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Governor Charlie Baker Appoints Springfield Business Leader Tricia Canavan to State Board of Education

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SPRINGFIELD — Governor Charlie Baker has appointed Springfield business leader Tricia Canavan to the state’s primary and secondary school board.

“I think Massachusetts should be very proud of the way we educate our children and our level of excellence,” Canavan said Wednesday. “But there is a big gap in outcomes, especially among students from diverse backgrounds, compared to some of our classmates.”

“We must work to improve it. These are state-wide issues, but we are also grateful for the opportunity to bring a Western Massachusetts perspective to the board. I’m very proud of it, “she said.

Holyoke’s Canavan and Michael Moriarty have given two members, 11 members, to western Massachusetts. Moriarty served on the Holyoke School Committee for 13 years, assisted in the establishment of the Holyoke Early Literacy Initiative, served as a lawyer, and was appointed Managing Director of OneHolyoke Community Development Corp. in 2013.

“We have two. We are small but powerful,” Kanaban said with a laugh.

“We hope we can expand the work of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to help develop these very important issues, including narrowing the gap in achievement,” said Kanaban.

Canavan has taught at community college and high school levels with an emphasis on teaching English as a Second Language. She taught at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield and Tampico, Mexico, and worked with teachers at Cambridge Linde and Latin Schools.

She is Tech Foundry’s CEO, a non-profit organization of economic development, linking underserved or undervalued adults to training and placement in the information technology sector. She is the former president of United Personnel Services, which was acquired by Worcester’s Masis Staff Solutions last year.

Canavan has many years of experience in education, workforce development and community projects in the Springfield region, including co-chairing the Springfield Business Leaders for Education. She was also a member of the Springfield Public School’s “Portrait of Alumni” Strategic Planning Initiative.

She chairs the Massachusetts Western Economic Development Council and is a board member of Massachusetts’ affiliated industries, Massachusetts Hampden County, and the Springfield Public Forum.

Canavan holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and conducted a graduate study in American history at Boston University.

She said the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership is an example of a creative strategy that could benefit the entire state. The Empowerment Zone is a collaboration of managers, faculty, and states that share responsibility in the operation of several Springfield public schools.

“This is an example of an innovative solution. These are the difficult situations that educators face, but new and different approaches create great opportunities,” says Kanavan.

Baker has also appointed Falzana Mohammed, a writer and management consultant in the Boston area, to the school board.

Mohammed is the author of “How to Negotiate Your First Job” aimed at helping college graduates and young professionals negotiate their terms of employment. She is a Managing Partner of Process Improvement LLC, advising global clients on process improvement, change management, employee involvement, and corporate governance.

“Both Kanaban and Mohammed bring a unique combination of administrative expertise and experience in the education sector, benefiting federal schools and the students they serve. With children in schools throughout Massachusetts. We are grateful for their commitment to helping create a strong educational start for the family, “Baker said.

“MS. Canavan and Ms. Mohammed have been involved with businesses to build strong community partnerships and enhance the progress of education in the community,” Vice Governor Karinpolito said in a statement. “I am very pleased that they bring their experience and commitment to the Primary and Secondary School Board.”

Canavan and Mohamed will replace Amanda Fernandez and James Morton, members of the board of directors who completed their five-year term on June 30.

“James and Amanda have made significant contributions to our work by demonstrating practical leadership across a variety of important policy issues. More importantly, they have always been fair with their children. I am truly grateful for putting the interests of

The Primary and Secondary Board of Education will meet at the headquarters of Molden on August 15th at noon.