Raimondo Announces Five Nominations to Board of Education

PROVIDENCE, RI  Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced her intent to nominate five members to the Board of Education. As the Governor works to expand opportunities for Rhode Island families, these nominees will help build the foundation for success in our schools. Raimondo will submit the names for consideration to the Rhode Island State Senate for confirmation.

“We must ensure all students in Rhode Island have access to the quality education they need to succeed in the 21st century. A great education is a ladder of opportunity. Great schools and a pipeline of well-trained, well-educated workers are key tools to attracting companies to invest and create jobs here,” said Raimondo. “The individuals I’m nominating today bring a wide-range of experience to the Board. I am incredibly thankful to Eva-Marie Mancuso, who has generously dedicated so much of her time to the state and our students for the past three years, to Patrick Guida for his more than a decade of commitment to the Board, and to Antonio Barajas and Mat Santos for their public service on behalf of Rhode Island’s children.”

The Governor is submitting the following names to the State Senate for confirmation:

  • Barbara Cottam of Providence (Raimondo’s nominee for Board Chair)
  • Jim Karam of Tiverton
  • Marta V. Martínez of Warwick
  • Betsy Shimberg of Providence
  • Rev. Dr. Jeffery Williams of Cranston (re-nomination)

The Governor intends to designate Jim Karam and Rev. Dr. Jeffery Williams to the Post-Secondary Council, and Marta V. Martínez and Betsy Shimberg to the K-12 Council.

“I welcome this opportunity to serve on behalf of our students,” said Barbara Cottam. “A strong Rhode Island economy requires an educational system that prepares students for tomorrow’s jobs. I look forward to working with Governor Raimondo, the Board, parents, teachers, educators and students in ensuring every child and young adult receives a quality education and achieves his or her potential.

Barbara Cottam

Barbara Cottam is Executive Vice President for Citizens Financial Group. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, Crossroads RI, and La Salle Academy. Cottam also serves on the Providence College President’s Council, having recently completed ten years as the Head of the Council. She is a founding member of RI Kids Count, the state’s leading child advocacy organization, and served on the board for 10 years, the last three as Chairman. From 1991 to 1994, Cottam was Press Secretary for Governor Bruce Sundlun. Cottam is a graduate of Lincoln School and Providence College.

Jim Karam

Jim Karam is the President and CEO of First Bristol Corporation, a real estate development and management company that builds shopping centers, office buildings, and hotels throughout Southern New England. For 10 years, Jim served as a Trustee of the University of Massachusetts, including 4 years as Chairman. Karam is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts.

Marta V. Martínez

Marta V. Martínez currently serves as Executive Director of Rhode Island Latino Arts, an arts education non-profit that provides cultural programs for K-12 students. Martínez is a former elementary school Spanish teacher, and she was previously chosen by Governor Sundlun to serve as the first ever Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Martínez is a graduate of Providence College, George Washington University and Georgetown University.

Betsy Shimberg

Betsy Shimberg is the Program Director for K-12 Education at the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University. She also serves on the boards of City Year RI and Generation Citizen. Shimberg was confirmed by the Senate in 2008 to the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, serving in this role until 2013. She graduated from Wellesley College and earned a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University.

Rev. Dr. Jeffery Williams

Rev. Dr. Jeffery Williams founded the King’s Cathedral in 1999, which now owns five properties. Internationally, Dr. Williams oversees 43 congregations in six nations. Dr. Williams graduated from Brown University in 1981. He also has a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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