The Great Hall under the sky dome was the site for a gathering of many administrations, as the celebration marked the 25th Anniversary of the Education Reform Law of 1993 but culminated in the installation of Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeff Riley, who was elected to the position by the Massachusetts Board of Education several months ago. Commissioner Riley most recently served as the Superintendent of Schools in Lawrence under a State take-over of the district.
House Education Chair Alice Peisch coordinated the program as well as introducing the speakers who included former Commissioners Robert Antonucci and David Driscoll as well as former speaker Birmingham who was present at the time of the Ed Reform legislation. Also highlighting the ceremony was the presence of Governor Charles Baker who was joined by former Governor William Weld, who signed the Ed Reform Law in 1993.
A panel discussion chaired by former Secretary of Education Paul Reville included comments on the perceptions of what needed to happen to keep the spirit of Ed Reform alive with significant input from Executive Director Tom Scott focusing on the pressures on superintendents, other administrators, teachers and students and the need to focus on equity.
Current Education Secretary Jim Peyser then focused also on the work of teachers and praised members of the Department over these times since the death of the late Dr. Mitchell Chester and singled out the great work performed over this interim period by Interim Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, who moved up from his position as Deputy Commissioner on the sudden death of Commissioner Chester. His comments brought a standing ovation for Jeff.
Also part of the morning were awards presented to a number of school districts with a collation provided by students from several vocational schools.