New Education Commissioner Can Return Massachusetts To the Right Path If It’s the Right Pick

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In light of the recent death of Massachusetts education commissioner Mitchell Chester, many Bay State non-partisan parent-based volunteer organizations are issuing a call to Governor Charlie Baker.  Many of us participated actively in collecting more than 130,000 certified signatures for a ballot question asking voters to to repeal the Common Core standards.  While this ballot question was stymied by the Gates Foundation and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, its corporate shill, we vowed to continue our fight for academic choice and excellence in Massachusetts.

We are now calling Governor Baker to ask the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to appoint Jim Stergios, executive director of Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based nonpartisan research organization, as the next Massachusetts Commissioner of Education.

Prior to joining Pioneer, Jim Stergios was Chief of Staff and Undersecretary for Policy in the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he drove efforts on water policy, regulatory and permit reform, and urban revitalization. His prior experience includes founding and managing a business, teaching at the university level, and serving as headmaster at a preparatory school. Jim serves on the Board of Overseers at Boston University, where he earned a doctoral degree in Political Science. 

Mr. Stergios has been interviewed on the BBC, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, and has appeared regularly on local television and radio news broadcasts. Jim’s opinion pieces have appeared in the Wall Street JournalThe Boston GlobeThe Weekly StandardThe Washington TimesThe Daily Caller, and regional newspapers throughout New England.  He has been quoted in hundreds of news outlets across the country, including in The New York TimesThe Economist, and The Washington Post, and speaks at national policy conferences.

Mr. Stergios’s stellar record will directly benefit the students, parents, teachers, and voters of Massachusetts.  Mr. Stergios understands education policy and sound fiscal policies.  He is an advocate of genuine education reform, which was set in motion by the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, and his work as education commissioner would win the governor praise from all quarters.  It’s a win-win for all concerned. 

Mr. Stergios recently commented in Bay State Parent:  “The passing of the state education commissioner and the retirement of several longtime staff members make this a good time for reflection. What is the status of education reform? What leadership skills will advance academic excellence for all Bay State students?”

“Without question, the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act has been a historic success. It has catapulted the Commonwealth to number one in the country on the nation’s report card – the National Assessment of Educational Progress test – and a top performer internationally in math and science. … The effect [of recent policies] on student achievement, as evidenced by Massachusetts’ stagnation and declining performance on the NAEP since 2009, has not been positive.”

Education in Massachusetts would greatly improve if an expert of the caliber of Mr. Stergios were appointed as Commissioner of Education.  The efforts of the governor to give charter schools a new realm of action and efficiency would be greatly facilitated if Mr. Stergios were put in charge of this important aspect of education choice in the Bay State.

We are asking parents, teachers, and voters to contact the governor’s office by telephone (617-725-4005), U.S. mail (Massachusetts State House, Office of the Governor, Room 280, Boston, Massachusetts 02133), or email and urge Governor Baker to ask the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to appoint Jim Stergios of Pioneer Institute as Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts.


This article has four co-authors. Michael Gendre is chairman of Massachusetts Parents Involved in Education, the state chapter of United States Parents Involved in Education. Mark Alliegro is a member of Liberty Chalkboard.  Cindy Curcio is Secretary of Massachusetts Parents Involved in Education. David McGeney is a former chairman of the Peabody School Committee.