BOSTON (April 4, 2016) – Mass Insight Education, a Boston-based national nonprofit dedicated to improving student achievement and increasing college success through rigorous academic programs, announced today that its board of directors has selected Dr. Susan F. Lusi, who has 30 years of experience in education, academia and government, as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer. Dr. Lusi succeeded William Guenther, Mass Insight Education’s founder, on March 18.
During a six-month national search, the board’s search committee vetted a diverse pool of highly qualified applicants from across the country.
“The board is pleased to have found a passionate and skilled leader right here in New England to assume this important role at Mass Insight Education,” said Dick Taggart, chairman of MIE’s board of directors and executive vice president at State Street Corporation. “Susan possesses the exact blend of expertise and insight that we set out to find at the beginning of our search.”
Guenther, who served on the search committee and has assumed the role of Senior Strategy Consultant at Mass Insight Education, expanded on Taggart’s remarks. “Susan brings a strong research background as well as deep practical knowledge gained through her work at both the state and district levels,” said Guenther. “She also has proven to be adept at building partnerships, which has been the cornerstone of Mass Insight Education’s strategy since its founding in 1997. I’m looking forward to supporting her as the organization expands its reach and impact.”
Dr. Lusi, who was named a Broad Fellow in 2003, served as superintendent of Providence Public Schools from 2011 until July 2015, where she was credited with developing the strategy to improve high school graduation rates and reading scores, and increase school autonomy. During her tenure, she engaged Mass Insight Education to conduct a multi-year capacity-building project. One outcome of the partnership was the design and launch of an Office of Transformation and Innovation to support improvement efforts in the lowest-performing schools.
“Susan has first-hand experience with our district transformation school turnaround model, which will be invaluable as we expand our work with struggling districts across the country,” said Michael Contompasis, Mass Insight Education’s executive chairman for Massachusetts and senior field consultant. “She is an impressive collaborator and communicator who will bring a fresh perspective to our efforts here in Massachusetts as well, where our goal is to increase the academic rigor of schools through the wide-spread implementation of our successful Advanced Placement STEM and English program.”
Dr. Lusi’s previous leadership positions include serving as superintendent of Portsmouth Public Schools (2005-2011), chief of staff of Providence Public Schools (2001-2003) and the Rhode Island Department of Education’s assistant commissioner for support services (1997-2001). Earlier in her career, she worked for the Coalition of Essential Schools and Annenberg Institute for School Reform.
According to Dr. Lusi, “I am enormously pleased and honored to be the incoming CEO of Mass Insight Education. When I was superintendent of Providence Schools, the organization was my most valued partner when it came to developing the strategies and practices needed for school and district transformation. We also had started working on college success as I was leaving the district, recognizing that we need to start in our middle schools to have diverse groups of students complete Advanced Placement courses and graduate college.”
She continued, “Leading Mass Insight Education will give me an opportunity to take an already strong organization to the next level, using my expertise in policy and practice at the state and local levels. I relish the opportunity to do this work on behalf of children in some of our neediest systems, particularly with new opportunities to rethink how we support underperforming schools and systems in ways that lead to graduating all students ready for success in college and career.”
Dr. Lusi holds both a M.P.P. and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, as well as a joint A.B./M.A.T. from Brown University. She also is the author of The Role of State Departments of Education in Complex School Reform (Teachers College Press, 1997).
A native of Springfield, VT, she is married to Steven Lusi and has two children, a son who lives and works in Massachusetts, and a daughter who attends Brown University. She serves on the board of Cambridge, Mass.,-based Engaging Schools.
About Mass Insight Education
Founded in Boston in 1997, Mass Insight Education is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving student achievement and increasing college success through rigorous academic programs that close the achievement gap and prepare the leaders of tomorrow. For the first 10 years, Mass Insight Education joined with superintendents and the business community to advocate for higher standards in Massachusetts, and connected policymakers with practitioners to help build what became a national model of effective standards-based reform.
In 2007, Mass Insight Education released The Turnaround Challenge, a research report and call to action that highlighted the need for intervention in America’s lowest-performing schools and established the framework for a district transformation/school turnaround theory of action. Also in 2007, Mass Insight Education received a five-year, $13 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative, primarily funded by Exxon Mobile, to lead a partnership between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, school districts and private funders to address the challenge of math and science education in the U.S. Today, Mass Insight Education and its public-private partners continue this work as part of the most successful research-based College Success program in Massachusetts, supporting 10,000 high school students annually, with a special focus on low-income and minority students.