Press Release Friday June 3, 2011

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua, Chairman of the Lawrence School Committee announced a team of people charged with assisting the School District in selecting a permanent Superintendent of Schools.

Mayor Lantigua has appointed 10 members to this important Search Committee who will be responsible for screening all applicants and ultimately recommend candidates for final review to the Lawrence School Committee for a vote prior to October 1, 2011.

The search committee is comprised of a cross section of community and educational leaders. Absent are any political names or associations, but more visible are individuals whom are committed to education and the improvement of our public school system.

Mayor Lantigua said, “I am very pleased with the team we have in place to assist our Great City of Lawrence in selecting the best possible candidate to lead our Schools. These ten individuals are dedicating their time, knowledge and passion for this transparent and professional process. I’m humbled by their participation.”

Mayor Lantigua was particularly grateful that the Department of Education accepted his invitation to take part in the Search Committee. Dr. Matt George is no stranger to the Lawrence Public Schools and has assisted the district in previous Superintendent searches along with assisting the district by overseeing improvement measures.

Once the School Committee approves and authorizes the job description and advertisement, the Search Committee will begin its initial organizational meetings in the upcoming month.

The 10 members of the Search Committee are:

1) Dr. Manthala George, Mass Department of Education Representative
Dr. Matt George will be representing Mitchell Chester, the Commissioner of Education, on this search committee. Dr. George has a long history in public education including serving as Superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools for eleven years. Since his retirement, Dr. George has provided support to Superintendents, principals and school committees. Currently he is providing direct assistance on behalf of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to the Fall River Public Schools, and has also been working to assist the Attleboro School Committee with governance leadership work. Dr. George has been involved with oversight of the Lawrence Public Schools dating back to 1998.

2) Joshua Zoia, KIPP Academy Lynn, Executive Director
Mr. Zoia is the founder and Executive Director of KIPP Academy Lynn. Mr. Zoia grew up in Marblehead and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Josh taught 4th grade in a South Bronx Elementary school for two years. Mr. Zoia then discovered KIPP Bronx where he taught 6th grade science and history for four years. While at KIPP Bronx, he was inspired by what was possible in education. Mr. Zoia was selected as a KIPP Leadership Fellow and trained to bring KIPP back home. Now in his sixth year at KIPP, Josh has moved into the Executive Director role.

3) Dolores Calaf, former Cambridge College Director/Principal Consultant Calaf Communications
Dolores C. Calaf, Principal Consultant of Calaf Communications, is considered a leading community relations, writer, and communications expert, bringing over 30 years of professional experience in this region, particularly in the areas of community development, arts education, cross-cultural communication and marketing, strategic building alliances, diversity management and training and higher education expertise. She is the former Executive Editor of Que Pasa, the Window to Art, Culture and Entertainment for the Hispanic/Latino New England market, under the auspice of Univision of New England. Dolores holds a Master Degree in Mass Communications from Emerson College and post-graduate student in Education Leadership at Cambridge College in the doctoral program. Ms. Calaf most recently held the position of Director for Cambridge College-Lawrence Campus. She previously worked at the Museum of Science in Boston.

4) Jason Williams, Stand for Children, Executive Director
Jason Williams is currently the Executive Director of Stand for Children Leadership Center bringing in-depth knowledge of education reform and management. He is a graduate of Boston College and joined Teach for America in East Oakland, California instructing 6th grade Math and Science. In 1999 he was nominated for California’s Teacher of the Year Award and was also elected to the California Teacher’s Association State Council of Education. From 2000-2005, Jason served as Executive Director of Teach for America in Phoenix, Arizona, leading the program from the lowest to highest performing region in the Country. In 2006, Jason remarkably secured a nomination for the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

5) Suzanne McHugh Piscitello, Former LPS School Administrator & Former School Committee Member
Suzanne McHugh Piscitello worked for the Lawrence Public Schools for 27 years as a teacher and an administrator. She retired in 1988 as the Assistant Superintendent. She later served as an elected member of the Lawrence School Committee from 1988 to 2003. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has resided in the City of Lawrence her entire life. Suzanne continues to own and operate souvenir stands at the historic Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH and just began her 61st season in the park.

6) Rafael Abislaiman, Workforce Investment Board Executive Director
Rafael Abislaiman is currently the Executive Director of the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board. In his role as Executive Director he oversees the daily management for federally funded employment and training services in the region. He works with the Board of Directors to address critical labor market issues and developing strategic partnerships with local Economic Development leaders, educational systems, government agencies, chamber of commerce and other community and labor based organizations. Prior to his role at the WIB, Rafael was the Executive Director of the International Institute of Greater Lawrence for almost twenty years. He was intricately involved in community training programs, adult education, and employment training programs in both the classroom and distance learning concepts. Prior to his career in Lawrence, Rafael served our country in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare Engineer and Educational Duty Divisions Officer. In 2004 he was commissioned Navy Captain and again recalled to active duty in 2005.

7) Luis Martinez, Parent Representative
Luis Martinez is a resident of the City of Lawrence, attended Lawrence Public Schools and is the father of three children. His youngest son is currently enrolled in the Lawrence Public Schools. Luis is known to be a person who is deeply involved in the care and upbringing of his children and helping those in need at all times. He knows first hand the importance of parent involvement as he overcame family struggles as a youngster. Luis is currently employed with the Merrimack Valley YWCA since 2002. He is bilingual and is a First Aid Instructor.

8) Stephen Ives, President and CEO Merrimack Valley YMCA
Stephen Ives is currently the President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA. He has served in this role since 2005. Stephen started his career at the YMCA in 1987 as a youth program director. In 1995 he became the Chief Executive Officer at the Northern York County Family YMCA in Biddeford, Maine. In his current role as President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA, Stephen oversees programs which currently serve more than 6,000 members through its branches in Andover, Lawrence, and Methuen. The YMCA also serves more than 5,000 youth through three camps in New Hampshire, seven childcare sites, youth sports, teen initiatives, and aquatics programs. Stephen holds an undergraduate degree from University of Maine and an MBA from Northeastern University. Stephen is also involved in community service within the area including the Lawrence Rotary Club Teacher of the Year Co-Chair, Massachusetts Alliance of YMCA’s, United Methodist Foundation of New England Executive Committee, and the Lawrence Obesity Prevention and Intervention working group where he serves as co-chair. He is a Rotary Club past President and Paul Harris fellow.

9) Zulma Montanez, Parent Representative
Zulma Montanez is a lifelong resident of the City of Lawrence, graduate of Lawrence High School and the mother of three children. Zulma’s oldest son has already completed school, her middle son is graduating from Lawrence High School this June and her youngest is set to begin school in September 2011. Ms. Montanez is a graduate of Hesser College with a degree in Criminal Justice. Since 2003 she has been a private consultant providing professional services in both transcriptions and translations. She has been an employee of the City of Lawrence Planning Department since 2005.

10) Victor Jarvis, Community member
Victor Jarvis is a Senior Pastor with Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer, Inc., in the City of Lawrence since 1999. Pastor Jarvis began his ministerial career in 1982 and is a well known community activist involved in many faith based organizations and community groups. He is currently a Counselor with the Boy Scouts of America, Community Director of Head Start Faith Based Initiative, President of Asociacion de Ministros Evangelicos Del Area de Lawrence (AMEDAL), President of the Merrimack Valley Project, and an active Board member with the Centro de Apoyo Familiar along with the Lawrence Human Rights Commission. He holds a Bachelor degree and is a part-time student in the Master’s program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.