In his current role as the National Vice President of Urban and Strategic Partnerships at BetterLesson, Jeff works closely with superintendents and principals across the country to design professional learning systems for teachers and school administrators. An expert in blended and personalized learning, authentic student assessment, teacher and leadership development, and adolescent literacy, Jeff has presented at many national education conferences and created numerous resources for teachers and leaders throughout his career.
Jeff and his wife Hannah, a Town Meeting Member representing Precinct 7, have been married for twenty years, twelve of which they have lived in a two-family house on Worcester Street with Hannah’s parents, Gary and Elizabeth Smith. Their children both attended the Kendall School and Wellington Elementary School. Their daughter is halfway through her 9th grade year at the new Belmont High School. Their son is in 6th grade at the Chenery Middle School.
Jeff and Hannah have volunteered in a variety of ways since they moved to Belmont, including coaching youth sports (lacrosse, soccer, and basketball) and serving on various committees, boards, and campaigns that relate to education and the improvement of life in Belmont more generally. Jeff is in regular communication with current School Committee members and participates actively in BSC meetings. He is also a founding member of the Belmont Family Engagement Network.
The youngest of four children, Jeff was raised by a single mother in Dorchester. His life was transformed by access to high-quality public education at Boston Latin School. Thanks to substantial financial aid, Jeff was fortunate to attend Brandeis University, where he majored in History. Inspired by the many teachers in his family and the excellent teachers and professors he encountered as a student, Jeff returned to the Boston Public Schools to teach Calculus, Industrial Arts, and History. After a four-year stint as a History teacher at the American School of São Paulo, Brazil where he learned to love strong coffee, samba music, and the Portuguese language, Jeff returned to the U.S. to serve as the Humanities Department Chair at Fenway High School in Boston, one of the most innovative and successful urban American high schools in meeting the complex social and academic needs of students living in poverty.
While he was pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College, Jeff worked at the Center for Collaborative Education to build the capacity of district leadership teams across Massachusetts and was recruited to work in the Office of High School Renewal, a special team created by Superintendent Tom Payzant to improve Boston’s high schools through school and district redesign. During this four-year period, he gained extensive experience in labor relations, federal and state budget processes, curriculum development, and change management leadership.
Selected as one of 8 citywide Boston Principal Fellows, Jeff had the opportunity to design and serve as the founding Head of School of Boston Green Academy, an in-district charter school that specializes in trauma-informed practices, urban ecology, and authentic student assessment. The school is in its 11th year and has received many national and local awards.