Community Advisory Board

Local Business Leaders and Community Organizations Support the Salem Public Schools Through the Community Advisory Board (CAB)

When the school turn-around efforts began in 2012, business leaders and local community organizations stepped up to help the struggling school system. The businesses and community organizations said, “How can we help?” and knew that as the ancient African proverb says, “It takes a Village to Raise a Child”; and that a strong community partnership was needed.

Due to its long history of partnering with the City, non-profits and the business community, The Salem Partnership agreed to coordinate the efforts of the business and community organizations. In collaboration with the City of Salem, The Salem Partnership formed the Community Advisory Board  (CAB) for the Salem Public Schools to serve as a vehicle for community input into advancing the public schools.

The goals of CAB are three-fold: to be a resource for community members to have their ideas and concerns heard and to obtain feedback on their efforts; to serve as a liaison between the Mayor, Superintendent, School Committee and the greater Salem community; to make recommendations with clear, obtainable outcomes. Aiding in the turnaround and advocating for the Salem Public Schools is the ultimate objective.

A major goal of CAB is communication. From July 2012 through July 2013, weekly news columns were written for the Salem News to keep Salem residents informed and up-to-date on school turnaround efforts. The CAB reached out to many community partners to assist with writing the columns.  Monthly articles have continued each month since then.

Over the last three years, CAB hosted a series of Community Meetings:

  • In June 2012, CAB sponsored a presentation by the Mass Math-Science Initiative (MMSI).  MMSI is a private/public partnership designed to drive a school culture to high expectations and dramatically increase participation and performance in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The number of students enrolled in AP classes at Salem High School was drastically increased as a result of the MMSI.

  • In September 2012, CAB sponsored a community meeting on the Salem Public Schools Improvement Efforts.  Mayor Driscoll and former Superintendent Russell discussed turnaround efforts.  Dr. Roland Fryer; Director of Harvard University’s Education Lab was the keynote speaker.

  • In January 2013, CAB sponsored a community meeting featuring Chris Gabrielli and Jennifer Davis, co-founders of the National Center for Time and Learning (NCTL).  These nationally recognized leaders shared their successes with hundreds of schools that have redesigned and expanded their schedules to better meet the needs of students and communities.  Mayor Driscoll and former Superintendent Russell again provided an update on turnaround efforts.

  • In May 2013, CAB participated in the Salem Education Foundation (SEF) “Education Day”.  CAB sponsored an Expo on summer programs for students in grades K-12.  Twelve organizations participated. Both participants and parents appreciated the opportunity to interact in this setting.

  • In September 2013, CAB sponsored “Salem Public School Turnaround – 2 years later – What is happening?”  The forum, held at the Bentley School, featured Dr. Karla Baehr, who led the team to design, develop, and launch the MA Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education’s model system for evaluating administrator and teachers.  David Angeramo, Principal of Salem High School and Kathy Marchetti, 5th grade teacher at Witchcraft Heights School, joined her.  The Mayor and former Superintendent Russell provided an update on the turnaround efforts. The community meeting was broadcast live by SATV.

  • In February 2014, CAB sponsored a Community Meetings at the Nathaniel Bowditch School. Mayor Driscoll and former Superintendent Russell provided an update on Transition Goals and two Salem public school teachers with children in the public schools spoke about their experiences.

  • In August 2014, The Salem Partnership, in collaboration with CAB, sponsored a four-day Community Read featuring “The Good Thief” written by Salem’s own Hannah TInti.  The four-day event included author readings, a special after hours trip to the Harmony Grove Cemetery, and a writing workshop at the public library.  One free book was given to each family attending the SEF Education Day.

  • Most recently, on October 29th CAB hosted a Community Forum with Superintendent of Schools Margarita Ruiz. This was a wonderful opportunity for community members to meet Superintendent Ruiz and to hear her vision for the Salem Public Schools. The Forum is being shown on SATV.

During 2015, CAB members participated in the search process for the new School Superintendent and Vice Chairman George Atkins served as the moderator for the Community Forums held for the public to meet the final candidates.  On November 3rd, CAB partnered with the City of Salem, Salem State University and the Salem Education Foundation to provide coffee and breakfast for all faculty and staff of the Salem Public Schools in recognition of all that they do for the children of Salem.

The CAB is composed of a cross section of leaders who volunteer their time and are dedicated to promoting the Salem Public Schools.  Members of CAB include:

Dr. Patricia Maguire Meservey

Salem State University, Chairman of The Salem Partnership, Committee Chair

George W. Atkins

Ronan, Segal and Harrington; Committee Vice-Chair 

Mary-Lou Breitborde, Ed.D.

Salem State University-Professor, Director, Center for Education & Community
Kate Carbone

Assistant Superintendent of Schools 

Lucy Corchado

Point Neighborhood Association

Omar Longus

Latino Coalition
Ellen Galligan

Catholic Charities

Scott Grover

Tinti, Quinn, Grover & Frey, P.C.

Carrie Cabot Francis

Salem Education Foundation

Charity Lezama

Salem YMCA

Rinus Oosthoek

Salem Chamber of Commerce

Richard Pabich

The Salem Inn

Linda Saris

Leap 4 Education

Mary Sarris

North Shore Workforce Investment Board

Leanne Schild

Parents United of Salem 

Emily Ullman

Director of Extended Learning Time - SPS

Kris Wilson

Retired Teacher

Members of the community are welcome to attend a CAB meeting.  Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 8:00-9:00 AM in the Community Room at Beverly Bank.

For more information about CAB, please contact:

Beth Debski, Executive Director of The Salem Partnership at (978) 741-8100 or bdebski@salempartnership.org.