David P. Driscoll, EdD, is former commissioner of education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has worked in public education and educational leadership for most of his adult life. A former secondary school mathematics teacher, Dr. Driscoll was named assistant superintendent of Melrose, Massachusetts’s schools in 1972 and then superintendent in 1984. He served in that role until 1993 when he was appointed Massachusetts’s deputy commissioner of education, just days after the state’s Education Reform Act was signed into law. Dr. Driscoll became interim commissioner of education on July 1, 1998, and was named commissioner on March 10, 1999.
As deputy commissioner, Dr. Driscoll held several key leadership roles, both in the external affairs of the education department and in internal management. He was the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) mathematics and science program in Massachusetts, PALMS, and was instrumental in gaining the NSF’s approval of a second five-year round of funding for this initiative in 1997. He was also appointed to oversee the implementation of the state agreement on management and governance of the Lawrence Public Schools.
As interim commissioner, Dr. Driscoll worked with then Gov. Paul Cellucci, Senate President Birmingham, and House Speaker Finneran to pass the state’s “12-62 Plan,” a law aimed at enhancing future educator quality. The program gained national recognition for its accelerated teacher education and bonus programs, both aimed at encouraging mid-career professionals to become classroom teachers.
As commissioner, Dr. Driscoll oversaw the development of the state’s curriculum frameworks, implementation and expansion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, development of the Massachusetts School and District Accountability System, and development and administration of the Educator Certification Test and new licensure regulations.
These initiatives and others have led to consistent annual improvement in student achievement as measured by state standards, national measures, and international tests. In 2005, Massachusetts was the first state to ever earn the highest-scaled score in the nation on all four National Assessment of Educational Progress exams.
Dr. Driscoll is past president of the Harvard Superintendent Roundtable and the Merrimac Valley Superintendents Roundtable, was an elected member of the executive board of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and was vice president of the superintendents’ association at the time of his appointment as deputy commissioner. He is former president of the Council of Chief State School Officers and serves on the board of the National Assessment Governing Board.
Dr. Driscoll earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Boston College, his master’s degree in educational administration from Salem State College, and his doctorate in education administration from Boston College.