Associate Commissioner, Statewide System of Support

Department of Education - Malden, MA

The Statewide System of Support (SSoS), within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), is responsible for turning around the state’s lowest performing schools and districts by supporting sustained improvement, so that all students have access to high-quality, culturally relevant learning opportunities that prepare them for a successful future. SSoS provides assistance to schools and districts identified by the new Massachusetts accountability system, which is informed by new federal accountability requirements, as well as continuing state accountability regulations and statutory requirements. More information on DESE’s strategic plan and turnaround work are available online at

The Statewide System of Support falls within DESE’s Center for District Support (CDS), which has the following mission, vision, and values:

Mission: Fostering exceptional learning opportunities is our priority. We strive to ensure an equitable, inclusive, accessible education for all.

Vision: Every child. Every community. Every opportunity to realize student greatness.

Values: Accountable * Adaptive * Equity and Racial Equity * Inclusive * Student-Centered

Core Objectives:
Provide support for the lowest performing schools and districts across the state
Furnish meaningful data and information to schools and districts for improved decision making
Increase the capacity of CDS staff, schools, and districts to positively impact equity and outcomes for the most historically marginalized students

The Statewide System of Support includes the following offices:

Two regional assistance teams (West/Central and Coastal) that provide direct support to schools and districts across the Commonwealth that have been identified by the accountability system as requiring assistance or intervention. These teams facilitate the development and implementation of school turnaround plans in the identified schools and help districts leverage resources (from the regional assistance teams, SSoS centralized supports, DESE and partners) to improve student achievement.

Regional System of Support (RSS) provides centralized supports for the two regions such as staff training and professional development, project work plans, staff evaluation process, contracts, and grant processing and monitoring.

Office of Effective Practices for Turnaround (OEPT) conducts research to identify best practices in turnaround and ensure these practices impact policy and are embedded into practice. This office also ensures implementation of the statutory requirements related underperforming schools, the allocation of federal school improvement grant resources to support turnaround schools, and monitoring of progress in schools implementing turnaround plans.

Systems for Student Success (SfSS) designs and delivers turnaround resources, expertise, and assistance that enhance integrated, tiered, and systemic approaches to supporting the social emotional and academic needs of all students, and especially students living in poverty. Specific offerings include high quality external partners, multi-year academies, grants, and technical assistance.

About the position:
The Associate Commissioner for the Statewide System of Support (SSoS) is responsible for ensuring DESE assistance and intervention results in transformation of the lowest performing schools identified by the new Massachusetts accountability system and improved outcomes for students in those schools, especially the historically marginalized.

Using a range of state and federal policy levers, data, collaborative structures and a strong evidence base on effective turnaround practices, the Associate Commissioner leads work that balances strong partnerships with districts and schools and accountability for results to turn around the state’s lowest performing schools and districts.

Among the key responsibilities are:
1. Lead, guide and manage the offices within the Statewide System of Support (described above) to provide assistance and promote accountability in the areas identified by DESE as effective turnaround strategies, ensuring that the state’s lowest performing schools and districts receive high-quality, culturally proficient assistance and resources that improve instruction, enhance district and school systems, and build capacity to sustainably raise student performance and outcomes, in particular for student populations that have been historically marginalized;

2. Lead the integration, alignment and coherence of the assistance provided through the offices within the Statewide System of Support, ensuring high quality and coordinated implementation, and equitable distribution of resources and supports for the state’s lowest performing districts and schools;

3. Ensure strong partnerships with targeted schools and districts to inform SSoS assistance efforts;

4. Closely coordinate with the Office of Strategic Transformation (OST), which is responsible for the implementation of state receivership and alternative governance models, to ensure resources and supports to all targeted schools and districts are aligned, and to share promising practices.

5. Collaborate with other DESE offices to align resources, build shared ownership for turnaround work, and leverage expertise from across the agency in service of targeted schools and districts;

6. Measure the impact of the programs, services and assistance provided by SSoS to ensure that they help the districts and schools improve outcomes for students;

7. Foster an environment of ongoing coaching, development and professional growth of all SSoS staff and promote a culture of continuous learning.

8. Continually evolve, adapt and refine the SSoS vision, policy, high-leverage priorities, staffing and utilization of assets across offices to have increased impact on targeted schools and districts and their students

9. Ensure that the SSoS is aligned with federal and state statutory requirements and lead any adjustments to the system and programs as necessary. Leverage statutory requirements to effect real change for students that goes beyond compliance;

10. Collaborate with and leverage partner organizations to build and enhance integrated and aligned models of assistance and accountability;

11. Lead the development, management, prioritization and oversight of the federal and state budgets, grant-making, and other financial matters for the Statewide System of Support;

Preferred Qualifications:
The ideal candidate will have some, but not necessarily all, of the following skills and experiences:

1. Demonstrated passion and expertise for transforming low-performing public schools or districts and significantly improving student achievement and outcomes, especially for historically marginalized students.

2. Demonstrated success promoting high achievement for students living in poverty, students of color, English learners, and/or students in special education;

3. Strong preference for expertise secondary grades (middle/high school);

4. Ability to lead conversations on race and equity and building capacity of teams to do the same, including promoting culturally responsive practices and helping people identify and address how racial bias plays out in our work;

5. Experience collaborating with internal and external partners and stakeholders including state education agencies and state-level education organizations (such as for school committees, unions, principal associations, etc);

6. Capacity to build, develop and lead diverse teams while demonstrating the ability to anticipate, understand and address the challenges that come with diverse perspectives;

7. Experience supervising and managing complex, multi-layered teams that work in a mix of in-person and remote/virtual contexts

8. Strong organizational management skills;

9. Ability to solve problems creatively and address conflict constructively;

10. Ability to be innovative, adaptable, and visionary;

11. Expertise leading a team in student-centered, results-oriented strategic planning, and data-informed decision making;

12. Familiarity with Massachusetts education context;

13. Strong oral and written communication skills;

14. Experience in budgeting and financial management;

15. Proficiency/fluency in a language in addition to English (especially Spanish or Portuguese);

16. Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership/Administration, Public Administration, or related field.

**Questions regarding this posting or the application process should be referred to Dawn DeRoche at or 781-338-6101.


Applicants must have at least (A) seven (7) years of full-time or, equivalent part-time, professional, administrative, supervisory, or managerial experience in business administration, business management, public administration, public management, clinical administration or clinical management of which (B) at least three (3) years must have been in a managerial capacity.

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Official Title: Administrator IX
Primary Location: United States-Massachusetts-Malden - 75 Pleasant Street
Job: Education
Agency: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Schedule: Full-time
Shift: Day
Job Posting: May 14, 2019, 11:19:59 AM
Number of Openings: 1
Salary: 52,700.44 - 146,744.38 Yearly
If you have Diversity, Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity questions or need a Reasonable Accommodation, please contact Diversity Officer / ADA Coordinator: Sarah Harding - 617-988-6604
Bargaining Unit: M99-Managers (EXE)
Confidential: Yes