Chief of Schools
Dr. Stephen Mahoney is the Chief of Schools. As the Chief of Schools, Dr. Mahoney’s most important role is to develop, coach, and supervise principals to lead highly successful school teams that are able to accelerate student achievement. To do so, he supervises a portfolio of schools, as well as an Executive Director of School Leadership, the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) department, and Student Support Services department.
Dr. Mahoney brings more than 30 years experience as a teacher, coach, school leader, and district leader, with more than half of that time in Western Massachusetts. In his time in Holyoke, Dr. Mahoney has led a successful high school redesign, where we merged all high school campuses into one “Holyoke High School” to promote equitable access to the full high school experience. This has contributed to a 10-point increase in the graduation rate to 72.2 percent, and a reduction on the drop-out rate down to 3.4 percent. Graduation rates for students who are English Learners and Latinx students have especially improved. Dr. Mahoney also oversaw the expansion of the high school’s dual enrollment and early college programming, with significant increases in both total number of students enrolled and in the diversity of students enrolled.
Before joining HPS, Dr. Mahoney served as a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Associate Director of the Harvard Teacher Fellows, which offers Harvard College graduates an innovative pathway into teaching in high-need urban schools. From 2005 to 2015, he founded and led the Springfield Renaissance School, an award-winning urban middle and high school, from which his three sons all graduated. During his tenure, he was also a mentor principal within Springfield Public Schools and the EL (formerly Expeditionary Learning) Education Network, and was recognized as Principal of the Year by the Region IV Magnet Schools of America. Prior to founding Springfield Renaissance, he was a school leader at Norwell High School in Norwell, Mass., and Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. He also taught history, English, and math and coached boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball. He holds degrees from Brown University (B.A., International Relations), Stanford University (M.A., Curriculum and Instruction), and Boston College (Ed.D., Educational Leadership). His dissertation explored students as self-directed learners and took him from his suburban high school on the south shore of Boston to the Inca trail in and around the Cusco region of Peru.
Dr. Mahoney and his wife, Ruth, have been married for 30 years and have three sons: Liam, Gavin, and Eamonn, all of whom graduated from Renaissance and, like Steve, are passionate soccer players and fans. Dr. Mahoney is a reader, an occasional surfer, and a fan of all things Holyoke. Go Knights and Hawks!