Mitchell Chester, 65, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education for the state of Massachusetts, died Monday night, June 26, after a battle with cancer, the Associated Press reports.
Before he came to Massachusetts in 2008, he had served with the Ohio Department of Education and as an educator in Philadelphia and Connecticut. Gov Charlie Baker said in a statement that Mr Chester was a dedicated educator and public servant whose leadership improved the lives of public school students in Massachusetts.
“On behalf of the entire administration, Lieutenant Governor Polito and I extend our deepest condolences to Commissioner Chester’s family, friends, and colleagues at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education during this difficult time,” the governor wrote. “Commissioner Chester was a dedicated educator and accomplished public servant. His leadership improved the lives of thousands of the Commonwealth’s students and helped make our public school system a national leader. He will be terribly missed by all.”
Mr Chester held a doctorate in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, as well as advanced degrees from the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford, the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education noted.
“Mitchell brought his tremendous intellect, a listening ear, and his concern for students to the work of the Board and the Department,” said Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chair Paul Sagan. “The strength and dedication of his team reflects his strength and passion as a leader, and his passing is a loss for Massachusetts.”