Fund Our Future campaign, a capacity in which she
will work closely with Najimy, Page and Gallatin.
“We are both very excited about having Lisa
join the association,” said Najimy and Page, “and
we are confident that her
appointment will help us
continue along the road of
being a strong organizing
union and a major
player in the Red for Ed
“As Lisa told us during
the process that led to
her selection as executive
believe deeply that a robust
labor movement, unfettered
voting rights, and access to
quality public education are three essential pillars of
a democratic society.’ It is clear to us that she shares
our vision for the MTA as a strong, member-driven
New Bedford charter fight continues
Gallatin is appointed MTA executive director-treasurer
L ongtime labor activist Lisa Gallatin has been appointed executive director-treasurer of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
MTA President Merrie Najimy and Vice
President Max Page announced the appointment on
April 8. Gallatin, who previously served as chief
of staff for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, “brings to
the MTA an outstanding background not only in the
labor movement, but also in the effort to bring social
justice to our society,” they said.
Before joining the AFL-CIO, Gallatin was
the longtime executive director of the Boston
Workmen’s Circle Center for Jewish Culture and
Social Justice and the Boston director of SEIU
District 925, where she also worked as a field
Gallatin assumes her new role at a historic
moment, when the MTA and other unions are
joining parents, students and many other allies
in the Fund Our Future campaign, part of the
ongoing effort to win the schools and colleges our
Earlier in Gallatin’s career, she was the founder
and executive director of the Coalition on New
Office Technology, an organization of 35 union
locals and women’s groups aimed at empowering
and advocating for women office workers, and the
co-founder and executive director of the Office
Technology Education Project, which spearheaded
a nationally recognized curriculum on office and
computer health and safety.
Earlier, she was a clerical worker at the Harvard
School of Public Health, where she was a rank-and-file leader in a union organizing effort. Gallatin
holds a B.A. from Washington University, where she
majored in economics.
Gallatin succeeds Ann Clarke, who recently
retired. Clarke served the association for more than
four decades, first as a staff attorney, then as general
counsel, and finally as executive director-treasurer.
She had held the latter post since 2010.
Enid Eckstein, who has served as the MTA’s
interim executive director-treasurer since February,
will stay on through the spring to help lead the
By Scott McLennan
T he fight to block a controversial charter school expansion in New Bedford continues unfolding on several fronts.
The New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools
has been alerting residents to the many problems
connected with the proposed expansion of the Alma
del Mar charter school by holding rallies, protests
and days of canvassing in the community.
Under the terms of a deal struck behind closed
doors in January by state Education Commissioner
Jeffrey Riley, Alma del Mar chief executive Will
Gardner, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and
School Superintendent Thomas Anderson, the city will
hand over the shuttered Kempton School at no cost to
Alma del Mar and create a neighborhood district that
automatically assigns students to the charter school
unless families opt out of the placement.
“This model is completely unproven; we cannot
allow this sort of experimentation on our children,”
said NBCSOS Co-Chair Ricardo Rosa.
The coalition has been making sure that families
know about the opt-out option if their children are
being assigned to the new Alma del Mar campus.
Educators in the coalition have also deflated
Alma del Mar’s claims about its performance. They
note that more than one-third of the teachers at
the charter school are not licensed and that more
than half of the public elementary schools in New
Bedford are ranked higher than Alma del Mar on the
state’s own accountability scale.
The MTA, a member of the coalition, has raised
three legal arguments concerning the transfer of the
Kempton School building and the parcel it sits on
to Alma del Mar. In March, MTA lawyers notified
New Bedford that the transfer appears to violate state
procurement law, laws governing the uses of public
property, and an amendment to the state Constitution
banning public entities from unfairly aiding private
The coalition has also filed two Open Meeting
Law complaints with the state attorney general’s
office concerning the deal’s lack of transparency. The
NBCSOS and the MTA are asking state legislators
to deny the home rule petition that is necessary to
allow the deal to go forward. The petition would
allow for the Kempton School property transfer
and for the creation of a first-of its-kind zone that
assigns students to a charter school directly rather
than by lottery.
Two state representatives from New Bedford —
Antonio Cabral and Chris Hendricks — have voiced
opposition to the expansion deal.
“This is a local issue with statewide
implications,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy.
“A private company taking public land through
a deal made behind closed doors is not how
democracy works. We are turning to families to
build a resistance to this takeover.”
Last year, Alma del Mar applied for an expansion
of 1,188 seats. Members of the community, educators
and elected leaders protested, arguing that the
expansion would drain millions of dollars from the
city’s public schools. In response, Riley brokered
the deal to allow for a 450-seat expansion — but
only if the city would hand over the Kempton
School building for free and guarantee neighborhood
enrollment. If the city fails to meet those terms, Riley
said, he will grant Alma del Mar a 594-seat expansion,
draining even more money from the public schools.
“This charter deal hurts our students — it
hurts all children,” said New Bedford Educators
Association Vice President Chris Garcia.
Photo by Scott McLennan
Dozens of educators, parents, students and
community activists rallied outside of the
Kempton School building on March 23.
“This charter deal hurts
our students — it hurts all
children,” said New Bedford
Educators Association Vice
President Chris Garcia.