Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we want to say thank you to Tom Weber. He has announced that he will step down as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) in June.

“We are grateful for Tom Weber’s commitment as Commissioner of Early Education and Care. During his six years as commissioner, he led EEC out of its historic fiscal low point, which was caused by the effects of the Great Recession,” Chris Martes, Strategies’ president and CEO, says in a statement.

“Since 2013, Massachusetts has made steady progress on early education, and thanks to Commissioner Weber’s leadership, the early education and care field is in a much stronger position, both fiscally and programmatically. We have seen increased public investments in the early education workforce, in program quality, and in preschool expansion during his tenure. He is a tireless advocate for young children and families, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Tom’s work on early education and care also includes two years of working here at Strategies from 2007 to 2009 as our legislative director.

Tom’s accomplishments include:

• winning and implementing a $60 million federal Preschool Expansion Grant that provided 3,500 preschool children with free, high-quality programs in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield

• implementing new quality initiatives

• implementing more than 50 initiatives to enhance program quality under a $50 million federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant, and

• launching the Early Education and Out-of-School Time Capital Fund, which provided 25 programs with $19 million to build or upgrade their facilities to enhance the learning environments of young children

In a press release, Governor Charlie Baker says:

“Under Commissioner Weber’s leadership, the Department of Early Education and Care established quality standards for early education programs, increased focus on workforce development for teachers, and provided the largest salary increase to providers in more than a decade.”

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito adds:

“Commissioner Weber’s hard work has increased opportunities for children across the Commonwealth.”

Education Secretary James Peyser says, “His tenure as Early Education and Care Commissioner significantly improved the quality of early education in Massachusetts, and laid a solid foundation for future success of the agency.” 

And Nonie Lesaux, chair of the Board of Early Education and Care, adds:

“I know I speak for all board members when I express my tremendous gratitude. It has been a pleasure to work with Tom.”

As he has many times before in his years as commissioner, Tom used this occasion to praise his colleagues, noting:

“My respect and appreciation for the dedicated, passionate professionals of the Department and the Commonwealth’s early education and care system is boundless.”

We wish Tom good luck as he moves forward.