Healey Appoints Three to Board of Higher Education

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BOSTON — Gov. Maura T. Healey appointed Harneen Chernow, Danielle Allen and Christina Royal to serve on the Board of the Department of Higher Education. 
Healey also reappointed Chris Gabrieli as chair. 
"Equity is at the center of our administration. I'm proud to be appointing members of the Board of Higher Education who share this commitment and will work to expand access to affordable, high quality higher education for every student," said Healey. "Massachusetts has long been a leader in higher education, and I'm confident that under the leadership of Chair Gabrieli and the other board members, we will continue to lengthen our lead and deliver results for the people of Massachusetts." 
The Department of Higher Education aims to improve the quality of higher education throughout the state and ensure that Massachusetts residents have the opportunity to benefit from a higher education that enriches their lives and advances their contributions to the civic life and economic development of the state. The high standard held for the state's institutions of higher education allows for a concerted focus on equity, accountability, empowerment, and much more, said the governor. The 13-member board is responsible for defining and maintaining the mission of the Department of Education. 
"For the last eight years, I have had the privilege of serving on the board and am grateful to continue because our work is not finished," said Gabrieli. "I am delighted to work with our terrific cohort of fellow board members, our secretary and commissioner and our higher ed leaders and stakeholders who also all believe in making sure our colleges and universities have the tools and innovations they need to serve our students, educate our workforce and build more equitable communities. I look forward to working with my new colleagues and am excited to see what we will accomplish together." 
Gabrieli was first appointed in March 2015. He has been the co-founder of several non-profit education innovation and reform initiatives and a lecturer at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. He is also the chairman of theSpringfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, a partnership between the state, district and teacher's union aimed at accelerating innovation and success for students.   
Harneen Chernow is a director of the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF), a multi-state health-care workforce intermediary providing education and training opportunities to more than 300,000 members in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington D.C. and the state of Florida. Of central importance in her work is TEF's partnership with the public postsecondary education system, in which members complete their degrees and obtain necessary credentials. Chernow's focus and experience is in expanding career advancement and educational opportunities to workers who have been systemically excluded from succeeding in postsecondary education, helping them access family-sustaining jobs and careers. 
Danielle Allen is James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, where she is a professor of political philosophy, ethics, and public policy. She is a seasoned nonprofit leader, advocate for democracy, and was a leading national voice on the pandemic response. She's also an author and a mom. A past chair of the Mellon Foundation and Pulitzer Prize boards, and former dean of humanities at the University of Chicago, Allen continues to serve as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Philosophical Society.  
Christina Royal is the president of Infinite Unlearning LLC and recently wrapped up her tenure as the fourth president of Holyoke Community College. She headed the college from 2017 to 2023 as its first woman, multi-racial and queer leader. She has served in progressively responsible roles in both higher education, with experience with community college and private four-year institutions, as well as in corporate environments. In her presidency at Holyoke, she led the creation of the college's first strategic plan, which prioritized equity by removing barriers for historically marginalized learners, including people of color, LGBTQ-plus, first generation, adult learners, and students living in poverty. Royal also established the President's Student Emergency Fund, collaboratively transformed the institution's shared governance model, launched El Centro to support Latinx students as a Hispanic Serving Institution, expanded mental health services, and secured the largest philanthropic gift to a community college in Massachusetts, among other notable accomplishments.
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ServiceNet Announces Two New Senior Leadership Positions

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — ServiceNet, a nonprofit mental health and human services agency based in Northampton, is announced the promotion of two leaders in its Developmental and Brain Injury Services (DBIS) division.
Shawn Robinson, formerly Director of Vocational Services and of Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield, has been appointed Vice President of Vocational Services & Day Programs. Robinson, who has worked with ServiceNet since 2011, was recognized in 2023 as the Daily Hampshire Gazette's Person of the Year and he also received a Black Excellence on the Hill Award from the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. 
Mike Lalak, a former Senior Director of Operations in the DBIS division, has been appointed Vice President of DBIS Residential Services. Lalak first came to ServiceNet in 2012 as a program director and quickly rose through the ranks. He currently oversees 58 of ServiceNet's residential programs across western Massachusetts.   
"These promotions mark an important turning point for ServiceNet,” said Abbas Hamdan, Senior Vice President of DBIS.  “I have every confidence that Mike and Shawn will continue to drive our mission and continuing growth to still new heights.”
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