Liam Kerr, DFER Massachusetts State Director
Liam Kerr started his career as an AmeriCorps volunteer with California Library Literacy Services, where he helped expand a library-based adult literacy program. He has advised nonprofits in Massachusetts, an NGO consultancy in the Czech Republic, a charter school incubator, and a charter school network. He has worked on statewide political campaigns in Massachusetts and Vermont.
Prior to DFER, Liam worked for the management consultancy The Parthenon Group and the national venture philanthropy fund New Profit Inc.
Liam graduated from a Massachusetts public high school and earned a BA in History from Providence College, where he served on the Board of Governors of the National Alumni Association, and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Liam now serves as the Massachusetts State Director for Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).
The Advisory Council supports DFER’s strategic mission to make the Democratic Party the champion of high quality public education and to help increase public awareness and support of its work. Council members are education leaders who provide creative thinking, advice, and support about how DFER can expand its reach to new supporters and deepen support for its work.
Marty Walz, DFER Massachusetts Advisory Council Chair
Over the past 15 years, Marty devoted most of her career and volunteer service to ensuring educational opportunity for all children, with a particular focus on access to a high quality education for children in low-income families.
Marty is the founder and principal of Marty Walz and Associates, a management and public affairs consulting firm. Before founding her own firm, Marty served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, leading the organization’s health care, education, and advocacy work. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood in March 2013, Marty represented the 8th Suffolk District as a Massachusetts State Representative for 8 years. She served on the Joint Committee on Education for six years, two of which as Chair.
Among Marty’s legislative achievements, she was the author of An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap (more commonly referred to as the 2010 education reform law). It is the state’s most sweeping education reform law since 1993 and propelled the state into first place in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant competition. She also wrote the state’s anti-bullying law, enacted in May 2010 and since cited as a national model, and the law allowing the establishment of virtual schools, which upended traditional thinking about how and where children can be taught and learn.
In addition to her legislative experience, Marty has held leadership positions at non-profit and public organizations including Jumpstart for Young Children and Boston Public Schools. She also taught at Northeastern University as an adjunct professor for four years. Her volunteer positions have included serving on the Mass Insight Education Board of Directors and the Kingsley Montessori School’s Advisory Council. She is a long-time member of Boston’s Ward 5 Democratic Committee, having served as its Treasurer and Chair.
Marty holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was a Kennedy Fellow and a Lucius N. Littaur Fellow. Marty also has a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University, from which she graduated magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Justin C. Cohen is a writer, education policy expert, and recovering nonprofit executive. He is writing a book about the intersection of American public schools and social justice. Justin's writing has appeared in Ed Week, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the National Journal Online.
Most recently he was president of Mass Insight Education, where he was a national thought leader in school system transformation and school turnaround. Prior to leading Mass Insight, Justin was director of portfolio management at the DC Public Schools, where he was a senior advisor to Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Before that he had various leadership roles in charter school design and advocacy.
He serves as chairman of the board for Students for Education Reform and as the academic chair for the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC. Justin is a fellow of the Broad Academy and served on the education policy committee for President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. He holds a BA in cognitive science from Yale.
A distinguished educational leader, Charlie was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick in September 2008 to the Board of Higher Education and became its chair in December of that year. He served as chair until March 2015. He now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Inversant, a nonprofit leading the largest children's savings account initiative in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
A Fulbright Scholar, Charlie served from 2002 – 2009 as the Executive Vice President of the Trefler Foundation. Previously, he worked for 30 years at UMass Boston as associate chancellor for school/community collaboration, vice chancellor for student affairs, director of the pre-freshman programs, and project director of College Preparatory Program/Upward Bound. He also served as a guidance counselor at Northeastern University’s African/American Institute and in the Boston Public Schools.
Charlie is active in civic and community organizations, including service as president of AARP Massachusetts and as a member of the review committee for Broad Prize in Urban Education, Board of Governors for the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University. Charlie received his EdD in instructional leadership from UMass Amherst and his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University. He has received numerous honors and awards from local and national organizations, and he is the recipient of three Honorary Doctorates. He is a U.S. Army veteran and was awarded the Silver and Bronze stars. He lives in Danvers and is married to Phyllis Boyd. He has three adult children.
For more than 30 years, Jonathan Edwards has been part of senior management teams leading start-up private and non-profit organizations. In these roles, he has become recognized as a leader in the marketing and strategic design of clean tech firms and as a regional leader for economic development and public/private partnership in his home region of Western Massachusetts. In his current role as Director of Strategic Partnerships with Tech Foundry, Jonathan leads the organization’s efforts to build partnerships with area employers, economic development stakeholders, government officials, and the funding community, both regionally and across the country.
Among his leadership positions in education reform was his role as Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs for the educational management organization, Advantage Schools. There he was part of a management team that ran charter schools in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
Jonathan is a political leader in Western Massachusetts, currently in his 12th year as a member of the Whately Board of Selectmen. He ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2013-2014. Jonathan holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Barry served in the Massachusetts legislature for 17 years, four as a state senator and thirteen as a state representative. He was a Democratic candidate for Massachusetts Treasurer in 2014. Barry began his public service as a member of the Andover Board of Selectman.
In the Senate, Barry was the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Election Laws while in the House of Representatives, he served as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. In the 2013-2014 legislative session, he was the lead sponsor of legislation that would have built on the success of the 2010 education reform law.
A native of Andover and Tewksbury, Barry graduated from Franklin and Marshall College and has a law dree from Massachusetts School of Law. He also holds an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. At age 29, he founded the law firm of Dalton & Finegold in Andover. He continues to work as a partner at the firm, which specializes in real estate, estate planning, and corporate law. Barry lives in Andover with his wife, Amy, and three children, Ava, Ella and Max.
Immediate Past President of the Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard (the council of the six Vineyard Democratic town committees), Ewell is the Chairperson of the Oak Bluffs Democratic Town Committee, an elected member of the Oak Bluffs Planning Board, and will soon join the board of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School.
A native of Framingham and a 1982 graduate of Boston University, he’s held senior sales positions at leading fortune 500 software and services firms and been a partner in a financial services consulting firm. He currently works as an independent consultant.
Married to Kimberly Cartwright for 26 years, he is a father of three, Kristine, Danielle and Tripp, all raised on the Vineyard, where Ewell has served on many nonprofit boards with a strong focus on affordable housing and social justice. He is currently the Board Chairman of Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard.
Keri Rodrigues Lorenzo has spent her entire career fighting on behalf of hard working families and brings her passion as a proud Mom to her advocacy on education for children across Massachusetts. Keri is the founder and Mom-in-Chief of Massachusetts Parents United, a parent advocacy group bringing together thousands of parents across the Commonwealth to fight for safer neighborhoods, stable and secure homes, and high quality education for every child.
Keri began her career as an award-winning journalist and radio broadcaster in Southeastern Massachusetts. She continued her career in advocacy as a labor activist, communicator and organizer with 1199SEIU. Keri currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and has worked on dozens of campaigns. She serves as a Justice of the Peace for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
A Secular Franciscan, she also devotes much of her free time to volunteer work at Saint Anthony’s Shrine in Boston where you can catch her serving at the 7:30 a.m. mass on Sunday mornings. Most importantly, Keri is the mother of three wonderful little boys: Matthew, Miles and David.
Tripp Jones has spent his career driving reform and innovation on social issues in both the public and private sectors. He is currently Principal at 21c, a company he founded in 2014 to work with for-proﬁt and nonproﬁt social enterprises and investors helping them to develop sustainable and scalable business models and impact the sectors in which they operate or invest. Prior to that he served as the Co-Managing Director of New Proﬁt, a national venture philanthropy and social innovation organization focused on expanding social mobility, guiding the organization’s plans for future growth and impact. Before joining New Proﬁt, he was a senior executive at The MENTOR Network a for-proﬁt, private equity backed national health services company where he spent eight years serving children and adults with disabilities and special needs. During his tenure with MENTOR the company grew its revenues for $250 million to over $1 billion, completed 47 acquisitions and expanded its services from 18 to 38 states.
Tripp has also spent a number of years working in government and politics seeking to change public policy. He co-founded and served for eight years as the executive director of the independent, non-partisan think tank MassINC (The Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth) and publisher of CommonWealth magazine focused on developing a public agenda that promotes the growth and vitality of the middle-class. Tripp also served in variety of capacities in government and is a veteran of national and state political campaigns. In the early 1990’s, he played a key role in leading the effort to create and pass into law Massachusetts’ landmark 1993 education reform law. He lives in Wayland, MA with his wife, Robin and their three children —Hugh, Tucker and Eden.
Bob Markel, a retired political science professor, served seven terms on the Springfield City Council before he was elected as that city's Mayor in 1992. As Mayor, he also served as Chairman of the Springfield School Committee. He was an active participant in planning and implementing Springfield's school reform program, including the establishment of the SABIS Charter School. Bob served as Town Administrator for Norfolk and Town Manager of Ipswich. Since "retiring", Bob works stints as an Interim Town Administrator throughout the state, including in Northfield, Templeton, Stoneham, and Southamption.
Bob has a bachelor's degree in history and a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Notre Dame.
Marv is the National President of the College Democrats of America. Before taking on that role in September 2015, he served as the National Vice President of College Democrats of America and as the President of College Democrats of Massachusetts. He has also served as the National Chairman of the College Democrats of America's Black Caucus. Currently, Marv is attending Fordham University 's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences pursuing a Master of Arts in Election and Campaign Management. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.
Marv is from Long Beach, NY where he began volunteering to elect Democrats to local offices. He worked as an Organizing Fellow on President Obama's re-election campaign, organizing Boston students to get out the vote in New Hampshire. He was a Field Organizer for Senator Markey's 2013 U.S. Senate campaign, and during the summer of 2014, he was the Governor Deval Patrick Intern for the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Anthony works at Kearney, Donovan & McGee and has more than twenty years of experience at the municipal and state levels of government in Massachusetts. Prior to joining KDM, he served in the state Senate (elected in 2007) and the state House of Representatives (elected in 1999). Prior to his election to the Massachusetts legislature, Anthony worked as an aide to the late Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston.
During his time in the Senate, he served as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, and the Joint Committee on Financial Services. Most recently, he served as the Senate Majority Whip. In the House of Representatives, Anthony was the chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business.
A resident of Lynnfield with his wife and two children, Anthony is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Boston College High School.
Throughout her career, Saritin has worked tirelessly to create better access to public health resources and has been a strong advocate for underserved communities by promoting efforts to prevent domestic violence, reduce substance abuse, and encourage the expansion of mental health programs. As Assistant Vice President of Community Relations at Metro Credit Union, Saritin is building partnerships in the community that provide low-income and emerging populations with housing services, health care programming, and mental health education.
She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Immigrant Learning Center, Casa Myrna, the East Boston Social Center, the Newmarket Business Association, and the Governor’s Public Education Nominating Council. She's President of the North Suffolk Mental Health Board of Directors and past President of the Chelsea Rotary Club. She also served for eight years on the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
The daughter of immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, Saritin is a mother of four children, a grandmother, and the proud wife of a Chelsea Police Officer.
Stephanie is a dedicated public servant with extensive experience in government. Most recently, Stephanie worked with Stand For Children in Massachusetts as the Campaign Manager to launch a high-quality Pre-K campaign and as the Boston Director organizing parents to become better advocates for their children in the Boston public school system. Prior to that, in 2013-14, she served as the Campaign Manager for the Massachusetts Nurses Association’s Patient Safety Act and Hospital Financial Transparency ballot initiatives. After graduating in 2005 from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Stephanie has worked in Cambridge politics managing various races and in 2012 helped elect Elizabeth Warren to the US Senate
Before graduating from the Kennedy School of Government, Stephanie served as the Executive Director of the College Democrats of America at the Democratic National Committee. In that capacity, she also served as the advisor to the DNC Chairman on Youth Outreach. In 2000 and 2002, Stephanie was the Democratic nominee for the US House of Representatives from Connecticut's Fourth Congressional District.
She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and served as president of the Connecticut Young Democrats. Prior to running for Congress, Stephanie served as a Selectwoman in Greenwich from 1997 to 1999. Stephanie attended Phillips Academy Andover and following a year abroad at Cambridge University in England, graduated from Brown University.
Paul is the President of The Novus Group, a consulting firm that provides government relations, political consulting, and real estate development services. Prior to joining Novus, Paul was Senior Vice President of Government Relations at ML Strategies and has worked in an of counsel capacity at Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels.
A Democrat, Paul was a member of the Boston City Council from 1997 to 2006, where he served as Vice President for two years. Paul chaired the Council's Committee on Aviation and Transportation, the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, and the Committee on Economic Development.
Paul received his B.A. from Tufts University, his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, and an M.P.A. from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He lives in Milton with his wife and 3 children, all of whom attend public school.
John has an extensive policy background in public education reform, workforce development, and urban revitalization. He is currently directing Mass Insight Education's College Success Campaign. He most recently served as the Director of Gateway City Strategic Initiatives for the Massachusetts Charter Public Schools Association. Before that, John was the Executive Vice President of MassINC, where he led the organization’s groundbreaking Gateway Cities research and policy initiative and the New Skills for a New Economy Campaign.
Prior to joining MassINC, John directed a regional planning and economic development partnership within the Massachusetts I-90 and I-495 corridors. He also served as chief of staff to the House majority whip and research director to the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Education, Arts, and Humanities where he played a key staff role in the development, passage, and implementation of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993. John has also been a teacher and college administrator.
Trained in education and public policy, John has degrees from Northeastern University and Loyola University of Chicago. He served as Michael S. Dukakis's first graduate assistant at Northeastern University. He lives in Lowell with his wife and daughter. His stepdaughter is a public school teacher in Vermont and his stepson is a computer software engineer. Both are graduates of the UMass and community college system.
Throughout her career, Meredith has devoted herself to bringing opportunity to children and other vulnerable groups through both the political process and leadership in education reform.
In 2006, eight months before Barack Obama announced his candidacy, Meredith founded Students for Barack Obama, a draft committee that evolved into the official student wing of the campaign with more than 800 chapters across the country. Meredith led the organization for two and a half years and served as a National Co-Chair of Obama for America. Most recently, Meredith has worked for the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic nomination, coordinating mobilization and get-out-the-vote efforts in early states.
Since she was young, Meredith has been involved in education. Dating to when she was in fourth grade, Meredith has volunteered in countless classrooms and supported high-needs students across all types of educational settings. During her first years in Massachusetts, Meredith simultaneously worked in Dorchester at an Early Head Start program, where she witnessed the profound potential of young children from Boston's most challenging circumstances, and created a transitional living house for homeless young adults. These broken young adults led her to seek alternative options to the established K-12 educational system. In 2011, Meredith joined the founding leadership team of Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford, MA. For the school's launch and first three years of growth, Meredith served as Director of Operations and Student Services. Meredith is currently at Match Education, where she has held the role of Chief of Staff and is now Director of Strategy for Match Beyond, a new program helping low-income young adults to obtain college degrees and career-track employment.
Andrea is the President of the Eos Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation which has done significant grant making with schools throughout the state around education and hunger. Before joining Eos in 2007, Andrea was the co-founder and CEO of the Center for Women & Enterprise, one of the largest nonprofit entrepreneurial training centers in New England.
Andrea was a Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 2006, campaigning on a platform of job creation, economic development, economic justice, and poverty alleviation. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she has earned an M.B.A., an M.P.A, and a B.A. She lives in Harwich with her three children who attend public schools, both district and charter.
Raiyan Syed is a social entrepreneur. Over the past decade, Raiyan successfully directed multi-million dollar electoral campaigns, served in leadership roles at non-profits, and provided strategic communications advice to political leaders and faith based institutions. Raiyan managed former Congressman John Adler (NJ-3) and Congressman Bill Keating’s (MA-9) multi-million dollar campaigns, helping elect the two freshmen to Congress in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
Raiyan has also served in a leadership role with the New Jersey Assembly Speakers political operation where he oversaw over a dozen successful state legislative campaigns, and managed then Assemblyman Jim Whelan’s successful $2.9 million State Senate race.
Currently, Raiyan advises nonprofits, candidates, and issue advocacy groups on strategic communications, media relations, and stakeholder development. Most recently Syed helped launch Families for Excellent Schools in Boston where he served as the Founding Massachusetts State Director. Prior to that, Raiyan was the Senior Impact Director at City Year Boston, a nonprofit that recruits 17 – 24 year old young leaders to volunteer a year to service, where they work with at-risk kids across our highest-needs schools.
Born in Bangladesh, Raiyan immigrated to America at the age of 7 and grew up in the Bronx. Raiyan graduated from Union College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He now resides in Boston with his wife and son.
David Torrisi is the founder and principal of Torrisi Strategic Advisors, a lobbying and government relations firm based in North Andover. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1999 to 2013, representing the communities of Lawrence and North Andover. During his time in the Legislature, David chaired the Joint Committee on Higher Education, the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development and the Joint Committee on Community Development & Small Business. He also served on the Joint Committee on Education, where he was known for his strong and passionate support of public charter schools. David served on the North Andover Board of Selectmen from 1996 to 1999.
David has deep roots in the Merrimack Valley, where his family has owned and operated a small business for seventy years, and has strong ties to many non-profit and community based organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Merrimack Valley YMCA and on the advisory board to the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. David is also a member of the North Andover School Committee.
David is an attorney, graduating from Suffolk University Law School in 2004 and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association. He attended the University of Vermont, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science in 1990. David lives in North Andover with his wife Sarah and their two children, Jack and Ella.