CCSSO Honors Mitchell Chester with 2018 Distinguished Service Award

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Washington, D.C. (MARCH 5, 2018) –– The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today posthumously honored Mitchell Chester, former Massachusetts Education Commissioner, with the Council's 2018 Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award is the Council's highest honor, and recognizes individuals whose contributions have given strength to pre-K-12 public education in the United States. This premier honor of the Council has been presented over a period of 58 years. With this award, we recognize extensive, long-term service and commitment to improving public education.

Chester was selected in recognition of his lifetime of service to closing opportunity and achievement gaps. Chester’s wife, Angela Sangeorge, accepted the award on his behalf at the Council's 2018 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

Previous awardees include Rep. George Miller, Sen. Edward Kennedy, Marian Wright Edelman, President Lyndon Johnson and the four lead architects of the Every Student Succeeds Act: Chairman Lamar Alexander, Sen. Patty Murray, Chairman John Kline and Rep. Bobby Scott.

"I can think of no better person to receive the Distinguished Service Award this year than Mitchell Chester. He was not only a friend and colleague, but Mitchell also served as a mentor to many state chiefs. His legacy will live on for years to come. He will always be known and remembered as a man who put students at the center of every conversation and worked every day to make life better for the kids in Massachusetts and across this country,” said Carey Wright, CCSSO Board President and Mississippi Superintendent of Education

“The Council is pleased to honor Mitchell Chester with the Distinguished Service Award. Our organization and the country are better today because of Mitchell’s uncompromising core value to serve all kids. He dedicated his life to serving students and ensuring every child received a high-quality education, not only in his state but throughout the nation. He was instrumental in many successes you see across the country today, including higher academic standards, better assessments and a renewed commitment to advance equity for every child. We miss Mitchell’s influence and voice in our conversations, but his legacy lives on in ensuring we carry out what he cared about most, making education better for all students,” said Carissa Miller, interim executive director of CCSSO.


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.


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