Nellie Mae Education Foundation Supports Selection of Jeff Riley as New Education Commissioner

Monday, January 29, 2018

Contact: George Mastoras
(914) 489-5282

Nellie Mae Education Foundation Supports Selection of Jeff Riley as
New Education Commissioner

QUINCY, MA – January 29, 2018 – Nicholas Donohue, President and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (Nellie Mae), the largest philanthropic organization in New England focused exclusively on education, issued this statement today on the selection of Jeff Riley as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education:

Jeff Riley is an experienced educator with a proven track record of serving all learners in a community. I have seen first-hand Jeff’s commitment to the students and teachers he serves as part of the Foundation’s community engagement efforts in Lawrence. His leadership has brought a sense of urgency to this important work while embracing the outsized impact a successful school system can have on an entire community.
I look forward to working with Jeff to prepare Massachusetts students for success – educationally, economically, and as engaged citizens. As part of this effort, the Commonwealth must maintain an energetic and enthusiastic pursuit of excellence and equity for all communities.
The work that remains in the Bay State includes a candid interrogation of how structural, institutional, and social forms of race and class still limit progress for so many students and, therefore, progress for an entire community and the Commonwealth. For these reasons, I encourage Jeff to elevate the voices of those not yet reaping the full benefits of our oft-heralded education system and to surround himself with a deep understanding and diverse perspectives of issues related to race and equity.
The effort to break the persistent predictability that race, class, and language needs to be a collective effort. I encourage Jeff to build a community of active and relentless equity advocates to assist him and the rest of us in making sure the Massachusetts educational success story is realized for all students and communities.

About the Nellie Mae Education Foundation:
The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in New England that focuses exclusively on education. The Foundation supports the promotion and integration of student-centered approaches to learning at the high school level across New England—where learning is personalized; learning is competency-based; learning takes place anytime, anywhere; and students exert ownership over their own learning. To elevate student-centered approaches, the Foundation utilizes a four-part strategy that focuses on: building educator ownership, understanding and capacity; advancing quality and rigor of student-centered practices; developing effective systems designs; and building public understanding and demand. Since 1998, the Foundation has distributed over $242 million in grants. For more information about the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, visit