Press Releases

Lesley University President Margaret McKenna Named Chair of The Boston Higher Education Partnership Board of Directors

BHEP Agenda Focuses on Boston Supt. Transition, Support of new Teachers, Increasing College Readiness

BOSTON – In a year of leadership transition for the Boston Public Schools, The Boston Higher Education Partnership (BHEP) has named Lesley University President Margaret A. McKenna Chair of their Executive Committee, citing her decades of leadership and advocacy for public education.

The BHEP serves as a conduit for collaboration between the region’s colleges and universities and the Boston Public Schools, with 31 member institutions. This year, the BHEP is focused on supporting the search and transition of a new Boston Superintendent of Schools, increasing college-school partnerships, and increasing mentoring and support services for new teachers in Boston schools.

According to Executive Director Deborah Hirsch, McKenna’s longstanding commitment to college access and teacher education will prove a valuable asset for the priorities set forth by the Executive Committee of the BHEP.

“President McKenna’s leadership and dedication to improving the quality of education in the public schools will support the longstanding partnerships that member colleges and universities have with Boston schools, as well as their desire to work together to have greater impact than any one institution might have on its own,” says Deborah Hirsch, Executive Director of the BHEP.

The BHEP has set several priorities for the 2005-2006 academic year, including: Supporting the search process and transition of a new Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools; focusing college-school partnerships that move beyond preparing Boston students for admission to college, but prepare them to succeed and graduate; convening a work group for using dual enrollment at BHEP member colleges and universities as a strategy to improve college access for BPS students; foster collaboration among area deans and directors of teacher education programs to support new teachers in Boston.

“This is a year of transition for the Boston Public Schools, during an era where teacher training, retention, and the preparation of Boston students to excel in higher education needs to be a priority for everyone,” says McKenna. “The Boston Higher Education Partnership can play a crucial role in bringing the region’s vast educational resources to the same table, and bring more energy to the challenges at hand.”

McKenna has been President of Lesley University since 1985. Under McKenna’s leadership, Lesley University has emerged as the largest provider of teacher education in Massachusetts, the third largest graduate school in the Commonwealth, and among the largest providers of Master’s in Education in the country. A strong advocate for improving the quality of public education, she served as the first Deputy Secretary of Education under President Jimmy Carter, and as a member of President Bill Clinton’s transition team on education, as well as Mayor Tom Menino’s transition team on education issues.

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The BHEP is a collaborative effort on the part of the Boston Public Schools and the higher education community to promote quality teaching and learning for Boston students. The collective vision for the BHEP is to assure that Boston students graduate from high school academically prepared with adequate scholarship assistance to enroll and succeed in college. To accomplish this, the BHEP matches the strengths of area institutions of higher education with the needs of public school teachers and students. The BHEP is affiliated with TERI College Access, a non-profit organization committed to helping families and students plan and pay for college. Support comes from annual dues, funding from the Boston Public Schools, several local foundations and The Education Resources Institute (TERI).

Lesley University (, a 12,000-student, multi-site university for women and men, is one of the nation’s largest providers of graduate professional education opportunities to K-12 educators. Anchored by a strong liberal arts curriculum, Lesley offers undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts, human services and the environment at its Cambridge and Boston campuses, online, and in 150 locations in 21 states. Lesley’s four schools include the School of Education, the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, The Art Institute of Boston, and Lesley College, an undergraduate residential college. Lesley University prepares individuals for lives and careers that make a difference, and serves the evolving needs of students and a diverse society through innovative programs and pedagogy, high quality instruction, scholarship, advocacy, and outreach.