PRESS RELEASE: Holyoke School Committee Member Elected President of State School Committee Association

PRESS RELEASE: Holyoke School Committee Member Elected President of State School Committee Association

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 19, 2018

HOLYOKE SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER ELECTED PRESIDENT OF STATE SCHOOL COMMITTEE ASSOCIATION

Boston—Effective January 1, 2019 Holyoke School Committee member Devin Sheehan will become President of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), having previously served as the Association’s President-Elect (2018), Vice President (2017) and Secretary-Treasurer (2016). From 2013 through December 2015, Mr. Sheehan served on the MASC Board of Directors as Chair of the Association’s Division V (Connecticut Valley) Region.  Mr. Sheehan is currently in his ninth year on the Holyoke School Committee.

At the Association’s annual meeting on November 9 during the MASC/MASS Joint Conference in Hyannis, the delegates praised Devin as “a young progressive leader of vision and energy who is committed to advocating for students and their families, educators and local school committee members.” As President, he will lead MASC’s advocacy efforts on such critical issues as the inequity in public education funding and a re-crafting of the school funding formula, charter school expansion, school safety, and the challenges around the growing number of students struggling with poverty homelessness, and immigration fears. He will also be MASC’s principal spokesperson at both state and national forums.

In his incoming address to MASC members who attended the conference, Sheehan underscored the importance of a well-educated citizenry as both imperative for the economy and vital to the future of our democracy. Nevertheless, he indicated his deep-seated concerns about the commitment to public education and the need to stop stalling and address the growing inequities in education funding and opportunities.

“School committee members have been on the forefront, fighting for the civil rights of all our students. It is our job to ensure that the voices are heard of those people that have not yet found their voice. We have a commitment to advocate for the rights of all students, regardless of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the zip code they come from, the person they love or the gender they identify with. Time and again, school committee members are the people who do the right thing without having to boast in public or in front of the camera. We have heard too often recently, too loudly, too many excuses about why legislative efforts to fix the funding formula have failed at at the eleventh hour. The time for excuses is over: we must hold our legislature accountable for not coming to a consensus and expect in the upcoming session that a real effort be put forward to fix this inequitable, unfair, and outdated funding model.

“We will always face challenges. There will never be a short supply of demons including poverty, insufficient funds, or a bureaucracy that sits far away fantasizing about how much they know about those of us whom they have never met. All of us here are descendants of immigrants and we will always welcome the students newly arrived in our country and our classrooms, and we as policy makers and educators will fight against a government that tries to punish us for helping young people and their families achieve their American Dream.”

In addition to his wide-ranging work with MASC, Devin’s accomplishments and abilities have also been recognized by his peers at the national level when earlier this year he was nominated to run for a seat on the National School Boards Association Board of Directors. On the NSBA Board he has been active as a member of Governance Review Committee and a key participant in the past two years as a member of the Massachusetts delegation to the NSBA Annual Meeting.

On the Holyoke School Committee Devin has been elected by his peers for six consecutive years to serve as the Vice-Chair. In this role he develops meeting agendas, leads the committee and works with the Receiver to set the mission and goals of the Holyoke Public Schools. Prior to being elected the School Committee never approved a balanced budget but due to his leadership they have had a balanced budget for the past five years. A major goal of Sheehan’s is to have the graduation rate of the Holyoke Public School improve during his tenure. With the administration he worked to set goals and create a plan that would encompass the entire community to increase the graduation rate in a four-year period.

Aside from serving on the Holyoke School Committee Sheehan works in an urban school district in the Office of Instruction as Coordinator of Academic Support Services where he works with the Chief Instructional Officer and multiple academic directors in managing budgets, working with vendors and procuring supplies and curriculum for the district. He has been designated by the Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Associate Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official.

Mr. Sheehan is deeply involved in his community serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Museum at Holyoke and the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke. He is also a member of the Friends of the Holyoke Public Schools, the Holyoke Democratic Committee, and the Holyoke Lodge of Elks #902. In January he was recognized by the Republican/MassLive as Best Local Politician. He is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the American Society for Public Administration. In February of 2017, Devin was honored to be named a “40 Under 40” by the Irish Echo magazine.

Mr. Sheehan is a graduate of Franklin Pierce University; he has a graduate certificate in Educational Policy and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He resides in Holyoke with his partner, Dr. Michael Dodge.

MASC is a non-profit organization that represents more than 2,100 Massachusetts school committee members in over 330 local and regional school districts throughout the commonwealth, providing its members a wide range of training programs, policy development and administrator search services, as well as legal and advocacy support.

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FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jenifer Handy, MASC Communications Director

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