On January 1, 2013 Mary Jo Rossetti, a seven-term member of the Somerville School Committee, became President of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). She was elected to the position at the Association’s annual meeting held in Hyannis on November 9, 2012.
One of the state’s leading proponents for children and families, a youth sports director and Girl Scout leader, Mrs. Rossetti began her public advocacy work as a Secretary-Treasurer of the Powder House Community School PTA and as PTA President of Somerville High School. After several terms as the school council co-chair, she was elected to the Somerville School Committee in 1999 and, shortly thereafter became active in MASC, serving as Secretary-Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair of MASC’s Metropolitan Division (Division II). She became a member of the MASC Board of Directors in 2007 and was elected MASC Secretary-Treasurer in 2009, Vice President in 2010, and President-Elect in 2011. In addition, she has erved on the Resolutions Committee and chaired the MASC Personnel and Budget Committees.
Mrs. Rossetti has participated in several Federal Relations Network sessions in Washington, DC and served as a delegate to the National School Boards Delegate Assembly in 2010, 2011 and 2012. For the past two years she has also represented MASC on Governor Patrick’s Local Government Advisory Commission, where she has emerged as a forceful and highly effective advocate for school funding, children’s safety net issues, and the challenges school districts face in their efforts to educate and assist transient students and families. As the former chair of the MASC Advocacy Committee, she oversaw the creation of several MASC public policy resources for school finance in perilous economic times and for students at risk.
Mrs. Rossetti has also used her experiences serving students and families in economic crisis to focus on the plight of transient and mobile students, including many immigrants and migrant workers, who may move as often as 3-5 times each year in search of employment and social stability. She was cited by legislative leaders for her role in helping to secure the nation’s first legislation requiring the gathering of data and research in this area. In 2011, she carried the day at the NSBA Delegate Assembly securing support for her national initiative to address the needs of transient students and the school districts that serve them.
In addition to recognition by state and national advocates for children, Mrs. Rossetti was named Person of the Year by the Somerville PTA in 2008 and currently serves as the School Committee’s legislative liaison. When she is not indoors as a public advocate, Ms. Rossetti also works outside with young people as Somerville’s Open Air Circus Baton Twirling instructor.
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.