Board of Education

The Board of Education is the chief policy-setting body overseeing K-20 education in Rhode Island. Through its designated powers and duties, the Board helps shape the course of public education to ensure that all of the state's students receive the best possible education.

The Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, race, color, religion, national origin, or disability.

Board Members

Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair - R.I. Board of Education

Board of Education Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso

Eva-Marie Mancuso has been Managing Partner with the law firm of Hamel, Waxler, Allen and Collins for over twenty years.   She is an accomplished trial attorney, having attained the status of board certfication by examination as a civil trial specialist in 2000 by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  Having served as lead counsel in several complex jury trials, she has been recognized by her peers as a leader, particularly in her elected role as President of the Association for Justice, the trial bar for Rhode Island.

Mancuso began her career as Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island and Assistant District Attorney for Bristol County, MA. She also has served as Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and as Faculty Advisor to the National College of District Attorneys.

Mancuso earned a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, where she was Student Bar Association President and earned the Outstanding Graduate Award for Public Service.

Mancuso is active in many legal and community organizations both locally and nationally. She is a former Vice President of the URI Alumni Association and served as a CCRI Foundation Trustee. She was also the R.I. Representative to the National Lawyers/Teacher Partnership. 

Mancuso has been honored as the R.I. Business and Professional "Woman of the Year," is a recipient of the South County "Business Woman of Achievement" Award, and received the "Outstanding Service Award" from the URI Alumni Association.

As a member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education from 2011 to 2013, Mancuso chaired the Government Relations Committee and served on the board’s Facilities, Finance and Management Committee and the Personnel Committee. She was appointed Chair of the newly-formed Rhode Island Board of Education in January of 2013. 

Chair Mancuso is married to attorney Sean Feeney, a proud mother and grandmother!

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Reappointed to the RI Board of Education: June 2014

Term Expires: Serves at the Pleasure of Governor

 

Antonio Barajas, M.D.

Dr. Antonio Barajas is an Emergency Room physician at Rogers Williams Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas' extensive medical background includes service as the House Physician at Kent County Hospital in Warwick, an Emergency Room physician at Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, an Emergency Room physician at Miriam Hospital in Providence, as a physician with Women's Care Inc., a field investigator for the RI State Medical Examiner's Office, and a primary care and Emergency Room physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas is involved with the Brown University Medical School's mentoring program and is President of the Rhode Island Mexican-American Association, a Board member of Hospice Care of Rhode Island, and Chairman of the Rhode Island Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees at the International Institute in Providence.

Dr. Barajas has been involved with research on Guillain-Barre Syndrome and post-transfusion HIV seroconversion. He received his B.S. in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island and his M.D. from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, during which time he also studied at Prince George's County Medical Center in Maryland. Dr. Barajas has also taken part in the Fifth Pathway Program and the Brown School of Medicine, interned in surgery/medicine at Miriam Hospital, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Miriam Hospital. He is a resident of Central Falls.

While a member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education from 2011 – 2013, Dr. Barajas served on the Government Relations Committee; the Facilities, Finance and Management Committee; and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed to the Council on Postsecondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2015

 

Amy Beretta, Esq.

Amy Beretta is a 1989 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.  In 1997 she formed a law office performing work exclusively for, and employed by, MetLife Auto & Home.  Her office is responsible for litigating cases in state and federal courts in Rhode Island and interpreting insurance contract language.  In addition to handling litigation matters, she manages and oversees office administration and she acts as an arbitrator in personal injury litigation. 

Ms. Beretta is a board member and Treasurer for the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island; was previously a board member for the Rhode Island Bar Foundation; and served on the Rhode Island Bar Association Ethics Committee and the Rhode Island Supreme Court ADR Task Force.  At the local level she has served as a board member, secretary, and treasurer of the Providence Animal Rescue League and, along with her husband, has chaired the Bishop’s Ball for St. Joseph’s Health Services. 

She lives in Jamestown with her husband, Richard, and their two children. She was appointed to the Board of Regents in 2005 and chaired the Board’s Appeals Committee, and she was appointed the Board of Governors for Higher Education in 2011.

Appointed to Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2016

Colleen A. Callahan, Ed.D.

A former sixth-grade and special education teacher in Lincoln, Rhode Island, with 21 years of classroom experience, Colleen Callahan currently serves as the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP) Professional Issues Director.  As Director of Professional Issues, Dr. Callahan coordinates the organization's professional development networks, including its statewide Education Research & Dissemination and Redesigning Schools Networks and its partnerships with institutions of higher education.  She is responsible for direct service to members through coursework and on-site presentations and assists local union leaders in negotiating for and supporting professional issues and school-improvement initiatives.  
Dr. Callahan works regularly with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and other state agencies on education policy and represents the RIFTHP on numerous state and national boards and commissions, including the RI College Crusade and the Northeast Regional Education Labs Boards of Directors.  Currently, Dr. Callahan is serving as the program director for the RIFTHP/AFTs Innovation Fund initiative on teacher evaluation, working with labor-management teams from six RI urban districts, national experts, and RIDE to create a model teacher evaluation and support system. 

Dr. Callahan served as Secretary of the RI Board of Regents and chaired the Board's Committees on Academic and Student Programs and Secondary Regulations. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Rhode Island College and recently earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University.

 

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2017 

 

Dennis J. Duffy, Esq.

Dennis is Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Energy Management, Inc., a Boston based-energy infrastructure development firm and is responsible for the company’s regulatory and legislative affairs, legal strategy and industry trade group relations.

He has more than twenty-five years of experience as a corporate and regulatory attorney in New England.

He has also served as special counsel to the Rhode Island Energy Facility Board and was formerly a partner in the law firm of Partridge, Snow & Hahn.                                                   

Mr. Duffy is also an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School.

He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and Columbia University Law School.    

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: 2014

Appointed to the Council on Postsecondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2017

                                                               

Karin Forbes

Karin L. Forbes is a former member of the R.I. Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, serving on the Appeals Committee.  She is former Vice-Chair of the North Kingstown School Committee and chaired the Policy Subcommittee.  Mrs. Forbes taught school in East Greenwich from 1968-78.  

She has worked for CRH Consulting in Jamestown through which she worked for McGraw Hill designing predictive and diagnostic mathematics tests based on state standards.  Through the consulting firm she also worked for the Pakistan Department of Education, designing a staff development plan for Pakistan Teachers.

At present she is on the board of the West Bay Family YMCA, where she is involved in the redevelopment of the organization's After School Program.  She is also an active member of the North Kingstown Rotary Club, where she is a past-president and presently serving as treasurer.

She has been appointed as Chair of the Rhode Island Board of Education Appeals Committee.

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2017 

 

Jo Eva Gaines

Jo Eva Gaines is vice chair of the Newport School Committee, on which she has served since 2000. She is a member of the Policy Sub-committee and chairs the School Committee’s Building Committee and the Strategic Planning Sub-committee. Gaines has also served on the Executive Board of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees since 2001, during which time she has held the roles of president, secretary treasurer, and vice president.  She also serves as a Eucharistic minister, lector, and past president of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church parish council and has held a number of other active roles in her community.

After studying Music Education at Xavier University in New Orleans, Gaines received a B.A. in Education from Salve Regina University; an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Providence College; and a C.A.G.S. in Career Counseling/Secondary Administration from Bridgewater State College.  Her long teaching career included music education in Georgia, South Carolina, and Middletown, RI; guidance counselor and director of guidance in Middletown; and academic advisor at Salve Regina University. 

Gaines also served as secretary and vice chair of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education between 1985-2005, as well as a member of the Brown University’s Annenberg Institute Urban Education Task Force, Newport MLK Center Board of Directors, RI Commission on Women, Big Sisters RI, and several advisory boards for education evaluating and funding.  Gaines’ honors and awards include the NAACP Outstanding Educator Award and the RIASC Howard Kay Award for Outstanding School Committee Service.

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2017

 


Patrick A. Guida, Esq., Chairman - Council on Elementary and Secondary Education

Patrick A. Guida is an active partner with the Providence law firm of Duffy & Sweeney, Ltd., practicing primarily in the areas of banking, commercial finance and real estate lending.  Mr. Guida has been recognized for his professional achievement by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.  He is the only attorney elected from Rhode Island as a fellow of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers.  He and his wife live in Barrington, Rhode Island, where each of their children attended the public schools.  He received his B.A. from Union College, in Schenectady, New York, and his Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he served as editor of the Law Review. 

At the local and state level, Mr. Guida has served on the Barrington School Committee continuously since 1996 and as its Chairman for twelve years.  In 1999 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees (RIASC) and continues to serve in that capacity.  He was first elected as an officer of RIASC in 2000, was elected President in 2002, and re-elected the following year.  Mr. Guida served on the Rhode Island Board of Regents in for Elementary and Secondary Education from 2001 through 2012, and served as its Vice-Chair from 2005 through 2012.  He was a member and/or chair of numerous committees and sub-committees relating to Curriculum, Educator Quality, Secondary School Reform, State Funding Formula and Accountability Measures.  He was appointed as a member and Vice-Chair of the Rhode Island Board of Education in January, 2013.

At the national level, Board Member Guida has been an active member of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), serving three years as the Chair of the 20-member Government Affairs Committee, which is responsible for developing recommendations on federal policy and for communicating with Congress and federal officials about education reform.  In 2011, he was elected President-Elect of NASBE for the calendar year 2012 and currently serves as President of the Association.  He has also represented the State of Rhode Island at the National School Board Association (NSBA) National Delegate Assembly since 2000 and has served as the Northeast Region Representative on both the National Nominating Committee and Policies and Resolutions Committee of NSBA.  

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2015 

 


The Honorable Thomas Izzo

In January of 2003 Senator Izzo completed fourteen years of service in the Rhode Island State Senate, having first been elected in 1988.   He served as Chair of the Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, and served on both HEW and the Committee on Finance throughout his tenure in the Senate.  As Chair, and prior as Vice Chair, of the Permanent Legislative Oversight Commission on the Department of Children, Youth and Families he sponsored significant child welfare reform legislation as well as legislation regarding adoption, termination of parental rights, juvenile justice and the creation of the Children’s Cabinet.  Senator Izzo also was the prime sponsor of successful legislation dealing with youth access to tobacco, Rite Care, childhood lead poisoning, affordable housing, contractor registration, and the creation of charter schools.  Additionally Senator Izzo co-chaired the 2000 Special Commission on Health Care Reform and the Rhode Island System of Care Task Force. 

Senator Izzo served three terms as the Senate representative on the RI Board of Governors for Higher Education, where he chaired the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs.  In the past he has served as a board member of Adoption RI, Hope, Alzheimer Center, Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, the Childhood Lead Action Project, and RI Kids Count.  Senator Izzo presently serves on the Board of Directors of Healthcentric Advisors, serves as the Community Chair of the RI Global Waiver Implementation Task Force and is a member of the Coastal Medical ACO Advisory Committee.

Completing an undergraduate degree in education at Rhode Island College and an MA degree from New York University, Senator Izzo retired from the Cranston Public Schools in 1997 after thirty-two years as a junior high and middle school teacher, guidance counselor and as an Assistant Principal for Student Services.

In recognition of his legislative efforts Senator Izzo has received a number of awards from such diverse groups as the American Cancer Society, United Way of RI, the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Rhode Island College Alumni Association, Rhode Island Housing, the American Heart Association, the College Board, the RI Coalition for the Homeless, Childhood Lead Action Project, the RI Department of Health, and Life Span.

Appointed to Council on Postsecondary Education:  June 2014

Term Expires:  1/31/17

Judy Ouellette

Judy Ouellette is a retired kindergarten and first grade teacher and served as the Language Arts Standards Coach/Specialist in West Warwick, Rhode Island.  She has 30 years of classroom experience working with students and teachers.  Ouellette currently works as an independent educational consultant, a professional development planner and implementer for the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP), and the Rhode Island Civic Education Congressional District facilitator for Project Citizen, School Violence Prevention, and We the People programs.

Ouellette became a National Reading Trainer for the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals and most recently a National trainer for the American Federation of Teachers in Common Core Training Resources/Language Arts.

Ouellette currently volunteers at the Garden City School in Cranston, Rhode Island, and the West Warwick soup kitchen. Judy is a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Joseph’s Church, West Warwick.  She also holds a position on the Democratic Town Committee in West Warwick, as a member of Senator Hanna Gallo’s senate committee, and a member of the Rhode Island Federation of Retired Teachers.

Ouellette earned her bachelors degree and masters equivalent at Rhode Island College.  She commits herself to lifelong learning.

She is married to Russell N. Ouellette and is a proud wife, mother of three and Nana of four.

Appointed to the Council on Postsecondary Education: June 1024

Term Expires: 1/31/16

Lawrence Purtill

During his tenure as president of National Education Association Rhode Island, Larry Purtill has held numerous positions of leadership on statewide boards and commissions, in both the labor and education communities.  He currently is secretary treasurer of the Institute for Labor Studies and Research, chair of the Certification Advisory Committee, and is on the board of directors of the Working Rhode Island coalition.

Purtill is a member of the Executive Committee Rhode Island AFL-CIO. He taught history in Exeter-West Greenwich for 22 years prior to taking office in 1999.

 

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2016 

 

 


Kerry I. Rafanelli, Esq.

Kerry Rafanelli is a 1983 graduate of the New England School of Law and a 1980 graduate of Providence College.

He became a member of the Rhode Island Bar in 1983 and has been the Assistant Solicitor for the City of Warwick, where he is responsible for representation of the city in Superior, District and Municipal Court matters, since 1988.

In 1988 he formed his own private general practice of law offices located at 670 Main Street East Greenwich, R.I.  His practice areas include Superior and District Court litigation as well as serving in Family Court as counsel, mediator, and guardian ad litem.

He has been a member of the Board of Directors for Whitmarsh House for Boys since 2011 and serves as an incorporator of Kent County Hospital since 2011.

Appointed to the Council of Postsecondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2016

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mathies J. Santos

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mathies J. Santos served for more than 31 years with the USAF and the RI Air National Guard.  His last assignments included a 2008-2009 deployment to Afghanistan in support of "Operation Enduring Freedom," where he worked on the rebuilding of the Afghan National Army Air Corps; and as Commander of the 143rd Airlift Wing's Force Support Squadron.  Mat is a native Rhode Islander and product of the Providence Public Schools.  A 1965 graduate of Hope High School, he holds degrees from Brown University 77' and Rhode Island College 82' in Italian Studies and Secondary Education; and Managerial Economics, respectively.  

Mat retired from state service in 2003 having worked at Rhode Island College, the Executive Branch, the Department of Administration, and retiring as Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and Director of Equity and Access at the Rhode Island Department of Education.  He is currently employed as a Reservist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a Community Relations and Congressional Affairs Specialist.

Appointed to the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education in 2011, he Chaired the Board's Appeals Committee and serves on the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Study Group examining the "Role of Technology in Schools and Communities."  

Appointed to the RI Board of Education: January 2013

Appointed to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014 

Term Expires: January 31, 2015

 

 

John J. Smith, Jr.

John J. Smith Kr. ’63, ’67 M.Ed is a familiar face around the Rhode Island College campus- often attending Rhode Island Foundation meetings, attending events or speaking with staff members in Roberts Hall.

A longtime member and past president of the Rhode Island College Foundation, Smith is also a generous supporter of the college. His recent $100,000 donation to help fund the Keefe Transportation Center is just the latest example of his commitment to RIC. In recognition of his generosity, the center was named after his mother, the late Anna Veronica Keefe Smith ’33, ’67 M.Ed.

Smith began attending RIC in 1959, following in the footsteps of his mother. “RIC game me a great opportunity to fulfill my dream, which was first to become a teacher and then to become a principal,” he said.

“When I graduated from Rhode Island College in 1963, I was accepted in the graduate program and went on to receive my master’s degree,” he said. Ironically his mother decided to return to RIC to get her master’s degree at the same time. They received their degrees together, in the same ceremony in 1967.

Smith’s teaching career began in Cumberland in 1963, where he started as a fourth grade teacher. “As a student, I had loved the fourth grade, so I wanted to teach fourth grade,” he said. “I wanted to teach history and social studies and teach about the Northmen, the Norsemen and the Vikings, which happened to be the first unit in grade-four studies at that time. It was perfect.”

During his 35 years as a teacher and principal in the Cumberland school system- 30 of them as a principal- he served several schools, including the B.F. Norton School, Community School and the Cumberland Hill School, from which he retired in 1998. During his teaching career, he also taught in the adult education program in Cumberland for 20 years. After retirement, he continued as a substitute teacher and principal in the school system, and he helped to start the school department’s centralized preschool program in 2001.

In addition, Smith supervised student teachers for 10 years at Providence College and taught at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He also served as a substitute principal in the Coventry school system, especially at the Blackrock School, He has also been and usher at the Providence Performing Arts Center for more than 20 years, and he serves on the staff of the Keefe Funeral Home in Lincoln.

Smith said the two most important things he’s learned over the years are that it’s important “to enjoy what you are doing’ and to always “give back.” Given that he has found personal fulfillment in his career in education and has continually supported the educational community in general, it seems he has lived what he learned.

“I still have a great love of education, and I think that the future is now,” he said. “You have to give children as good a start in life as possible, through proper education and nurturing and showing them that there are people who really care. And that, to me, is very important!”

Appointed to the Council on Postsecondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires:  1/31/16

Joyce L. Stevos, Ph.D.

Dr. Joyce Louise Caldwell Stevos is a graduate of Classical High School, holds 2 degrees from Rhode Island College, and a Ph. D. from the University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island College. Her specialty is youth civic engagement.  Dr. Stevos has been an adjunct professor at Salve Regina University and Rhode Island College.

As a teacher and supervisor of Social Studies in the Providence Public Schools, Dr. Stevos was a leader in implementing the study of Black History, the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and law-related education. She was the primary designer of the Government and Law Magnet at Central high School and the Teacher Academy at Mt. Pleasant High School. Dr. Stevos was the Director of Strategic Planning and Professional Development in the Providence Public Schools where she worked with teachers and administrators to begin and implement the first wave of educational reform in the District.

For 25 years, Dr. Stevos worked with different publishing companies in writing and critiquing history and civics texts for middle and high school students. After retiring from the Providence School Department Dr. Stevos worked as a consultant with Trinity Restoration, Inc to develop and incorporate the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts Charter School that opened in 2009 for students from grades 7-12. Dr. Stevos is president of the Board of Trustees.

In giving back to the community, Dr. Stevos has served as President of the Urban League of RI, was an incorporator and officer of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, and has served on the Boards of the Providence Public Library, the Providence Preservation Society, and the Heritage Harbor Board, and Opera Providence. She is a member and Regent of the Narragansett-Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Besides being a member of the Eta Class of Leadership Rhode Island, Joyce Stevos is a Milken National Educator, and in 2014 was recognized as a Classical High School Distinguished Alumni.

Appointed to Council on Elementary and Secondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2016

 

 

 

 

Reverend Jeffery A. Williams

The Very Reverend Doctor Jeffery A. Williams, a native of Englewood, New Jersey, and graduate of the famed A Better Chance Program at Simsbury High School (Simsbury, CT) whose forward-thinking ideals are helping to reshape the social and spiritual landscape of Rhode Island and beyond. In 1981, Williams attended Brown University (Providence, R.I.) and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Environmental Analysis, a concentration he personally created. In May 2007, Williams received his Doctorate of Ministry degree in Urban Complex Settings from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Hamilton, MA. His completed dissertation entitled: Urban Leadership Development Through the Practical Truth University: A Case Study in the International Role and Practice of Metanoia for Personal and Community Transformation; is a manual for much of the work he does today. Dr. Williams graduated in 2010, with a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Williams was consecrated as Overseer of the New England Diocese by His Grace Donald Hilliard II, in 2008. He is married to Lelani (Bonner) Williams. Dr. Williams is an enthusiastic father of two daughters in college, Joy Victoria and Grace Noelle Williams.

His commitment to helping others understand the connection between principle and practice, led to the founding of the Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly in 1999, which is now called “The King's Cathedral.” Under Dr. Williams' leadership, the Cathedral now owns five properties, including a historic church located in the Olneyville Square neighborhood of Providence and has distributed over 70 tons of food and tens of thousands of articles of clothing, household goods and furniture to those in need. As Chief Empowerment Officer, his congregation in Providence has grown from nine members to well over 500 hundred, with 30 different ministries and programs. Internationally, Dr. Williams oversees 43 congregations in six nations and has established the The Well-Life Project, which is the funding arm to create 12 fresh water wells in Kitwe, Zambia.

Dr. Williams has been a regular chapel speaker for the New England Patriots as well as other professional football and soccer teams since 2005.

Appointed to Council on Postsecondary Education: June 2014

Term Expires: January 31, 2015

 

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