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We celebrate the legacy of Honorable Mitchell Chester

In Memoriam Honorable Mitchell Chester

The National Assessment Governing Board honors the life, work, and legacy of Governing Board member Mitchell Chester, who served as Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education for Massachusetts since 2008 and was appointed to the Board in 2014.

Mitchell Chester

On behalf of the Governing Board, Chair Terry Mazany recognized Dr. Chester’s contributions to the field of education and expressed that Dr. Chester’s expertise at all levels of education provided immense value to the work of the Governing Board and its Committee on Standards, Design and Methodology:

"We join with so many others to mourn the passing of Mitchell Chester, who fought relentlessly for excellent education for all children, and we share the sadness of losing a great educator to the one fight he couldn’t win. While but one part of a career of exemplary service, Mitchell made significant contributions as a Governing Board member, setting policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

Video Commemorating Commissioner Chester

Learn more about Commissioner Chester, a former elementary school teacher who has led Massachusetts’ K-12 schools since 2008.


Always thoughtful and always respectful of his Board colleagues, Mitchell had a great sense of humor and never hesitated to challenge the status quo. Mitchell recommended innovative ways to make the Nation’s Report Card more effective, more relevant, and especially, more useful to states.

Mitchell was most passionate about linking results from NAEP to those from international assessments like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Other Board members supported Mitchell’s vision and incorporated this idea as an important cornerstone in the Governing Board’s Strategic Vision.

Mitchell was dedicated to finding ways to help all students succeed, not just in Massachusetts, but across the nation. He believed in well-designed assessments that shine a light on student performance, so that policymakers can learn from these results how to improve academic experiences for all children.  

The Board mourns Mitchell’s passing and extends condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. The Board is grateful for Mitchell’s service to the nation and work with us, and we trust that his legacy will inspire current and future leaders to advance education throughout the country."

Read more about Dr. Chester’s professional background and accomplishments from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Download the PDF format of this statement.