Welcome Jesse Mermell, new FairTest Executive Director

FairTest News

FairTest Examiner - January 2008

On behalf of FairTest's board and staff, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Jesse Mermell as our new executive director.

Jesse comes to FairTest with a passion for public policy and advocacy, as well as extensive experience in non-profits and political consulting. Currently, she is executive director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, a member of the Brookline (MA) Board of Selectmen, and a board member of Citizens for Public Schools. Jesse will join FairTest at the end of February.

I will stay with FairTest, as deputy director, to lead our work on testing in the public schools.

As I have been executive director, singly and in a shared position, since 1998, my leaving this position may raise questions. As a small organization, we've tried having the director – me -- combine program work with overall organizational development and management. But I cannot do all those well enough, and my deep interests and commitments lie in the K-12 testing reform advocacy efforts. We need an energetic, committed person to lead the organization as a whole. That way, I can do what I do best, while FairTest's institutional growth can receive the focused attention it requires.

Our program work and other staff are going strong. Veteran staff and board member Bob Schaeffer leads our public education and university admissions programs; Lisa Guisbond works with us on K-12 issues and developing written materials; and David Mirabella manages the office and web site, among other tasks.

All of us at FairTest look forward to working with Jesse in the years to come as we strengthen our efforts to accomplish such goals as overhauling federal law, changing state testing programs, ensuring high-quality assessments that help students learn, and persuading ever more colleges to become test-score optional.

In other changes, new officers were elected at FairTest's fall board meeting. Long-time board member and former president Sophie Sa was elected as the new president. Former president Laura Barrett now serves as clerk. New board member Betty Rauch was named treasurer. Judith Browne-Dianis continues to serve as vice president of the board.

Monty Neill