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Payzant Receives the College Board Medal

Posted: December 14, 2006

Senior Lecturer Thomas Payzant has been awarded the College Board Medal for Distinguished Service to Education in November. The medal is awarded to individuals who have provided national leadership and service in the advancement of educational opportunity and demonstrated commitment to the principles related in the mission and purpose of the College Board, a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity.

"It was very special to be recognized by the College Board, which has played such an important role in American education during my career as an educator," Payzant said. "I am humbled to be included in a group of previous recipients including [former HGSE senior lecturer] Harold Howe II, [former HGSE dean] Francis Keppel, and [Harvard interim president] Derek Bok, who I have admired for years. They have made a positive difference in the lives of countless numbers of students. I am grateful to be at HGSE where I hope to help shape the skills of future leaders as Dean Keppel and Doc Howe and many others did for me."

Prior to coming to HGSE, Payzant served as superintendent of Boston Public Schools for 11 years. In 2006, he was named Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year. Over the past decade he has led a number of significant systemic reform efforts that have helped narrow the achievement gap and increase student performance on both state and national assessment exams. The Broad Foundation recently recognized Payzant's work in Boston when it named the Boston Public Schools as the 2006 winner of the Broad Prize, an award that honors large urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps for poor and minority students.

Payzant has also held superintendent positions in San Diego; Oklahoma City; Eugene, Oregon; and Springfield, Pennsylvania. He has also served as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education of the U.S. Department of Education in the Clinton administration.

Other past winners of the medal have also included Bill Cosby, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush.


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