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William James College Names Fitchburg Schools Superintendent Andre Ravenelle Executive Director of Teacher

Andre Ravenelle, superintendent of Fitchburg Public Schools, has been named the new Executive Director of Teachers21, a William James College organization that offers customized professional development for academic leaders.

“Andre’s arrival opens the door to collaboration and program development opportunities within our school of psychology, organizational and leadership psychology, distance education and our Freedman Center,” said Nicholas Covino, president of William James College, a leader in educating mental health professionals. “With considerable experience in leading urban schools and social emotional learning, he will help Teachers21 and the college to expand our work in these areas.”

In his new position, Ravenelle will oversee the traditional curricula, systems and program consultation work of Teachers21 and he will be able to leverage the behavioral health and leadership assets of William James College into existing programs. Ravenelle has served as superintendent of the 5,200 student Fitchburg Public School system since 2005. As president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents in 2015e made social emotional learning (SEL) his primary focus and incorporated it into the curricula throughout the Fitchburg school district.

“The needs in our school districts are great, and superintendents are at a loss as to how to meet the growing challenges of a changing student body,” said Ravenelle. “With access to the wealth of information and potential at William James College, Teachers21 can help communities and school districts in the best way possible and provide them with resources that they need. Teachers21 and William James College are in the right place, at the right time, with the right solutions, and I look forward to applying my prior experience to this exciting new role.”

Ravenelle, who also held leadership positions in the Lexington, Barnstable, Boston, and Chelsea school systems, is currently completing his tenure as Fitchburg superintendent and will begin full-time at Teachers21 in October. Fluent in Spanish and French, Ravenelle received his B.A. in Philosophy/Languages from Assumption College, his M.Div. from Weston School of Theology and his M.Ed. from Boston College. Ravenelle has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2015 AASA Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year and the 2016 MassInsight Partners in Excellence Award, and holds several board and professional memberships.

William James College recently acquired Teachers21 to help the college to, further its work in leadership training and the primary prevention of mental illness. Faculty specialists in behavioral health, school psychology and organizational leadership will partner with the educators and leadership experts at Teachers21 to bring training and resources to teachers and administrative personnel who serve children.

About William James College

William James College is a leader in educating the next generation of psychology professionals to support the growing and diverse needs of the mental health workforce. Integrating field work with academics, the College prepares students for careers as organizational leaders and behavioral health professionals who are committed to helping the underserved, multicultural populations, children and families and veterans. William James College graduates can be found making an impact in a variety of settings, including schools, the courts, clinical care facilities, hospitals, business organizations and within the community. For more information, please visit

About Teachers21

Teachers21, founded in 1993, is dedicated to improving the professional practice of PreK-12 education and creating supportive school communities in Massachusetts and beyond. Through a variety of professional development and consulting services, programs, courses and one-on-one coaching, Teachers21 helps districts focus on culture, leadership, pedagogy, content and much more. 

Mark Sternman

As Legislative Director and Deputy Policy Director for State Senator Eileen Donoghue, Mark Sternman tracks all bills before the State Senate with a focus on those involving the budget and higher education. Before joining the Senator's staff in 2017, Mark worked for MassDevelopment, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Representative Martin Meehan. 
Mark received his A.B. from Dartmouth College and his Master’s in International Security Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.Board Members

Paul Toner

Paul F. Toner is the president of New Voice Strategies, a nonprofit that provides a crowdsourcing online platform for educators, parents and community members to have meaningful discussions about current educational policy at the local, state and national level with a focus on problem-solving and seeking practical solutions for advancing student achievement.

Mr. Toner is also the immediate past president of the 113,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association, and was a strong voice for educators and a proud public school parent. Toner, a middle school social studies teacher, lawyer and former president of the Cambridge Education Association, was elected MTA president after serving for four years as the association’s vice president. He left office on July 14, 2104.

Toner served as the President of the National Council of State Education Associations (NCSEA) and on many NEA committees at the national level. He served as chair of MassPartners for Public Schools and is active in the Teacher Union Reform Network. He is a member of the Massachusetts 2020 Expanded Learning Time Advisory Board. He served on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Educator Evaluation Task Force, Task Force on 21st Century Skills, and Task Force on Closing the Proficiency Gap. He also was a participant in Governor Deval Patrick’s Readiness Project and recently part of Governor Baker’s Education Transition Committee. Toner was a commissioner on the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission and served on the Board of Directors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

He is an appointed member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Education Commission of the States. Toner graduated from Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. He also holds a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and earned his juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.

Jeanne Borawski

Jeanne Borawski currently serves as Vice Chair of the Reading School Committee and is an elementary teacher with Understanding Disabilities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising students’ awareness and empathy for their peers with disabilities. Prior to these roles, Jeanne was a public high school English teacher and a Senior Marketing Officer at a large financial services company.

She has extensive municipal budget and government experience, and has served in leadership roles on several elected and appointed boards and committees. Jeanne holds a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Tufts University.

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Teachers21 has a network of over 75 experienced classroom leaders, school leaders and district leaders who provide our training and coaching services. While each brings expertise in particular content areas, all are experienced at engaging adults in the learning process and connecting their work to the needs of each clients and to Teachers21 framework for improved and inspired learning.

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