Karen Mitchell

2 New Members and a 3rd Scheduled

UPDATED: JANUARY 13, 2012: There’s been action aplenty over the past two months at the seven-member Teachers’ Retirement Board.

A December election has seen incumbent Karen Mitchell top a five candidate field in winning a second four-year term on the Board.

Finishing second and also winning a four-year term on the Board was Dennis Naughton, a retired 38-year Millis teacher.

Absent from the ballot this year was Jay Dow, a retired Marblehead Teacher who served on the Board for 32 years and didn’t seek re-election.

Other candidates in the order of finish were Paul Andrews, a retired Woburn School Superintendent, who is currently representing the Mass. Association of School Superintendents in legislative affairs at the State House.

Jay Dow

Matthew Gilis, the Assistant Superintendent for Business in the Milton Schools was next, followed by Thomas Campbell, Director of Human Resources in the Needham Schools.

Mitchell, daughter of the late John Murphy, the former President of the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems, has been a Plymouth middle school teacher for the past 22 years. She also briefly worked for the State’s Department of Correction, is an Air Force veteran and was a big winner four years ago when George McSherry, a 20-year Board member, did not seek reelection.

Dennis NaughtonDow's absence opened the door for Dennis Naughton, who was endorsed by both the Mass Teacher's Association and the Mass Federation of Teachers.He had previously served as president of the Millis Teachers Association and spent many years on the MTA Board of Directors. Naughton was a public school teacher for 38 years and was principal of Millis High School. He's an East Walpole native, whose home is now in nearby Foxboro.

Prior to the election, Governor Deval Patrick appointed retired teacher Anne Wass to the Board for a term that runs to April 18, 2014. Wass succeeded Ellen Hargraves, a retired Groton-Dunstable teacher who had been a holdover from an earlier appointment by then-governor Mitt Romney. Under law, this seat could only be filled by an appointment to a retired teacher.

Anne WassWass, a sixth grade teacher at the Hanover Middle School for 31 years had worked her way up through the MTA chairs, serving as MTA Vice President and President for 2006 to 2010. She was highly praised by our Association for her work in helping as part of a coalition, which was able to enact compromise legislation in the Municipal Health Insurance Act (Ch. 69) last summer.

Currently, the other members of the TRB include chairman Jeff Wulfson, the Associate Commission for School Finance who is the designee of the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.

State Treasurer Steve Grossman and State Auditor Suzanne Bump each have a seat on the Board. Grossman is represented by State Retirement Board Director Nick Favorito and Bump by John Parsons an attorney and member of Bump’s executive staff.

Activity at the TRB still continues. Shortly, the current six members of the Board will vote to name a seventh member for a term of four years. Linda Ruberto, of Pittsfield, had held the seat for many years. Wife of the late Judge Anthony Ruberto, Linda was a former teacher in the Pittsfield School System. She declined to be named to another term.

Dow Was Fixture On Board

Jay Dow was a fixture on the Teachers’ Board for 32 years. “He never campaigned for office but his reputation for integrity was such that he was automatically reelected when his name was on the ballot,” said Association President Ralph White.

Jay was also a member of the PRIM Board, representing the Teachers’ Board. “I served with Jay on the PRIM Board for many years. He especially enjoyed fellow PRIM Board members who were private sector volunteers,” White noted.

“We had private sector members who shared their expertise in timber, venture capital, real estate and other investments,” Dow said. “I found them to be fascinating in their success. They donated a great deal of time and energy to our Board. They were very helpful to the Board and staff.”

Dow, a retired Marblehead teacher, felt at age 85 it was time to step aside from the Teachers’ and PRIM Board. “My wife Day and I have very active lives. I manage some rental property which we have long-owned, and belong to several local organizations. Marblehead is a wonderful community. The Teachers’ Board was a major part of my life and I shall always remember the dedicated people with whom I worked.”