Board on the 21st Century Skills Task Force and said that members would be announced later today. The chairman said this endeavor is intended to complement the state’s already high standards. Board member Gerald Chertavian, who will chair the task force, said the group will meet six or seven times between now and the end of October, and will produce a white paper to present to the Board at its November 2008 regular meeting. Board member Ruth Kaplan noted that she recently attended a presentation of high school senior projects at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, a program that she said might be relevant to the task force’s work.
Comments from the Commissioner
Commissioner Chester deferred to Deputy Commissioner Nellhaus, who reported on the progress of the FY09 budget, currently in the Senate.