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TeeAra Dias
Executive Director, Boston Public Schools Department of Early Childhood

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TeeAra Dias has over 20 years of experience working in community, private, and public early education. Currently, TeeAra Dias serves as the Executive Director of the BPS Early Childhood department. A department whose mission is to provide an equitable, high-quality early education that leverages the children’s own identities, experiences, funds of knowledge, and cultures. As the first-ever UPK Director, TeeAra launched Boston’s Universal Pre-K in 2019 and leads the implementation of high-quality education for all four-year-olds via a mixed delivery system. The position is a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation in early education in Boston, and in Massachusetts, and to play a vital role in building collaborations between schools, community-based programs, and city partners.

Before the UPK Director position, Ms. Dias joined Boston Public Schools in 2015 to manage the Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG), a federal grant that expanded upon the partnership between BPS and community-based organizations. As the Project Manager, Ms. Dias worked with various district departments, named partners, outside state/city agencies, and organizations to implement the Preschool Expansion Grant and create a shared governance structure. Over the years the PEG grant improved the quality of Pre-K instruction and learning environments, providing a high-quality experience for 250 four-year-old children a year.  

Early in her career, Ms. Dias served families at Bright Horizons Family Solutions as a teacher, director and regional educator.  For nearly twenty years she offered support that meets the national standards of early education and care. At BHFS Ms. Dias facilitated regional training sessions, published divisional communications and assisted programs in achieving NAEYC accreditation. 

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Eric Esteves
Executive Director, Boston Main Streets Foundation

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Eric Esteves is the Executive Director of the Boston Main Streets Foundation, where he focuses on making Boston’s neighborhood commercial districts thriving, vibrant centers of commerce and community. He is a thinker, doer, and connector whose leadership mission is to connect people to resources and opportunities in order to transform their lives. Eric graduated from Northeastern University and gets excited about trivia, hip-hop, genealogy, politics, photography, and jumbo shrimp.

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Dr. Kevin Simon
Chief Behavioral Health Officer, City of Boston

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Dr. Simon (Kevin M. Simon, MD, MPH) is the City of Boston’s first Chief Behavioral Health Officer, appointed by Mayor Michelle Wu. He is leading a City-wide behavioral health strategy to address Boston’s growing mental health needs through the Boston Public Health Commission.

Kevin is a polymath, a physician-scientist, a healthcare policy wonk, a noted teacher, and a writer. He is a triple board-certified psychiatrist at Boston Children’s Hospital, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a former Commonwealth Fund fellow in health policy at Harvard University, the medical director at community behavioral health organizations, and a health care policy and systems consultant to federal agencies.

His writings on mental health equity are in notable journals like the American Journal of Public HealthHealth Affairs, and the New England Journal of Medicine. National audiences regularly seek his perspectives on mental health through trusted outlets.

Most importantly, he is a man of faith, a devoted husband, and a proud dad of two.

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Ayanna Pressley
Congresswoman (MA-07)

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Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) is an activist, a legislator, a survivor, and the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Throughout her career, Congresswoman Pressley has fought to ensure that those closest to the pain are closest to the power – driving and informing policymaking. As Congresswoman for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District, she has been a champion for justice and healing: reproductive justice, justice for immigrants, consumer justice, justice for seniors, justice for workers, justice for survivors of sexual violence, justice for formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, and healing for those who have experienced trauma. She has also turned her experience living with alopecia into action, becoming a leading voice fighting to raise awareness and support for the alopecia community across the nation. Congresswoman Pressley currently serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Prior to being elected to Congress, she served on the Boston City Council for eight years and was the first woman of color elected to the council in its 100-year history.

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Lydia Edwards
Massachusetts State Senator

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Senator Lydia Edwards is a career advocate, activist, and voice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. She was raised all over the world by her military mom but chose to make East Boston her home.

Prior to being elected to the State Senate and Boston City Council, Lydia worked extensively in the legal field. She worked as a public interest attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services focusing on labor issues such as fighting for access to unemployment insurance, back wages, fair treatment for domestic workers, and combating human trafficking and immigrant rights.

Senator Edwards coordinated a statewide campaign to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights – and she won. Following the bill’s passage, she was named Bostonian of the Year, Honorable Mention, by the Boston Globe. In February 2023, Senator Edwards was named chair of the Joint Housing Committee in the MA state legislature. In addition to her role as a State Senator, she serves as First Lieutenant Officer in the Massachusetts National Guard working as a Judge Advocate General, where she addresses military legal matters. 

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Ruthzee Louijeune
Boston City Council President

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Ruthzee Louijeune, serving her second term as City Councilor At-Large and unanimously elected as Boston City Council President, is a grounded, thoughtful, and inclusive leader.

As a lawyer, Ruthzee fought for families facing eviction and foreclosure in Boston Housing Court. She defended voting rights in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, helped elect progressive prosecutors nationwide, and served as the senior attorney on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. A fierce housing advocate, she drafted agreements that secured millions of dollars for first-generation homeowners as a member of Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA).

Ruthzee makes history as the first Haitian American elected to Boston municipal government,  the U.S. city with the second largest Haitian population per capita, and the first Haitian American to serve as President of the council. An alumna of Boston Public Schools, Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Ruthzee is trilingual, fluent in French and Haitian Creole, with conversational proficiency in Spanish. Her multifaceted background and unwavering dedication to serving her community make her a transformative leader shaping the future of Boston.

Born and raised in Mattapan and Hyde Park to working-class Haitian immigrants, Ruthzee’s journey is deeply rooted in the fabric of Boston. A dedicated public servant, Ruthzee is committed to fostering shared prosperity in Boston with a focus on justice and equity.

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