The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) welcomes 12 new board members and is delighted to announce the appointment of new Co-President Steve Mock. He will join Pamela Rosin to lead academic year 2010-2011.

“As a teacher in the Needham Public Schools, Steve possesses a first-hand understanding of how grants can bring innovative, practical ideas to the classroom,” said Rosin. “As a parent with children in our schools, he also offers the NEF the rare perspective of knowing both what our schools need and what our parents want for their children’s education.”

Mock currently teaches eighth grade social studies at Pollard Middle School where he has taught since 2004. He became a teacher after an 18-year career in sales and marketing for national technology companies. Mock has served the NEF as Co-Chair of the Small Grants Committee and as an integral member of the Strengthen the Core Committee. He co-founded the Needham Young Girls Soccer League and was a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay for over a decade. He and his wife, Dori, have made Needham their home for 17 years. They have two daughters attending Newman Elementary, where Dori serves on the Executive Board of the Newman PTC; their older daughter will attend High Rock next year.

Mock will succeed Frank Fortin, who joined the NEF in 2003 and is completing his two-year term as co-president.

“Frank’s years of dedication offered the NEF a breadth of knowledge and continuity that ensured the success of the NEF at a pivotal time in our economy,” said Rosin. “This academic year alone, the NEF awarded 40 grants for a total of $125,304.98. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Frank and the Needham community for their continuous and generous commitment to innovation and enrichment of our children’s education.”

Serving three year terms, the following board members join the dedicated individuals who have continued to make the NEF a success for nearly two decades:

Joanne Allen Willoughby – Needham Director of METCO (Metropolitan Council of Educational Opportunity, Inc.); Adjunct faculty Lesley University and Curry College; former Assistant Dean, Radcliff College; former Assistant Dean of Students for Multicultural Programs at Babson College; Paige Academy Board of Directors; Greater Egelston Community High School Board of Directors

Sara Berney – Former English teacher at Braintree High School; former consultant and associate at Cambridge Associates; former tutor at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School

Sarah Carmine – Sixth grade math teacher at High Rock; master’s student of Curriculum and Instruction

Dina Creiger – Advertising Director at the Jewish Advocate Newspaper in Boston; Eliot PTC Co-President and Past Eliot PTC Treasurer; Past Eliot Co-Chair for the “Paint the Town” Auction which raised funds to create The Seven Wonders of Eliot School mural painted by Eliot students and artist Joshua Winer

Karen Dunne Dasey – Sole proprietor of DunneWrite marketing, communications, copywriting and editing business; Hillside Elementary PTC Co-President; Hillside Elementary Co-Chair of the PTC Publicity Committee

Dianne Escalante – Mathematics Intervention Specialist for the Wellesley Public Schools; Past METCO Family Friends Committee Coordinator

Casey Palmer – Personalized Learning Center teacher at Needham High School; third generation board member of NEF’s founding family

Liz Rover Bailey – In-house attorney for the Massachusetts Medical Society; incoming Chair of the Religious Education Committee at First Parish Church in Needham, Unitarian Universalist; Mitochondrial Disease Action Committee Member

Caroline Rufo – Freelance graphic designer and fine artist; former Design Manager for Houghton Mifflin Company School Division; Designer for Kidz b Kidz, a non-profit organization teaching children about giving back through visual arts

Magda Schmalz – Former school psychologist for Boston and Rockport Public Schools; former consultant for Winchester Public Schools; Vice President of Programming for the Sisterhood at Temple Beth Shalom; Chair Mitchell Elementary Fundraising Committee; Past Co-Chair Mitchell Elementary Enrichment Grants

Peggy Strakosch – Kindergarten teacher at Hillside Elementary School; Council of Women at Boston College Board Member; Boston College mentor George Varga – Art director, digital artist, and animator specializing in children’s interactive games; assistant soccer coach for the Needham Soccer Club

“The diversity and versatility of these exemplary new board members brings even more excitement to the upcoming year,” said Mock. “The NEF is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary while the Town of Needham celebrates its tercentennial. The addition of these new members to the already stellar talent of the NEF is certain to make the 2010 -2011 academic year a memorable one.”

The NEF would also like to offer a hearty thank you to those board members who have completed their last year of service.

“At any given time, the NEF board is made up of 35 to 40 members,” said Fortin. “It is a working board with every member contributing hours of their valuable time. The NEF could not achieve its mission to enrich our students with the latest and greatest in educational technology, academic and social curricula, and artistic and ethnic culture without every one of our devoted volunteers.”