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NEW: Chafee Nominates 10 for Education Board

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced ten nominees for the Rhode Island Board of Education. The Governor’s nominee for Board Chair is Eva-Marie Mancuso, Esq., a Managing Partner with law firm Hamel, Waxler, Allen & Collins.

“These individuals represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and a diversity of perspectives, opinions, and talents,” Governor Chafee said. “But what they share is a commitment to education in the State of Rhode Island, and all of them are determined, as I am, to see our schools become national models of success.”

“In my decades of public service, I have always made high-quality public education a priority,” Governor Chafee continued. “Most recently, that has been evident through increases in the budget for elementary, secondary, and higher education. With this in mind, it is my hope that the redesigned Board will have enhanced ability for greater planning, coordination, and resource allocation from kindergarten to higher education. This will produce benefits for our students, our economy, and all Rhode Islanders.”

In addition to Eva-Marie Mancuso, the Governor’s nominees are: Joan C. Abrams; Antonio Barajas, MD; Michael H. Bernstein; Colleen A. Callahan; Karin L. Forbes; Patrick A. Guida; William C. Maaia, Esq.; Lawrence Purtill; and Mathies J. Santos.

Bios are below:


Eva-Marie Mancuso, Esq.

Eva-Marie Mancuso is Managing Partner with the law firm of Hamel, Waxler, Allen & Collins. Before joining the firm, Mancuso served as Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island and, prior to that, Assistant District Attorney for Bristol County, MA. She also has served as Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and as Faculty Advisor to the National College of District Attorneys.

Mancuso earned a BA from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and a JD from Suffolk University Law School, where she was Student Bar Association President and earned the Outstanding Graduate Award for Public Service.

Mancuso is a member of the RI Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association, is a former Vice President of the URI Alumni Association, and served as a CCRI Foundation Trustee. She was the RI Representative to the National Lawyers/Teacher Partnership, and is currently a Civil Trial Specialist with the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Mancuso has been honored as the RI Business and Professional “Woman of the Year,” is a recipient of the South County “Business Woman of Achievement” Award, and received the “Outstanding Service Award” from the URI Alumni Association.

Joan C. Abrams

Joan Abrams is Professor of Practice and the Program Director for the Master’s Degree in Communication Management at Simmons College in Boston.

Abrams graduated from Simmons College in 1971 with a degree in Communications and earned an MS in Communications Management from Simmons and an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She then pursued a career in public relations, and joined Xerox as one of the first women recruited for sales and marketing in the New England area. Abrams went on to a career in marketing at Honeywell, Inc. where she rose to the position of Director of Market Support/Communications. She then established and managed a marketing and communications consulting practice, Executive Communications, in Bristol, RI, before joining the Simmons faculty in 1998.

Abrams has been active in advocacy public relations concentrating in the arts, environment, healthcare, and historic preservation. Prior to joining the Simmons Communications faculty, she served as President and Volunteer Executive Director of the Festival of Ballet in Rhode Island, President of Save the Bay, and she recently completed the job as Chair of their $10 million capital campaign.

Abrams is currently a Trustee of Blithewold, a historic property and arboretum in Bristol, Save the Bay, and is on the Board of Directors of Women and Infants Hospital Foundation, Community Preparatory School, and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. She also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Kennedy School at Harvard. Abrams participates in the community through memberships in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Boston Women Communicators (BWC), and as a speaker at conferences on the environment, the arts, historic preservation, and non-profit management.

In addition to teaching in the Master’s in Communications Management program, Ms. Abrams teaches in the undergraduate Communications Department at Simmons, advises 30 undergraduate students in addition to her 110 graduate advisees, and is also the faculty advisor for the Simmons College Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Ms. Abrams is the co-chair of the College Wide Faculty Fiscal Affairs Committee, and also co-chairs a subcommittee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation processes.

Antonio Barajas, MD

Dr. Antonio Barajas is an Emergency Room physician at Rogers Williams Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas’ extensive medical background includes service as the House Physician at Kent County Hospital in Warwick, as an Emergency Room physician at Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, as an Emergency Room physician at Miriam Hospital in Providence, as a physician with Women’s Care Inc., as a field investigator for the RI State Medical Examiner’s Office, and as a primary care and Emergency Room physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas is involved with the Brown University Medical School’s mentoring program, is President of the Rhode Island Mexican-American Association, is a Board member of Hospice Care of Rhode Island, and is Chairman of the Rhode Island Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees at the International Institute in Providence.

Dr. Barajas has been involved with research on Guillain-Barre Syndrome and post-transfusion HIV seroconversion. He received his BS in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island and his MD from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, during which time he also studied at Prince George’s County Medical Center in Maryland. Dr. Barajas has also took part in the Fifth Pathway Program and the Brown School of Medicine, interned in surgery/medicine at Miriam Hospital, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Miriam Hospital. He is a resident of Central Falls.

Michael H. Bernstein
Michael Bernstein worked as the Administrator of Long Term Care Field Services (LTC) for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services from 1995 to 2007. Prior to this role in the department, he worked as a Caseworker and Senior Planner from 1968 to 1990.

Bernstein holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and a master's degree from Arizona State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Student Assistance Program, which places professionals in schools around the state who provide invaluable services such as counseling, mental health, and suicide prevention to students and their families. In addition, he currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Coastline EAP.

Bernstein is an active Rhode Island area volunteer representative for his alma mater, the University of Miami, assisting with recruiting, managing college fairs, and contacting local students who have been accepted to the University.


Colleen A. Callahan

Colleen A. Callahan is the Director of Professional Issues for the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals and the Co-Director of the Rhode Island Skills Commission. As Director of Professional Issues since 1991, Ms. Callahan coordinates the RIFTHP’s Educational Research & Dissemination Network and other services designed to support the professional practices of RIFTHP members. The RIFTHP’s ER & D Network brings Local Site Coordinators and Strand Coordinators from around the state together regularly. This networking supports the coordinators in their knowledge of ER & D research and dissemination strategies, has created a pool of trainers available for local and statewide development, and has led to significant growth of local ER & D programs.

As the Co-Director of the Rhode Island Skills Commission, a partnership among the RIFTHP, the NEW/RI and the RI Department of Education, Ms. Callahan is responsible for coordinating the work of eleven Rhode Island school districts involved in implementing a Certificate of Initial Mastery. Ms. Callahan’s work on the CIM is centered on the development of the Certificate’s performance-based assessment system and its implementation. In both positions, Ms. Callahan’s focus is on assisting local school districts, union leaders and other educators in developing a greater awareness of academic and applied learning standards and their implications for instruction, assessment and school improvement planning. Her work involves technical assistance to districts, professional development for teachers and administrators and coordination of a trainer’s network.

Ms. Callahan taught sixth grade and special education in the Lincoln, Rhode Island school system from 1972 – 1992. She holds B.S. and Med. Degrees from Rhode Island College, serves on numerous state and national committees, including Rhode Island’s Human Resource Investment Council School to Career Subcommittee, the American Federation of Teachers Standing Committee on Career and Technical Education, the AFT Task Force on Professional Development, and the Unit Accreditation Board of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In April, 2000, she was appointed by the Governor to the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, RI’s state board of education. Ms. Callahan gives numerous local, state and national presentations each year and is a National Trainer for the American Federation of Teachers ER&D program.

Karin L. Forbes

Karin L. Forbes is the former Vice-Chair of the North Kingstown School Committee. As part of her duties, she was the Chair of the Policy Subcommittee. Mrs. Forbes was a teacher in East Greenwich from 1968-78. While she was raising her two children, she became involved in her community’s educational efforts. Forbes has been involved with North Kingstown’s Technology and Curriculum Committees, and worked with the North Kingstown High School community to put forward the Annenberg Institute on Secondary School Reform Breaking Ranks. She has also been involved in the Wickford Middle School Advisory Committee and the North Kingstown Rotary Club, where she is a past president. She was appointed to the Board of Regents in 2005. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Regents Education Quality Committee.

Patrick A. Guida

Patrick A. Guida is an attorney with Duffy & Sweeney, Ltd., and formerly with the Providence law firm of Tillinghast Licht LLP. He and his wife live in Barrington, Rhode Island, where each of their children attended the public schools.

Guida received his B.A. from Union College and his J.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he served as editor of the Law Review. He was elected to the Barrington School Committee in 1996 and began serving as its Chairman in 1998. In 1999 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees (RIASC). He was first elected as an officer of RIASC in 2000, was elected President in 2002, and re-elected the following year.

Guida was appointed to the Board of Regents in 2001, and elected its Vice-Chair in 2005, and has served as Chairman of its Progressive Support and Intervention Committee. At the national level, Mr. Guida has represented the State of Rhode Island at the National School Board Association (NSBA) National Delegate Assembly since 2000 and has served as the Northeast Region Representative on both the National Nominating Committee and Policies and Resolutions Committee of NSBA.

William C. Maaia, Esq.

William C. Maaia is an attorney in general practice with William C. Maaia & Associates, the firm he founded.

Maaia earned a BA from Providence College and his JD from Suffolk University School of Law, in addition to Collective Bargaining certification from Rutgers University and Negotiations training from Harvard Law School.

Maaia’s first employment after law school was with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). During his time with RIDE, Maaia served as a labor relations officer, which included work with the Board of Regents, and was project manager for a collaborative of six states that developed comprehensive manuals on fact-finding, mediation, and arbitration in public education. Maaia also served for twelve years on the East Providence School Committee, four as Chairman, during which time he organized the “Blue Print Task Force,” which produced a report – at no cost to the city – identifying significant educational issues.

Maaia has also served as Special Legal Counsel to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission; Legal Counsel to Municipal Water Supply Board; Legal Counsel to Full Channel TV, Inc.; Special Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island; Special Contracted Legal Counsel to three Rhode Island Attorneys General; Special Lecturer, Community College of Rhode Island; Special Instructor, Providence College; and Instructor of English, Bristol Community College.

Maaia is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, the U.S. District Court, the Rhode Island Trial Lawyers’ Association, the American Arbitration Association, and the Art Clubs of Westport, Massachusetts, and Providence, respectively.


Lawrence Purtill

During his tenure as president of National Education Association Rhode Island, Larry Purtill has held numerous positions of leadership on statewide boards and commissions, in both the labor and education communities. He currently is secretary/treasurer of the Institute for Labor Studies & Research, president of the Ocean State Action coalition, chair of the Certification Advisory Committee, and on the board of directors of the Working Rhode Island coalition.

Purtill serves on the board of the NEA Fund for Children & Public Education and the NEARI Children’s Fund, and is on the planning committee for the RI MS 150 cycling fundraiser. He taught history in Exeter-West Greenwich for 22 years prior to taking office in 1999.

Mathies J. Santos

Mathies J. Santos is currently the Outreach Associate for Rhode Island at the Boston Veteran Affairs Research Institute (BVARI).

Santos previously held a number of positions with the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, including: Executive Assistant to the Commissioner/Director of Equity and Access; Executive Assistant to the Commissioner/Legislative Liaison and Administrator for the Commissioner’s Legal Office; Project Director for the National Origin Desegregation Program; and Consultant for Program Development.

From 1974 to 1980, Santos worked in a number of offices at Rhode Island College, including Residential Life, Student Activities, Financial Aid, and Career Development. Santos then served as Governor Edward D. DiPrete’s Senior Policy Analyst for Education, Economic Development, Military Affairs, and Minority Affairs, and as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Department of Administration.

From 2002 to 2010, Santos, a member of the Air National Guard, served in a number of positions at the Rhode Island National Guard (RING), including: Project Director for the Ocean State Youth ChalleNGe Academy Program; State Family Program Director; State Equal Employment Manager; and Management Control Analyst for the Office of the Executive Director of Employer Support.

Santos is a graduate of Brown University, where he earned a B.A. in Secondary Education and Italian Studies, and Rhode Island College, where he earned a B.A. in Managerial Economics. He is a City Year Rhode Island mentor, is involved with Brown’s ALANA mentoring program, and is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Providence Boys & Girls Club.


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