Somerville School Committee Chair Mary Jo Rossetti has been appointed to the national advocacy campaign for public education as part of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) leadership team following a series of briefings with state and national education leaders in Memphis last week. More than 100 local officials from across the nation participated in the strategy and planning conference under the direction of NSBA President David Pickler.
Rossetti, who is the current President of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) and attended the sessions representing that organization, will be part of the inaugural national Advocacy Institute – the first of its kind to mobilize municipal elected officials on behalf of public education. She will be responsible for promoting not only the state and federal agenda for schools, but will also be focusing on the wider scope of issues that strengthen the local network of social and economic supports for children and families.
“Advocacy for children is our responsibility to the community, and when families are strong, kids and communities succeed,” said Rossetti who was one of two Massachusetts representatives to the national conference. At the Memphis conference, she also shared information on several important initiatives that are being piloted in Massachusetts, including the introduction of a Common Core curriculum designed to promote critical thinking among students at every level and a new educator evaluation system. In addition, she discussed the integrated advocacy campaign to mobilize community resources in support of all children.
Rossetti has been recognized for her work on behalf of distressed families and mobile students, those who move frequently because of social and economic factors. Earlier this year, she outlined a master plan for serving mobile and transient families in need to the state’s Local Government Advisory Commission, chaired by Governor Deval Patrick and former Lt. Governor Tim Murray. “Mary Jo took on the issues of the people nobody else cared about and brought them front and center,” said Glenn Koocher, Executive Director of MASC.
Ms. Rossetti was joined by Ann Marie Cugno of Medford, a veteran school committee member and parent activist who will lead the Massachusetts advocacy effort in 2014.