MTA President Paul Toner joins state Board of Higher Education
MTA President Paul Toner is the newest member of the state Board of Higher Education.
Toner, who attended his first meeting as a member of the board June 7, was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to fill the labor position on the board. The Board of Higher Education defines the mission and sets policy for the Massachusetts system of public higher education and represents the administrations at all nine state universities and 15 communities.
“I am pleased to appoint Paul Toner to the Board of Higher Education and look forward to his contributions as we work to ensure that our students receive a world-class education,” Patrick said. “Paul has been a vocal advocate for the students educated by his members and has been a strong partner in advancing a progressive education reform agenda.”
Toner, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he earned a master’s degree in secondary education, said he welcomed the opportunity to represent the interests of union members. The 107,000-member MTA includes more than 13,000 public higher ed employees who serve as faculty and staff at the state’s 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and the University of Massachusetts.
“I look forward to working with my fellow board members to continue to push the Commonwealth toward excellence for all students,” Toner said. “Our 29 public campuses play a vital role in the development and support of young minds in every corner of the state by providing a top-notch, challenging education to many of our state’s residents who more often than their peers stay here and contribute to our communities and strengthen our economy.”
Toner replaces Boston Building Trades President James Coyle as the board’s labor representative. State statute requires at least one member of the board to come from the world of labor.
Education Secretary Paul Reville described Toner as open minded and willing to think outside of the box about how to solve problems together.
“I can’t think of a better colleague to work with on the labor side of the equation,” Reville said at today’s BHE meeting. Toner is “articulate and assertive in representing the needs and interests of his members,” Reville said, adding “He is not willing to back down, but at the same time he is willing to look at things in different ways and recognize our common ground.”
BHE Chair Dr. Charles Desmond called Toner a “tremendous asset” to the board and noted that his background and expertise will help to expand the conversation to include early education and elementary and secondary education..
“We welcome President Toner to the dialogue and look forward to working with him on the critical issues that impact our students,” Desmond said.
Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Richard M. Freeland added, “I’m looking forward to working with President Toner and know he will make sure that labor’s voice is represented.”
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