Board Members

2023-2024 Board of Directors

MCSS is supported through the tireless efforts of its volunteers. Social studies educators -current and retired, from both public and private institutions – make up the board. Please consider contributing your talents and time to help actualize the Council’s mission.

Executive Board

President – Todd Wallingford

Having served on the board for several years, Todd now serves as MCSS President. For nearly three decades, he’s been an educator in the Hudson Public Schools, having taught social studies for fifteen years and served as the Director of Humanities for the past thirteen. As a classroom teacher, Todd’s key area of focus was civic education, where he worked closely with colleagues to develop a freshman course that combined instruction in US Government, service-learning and Holocaust studies. Since 2010, he has worked with English and Social Studies teachers across schools to support the development of curriculum and instructional practices.

Treasurer – Eileen Shacochis

Eileen has been involved with MCSS for several years, her background in banking and the corporate world lending itself to her work as treasurer.  As a banker, Eileen worked in retail, marketing and training, entry level to mid-management.   Her corporate years were as an Administrative Assistant responsible for budget verification, meeting planning and assisting district management and regional managers.

Executive Director/Clerk – Kathleen Babini

Kathy became the Executive Director of MCSS shortly after retiring in 2017. She taught social studies for 20 years, 15 for the Plymouth Public Schools. After a short tenure as the K-5 Social Studies Specialist for the Watertown Public Schools, she returned to Plymouth and was the K-12 Social Studies Coordinator for 17 years. Kathy has also served on the MCSS Board and is a past president. Kathy was a President of the Southeastern Massachusetts Geography Network (SEMAGNET) based at the Global Education Center at Bridgewater State University. Kathy lives in Plymouth and is on the Executive Board of the Plymouth Education Foundation and member of the Pilgrim Hall Board of Trustees.

Program Director – Gorman Lee

A graduate of Boston University (SED ‘92), Gorman Lee taught middle and high school Social Studies for the Medford Public Schools and later became Coordinator of Social Studies for the district. In 2007, Gorman accepted the position of K-12 Director of Social Studies for the Braintree Public Schools in Braintree, Massachusetts, where he continues to serve today. Gorman served on the committee to revise the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework in 2001 and again in 2018. Since 2013, Gorman has been involved with Mass Council for the Social Studies, including as president in 2014 and has continued to offer and host professional development workshops and conferences for teachers across the Commonwealth and New England. Gorman  will be reprising his role as co-chair of the local arrangements committee for the NCSS Annual Meeting and Convention as it returns to Boston in late fall 2024.

Membership – John Hassan

John taught 7th grade social studies for 35 years in Lowell.  A former president of MCSS, John has stayed active in our rganizationand and served as membership chair for over ten years.  John has volunteered for Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts History Day, Lowell Summer Music Series, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and the Lowell Folk Festival,

Webmaster – Nate Everett

Nate currently teaches history at Sandwich High School and lives in Plymouth. Next year, he will teach US History 2, AP US History, and AP World History. He also has been a debate coach for over 25 years and is an advisor for the school’s Civic Action Team, Diversity Club, and the Anti-Defamation League’s World of Difference program. He loves to read, bike and hike, play chess, Xbox, and exercise. He collects comic books and loves science fiction and fantasy.

Registrar – Norm Shacochis

Norm has been teaching since 1969.  He taught in Scituate Public Schools until 2006, where he served as department chair at the secondary level and then the entire district.  After Situate, Norm taught full-time at Fontbonne Academy for several years and has been at Marshfield High School part-time since. Norm served on MCAS Exam Committee and Massachusetts Senate Civics Education Committee.  He was MCSS President in 2010-2011, and Acting President in 2017 and 2021. Norm enjoys golf, umpiring high school and college softball, reading, family, and travel.  Most of all, he’s enjoiyed 53 years of marriage to Eileen.

 

Directors

Karen Albano

Karen began her journey in education 16 years ago as a 7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair for the Agawam Public Schools. Prior to her transition to the Northampton Public Schools, where she currently serves as the Principal of RK Finn Ryan Road Elementary School, Karen was the Assistant Director of Emerging America, a Library of Congress program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, where she assisted in the development of weekly educator newsletters, curriculum, and the collaborative creation and instruction of professional development offerings on a local and national scale. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education and History from Westfield State University and is currently a Doctor of Education ABD student at Northeastern University.

Jenn DiFrancesca

Jenn is currently the Director of Social Sciences at Shrewsbury High School. She also teaches 9th grade World Civilizations, serves as the advisor to the school’s National Social Studies Honor Society and teaches Strategies for Effective Teaching to new teachers at the high school.  Jenn loves to read, hike, watch BBC mysteries, and attempt The NY Times games.

Janice Fairchild

Janice is a retired social studies teacher and team leader, who worked for over 36 years at the Hanscom Middle School located on Hanscom AFB within the Lincoln Public Schools. She earned a BA from Boston College School of Education in 1978 and an MEd from Harvard School of Education in 1991. She has been a member of MCSS since 1995 and has served on the board and as president, NERC coordinator and presenter at many NERC and NCSS conferences. In 2019, she received the John Reilly Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography, and in 2007 Janice was recognized as a finalist in the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year program. She continues to enjoy serving on the board for MCSS, substitute teaching at Hanscom Middle School and working to promote the importance of geographic literacy within middle school social studies curriculum.

Jany Finkielsztein

Jany is originally from Bogota, Colombia. She has worked as a middle school teacher, curriculum coordinator and instructional coach across charter, public and private schools in Massachusetts. She has experience planning and facilitating professional learning opportunities for K-12 teachers. In addition, Jany has been an adjunct faculty teaching pre-service courses for teacher preparation programs at Boston University and Simmons University. Jany is working towards certification on the “train the trainer” Ethnic Studies program from the CA Dept of Education. She is currently a senior education analyst at the CAMERA  (Committee for Accuracy for Middle East  Reporting and Analysis) Education Institute

Joseph Jussaume

Joseph is a Social Studies Teacher at Lowell High School, in Lowell, Massachusetts.  He teaches American Civics, The Civil War and Civil Rights and Jim Crow.  Joe is the lead teacher for Civics at the High School and is the co-creator of Lowell Civics Day, a city-wide showcase of student action civics projects in the spring.

Casey Cullen

Casey teaches Civics, Psychology, Social and Criminal Justice, World History and United States History at Westborough High School. He is a past president of the MCSS and now works as their director of advocacy and outreach.  An original member of the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition, he serves on their Teaching and Learning committee.  In 2020 he was awarded a DESE fellowship to help teachers implement the new civic engagement project initiative throughout the Commonwealth.  In 2021 Cullen launched Civic Ed Solutions, which partners teachers with districts and non-profits seeking support in civic education.  In 2023 he received a Fulbright fellowship to travel and teach in India.

Stephanie Quinn

Celeste Reynolds

Kristen Tabacco

Kristen is currently the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction for History PreK-12 for the Lynn Public Schools. Prior to that, she taught middle and high school social studies for 10 years in Lynn. Kristen earned her BA in History from UMass Boston, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from UMass Lowell, and C.A.G.S. in Educational Leadership from American International College. She is excited to join the board officially for the 2023-2024 school year. She is passionate about involvement in NCSS and MCSS, elevating the importance of civic education, genocide & human rights education, teaching ALL of the history of our nation and world, and putting students first by putting teachers first.

Alexander Uryga

Alexander Uryga graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history. After graduating from Valpo he served at a community learning center through AmeriCorps. Alexander Uryga currently works in the field of education and holds a Master of Education in teaching and curriculum from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During his career Alexander has earned countless prestigious fellowships, including from the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, and has won numerous curriculum grants as well as scholarships to attend NCSS and NCHE conferences. He has been recognized for his teaching over the years, including from the Lynch Foundation in 2021 with the Carolyn & Peter Lynch Award for teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic and from the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies in 2022 with the Richard Aieta Promising Teacher Award.

MCSS Past Presidents

Rob Powers 2021-2022
William McGarrigle 2020-2021
Norm Shacochis 2019-2020
Kerry Dunn, 2017-2018
Casey Cullen, 2016-2017
Steve Seto, 2015-2016
Gorman Lee, 2014-2015
Bill Hocking, 2013-2014
Norman F. Shacochis, 2012-2013
Bob Kostka, 2011-2012
Janice Fairchild, 2010-2011
Jennifer Sears, 2009-2010
Sue Keane, 2008-2009
Roger Desrosiers, 2007-2008
Dorothy J. Verheyen-Cudjoe, 2006-07
Judith G. Heine, 2005
Kathleen Babini, 2004-05
Wendell C. Bourne, Jr., 2003-04
Valerie J. Degnan, 2002-03
Richard J. Meegan, 2001-02
Shaun Bresnahan, 2000-01
Susan Szachowicz, 1999-2000
Mary Ellen Sorensen, 1998-99
Thomas MacDonough, 1997-98
Carlyjane Dunn, 1996-97
Claire Austin, 1995-96
John Papadonis, 1994-95
James J. Harrington, 1993-94
Karen E. Thompson, 1992-93
Peter A. Santos, 1991-92
Debra J. Miller, 1990-91
Virginia Ahart, 1989-90
Richard Aieta, 1987-88
June R. Coutu, 1986-87
Joseph Lezon, 1985-86
Sarah Madison, 1984-85
Christian Castendyk, 1982-83
Janna M. Bremer, 1981-82
William Spratt, 1980-81
Henry Hicks, 1979-80
Anton Lahnston, 1978-79
Barbara Capron, 1977-78
Donald (Sal) Salvucci, 1976-77
John Hadden, 1975-76
Carl Stasio, 1974-75
Patricia Glasheen, 1973-74
George G. Watson, Jr., 1972-73
Charles Mitsakos, 1971-72
Alberta Sebolt, 1970-71
Terrence O’Donnell, 1969-70