A prominent voice in public education, Mary Ann Stewart has held office in the school site council and PTAs at the local, state, and national level. In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick named her to the Whole Child Subcommittee and, in 2014, appointed her as one of his legacy members to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. As one of eleven voting members on the Board, she has been a fierce advocate for public education, fighting everyday for families and students, and for our public schools. As a member of the Board’s Budget Subcommittee, Mary Ann prioritized the Department’s $5 billion budget for K-12 education. She is leading Massachusetts’ efforts to obtain better funding for public transportation and education as one of ten original signers of the Fair Share Amendment (“millionaire’s tax”).
Mary Ann’s passion for public education was sharpened during the years when her own children were in elementary school. She worked on local debt-exclusion and operating overrides, as well as on candidate campaigns in Town. Mary Ann joined Massachusetts PTA’s Federal and State Legislative Affairs in 2006 and then served as its Chair from 2012-2015. Mary Ann first joined MassPartners for Public Schools in 2006, a coalition of the state’s parent, teacher, principal, superintendent, and school committee associations that recommends policy to state decision-makers. She was elected and served for three successive terms as its Chair from 2011-2014. Mary Ann has developed relationships with key legislative allies in the State House and in Washington DC, due to her dedication and persistence as an issues advocate and frequent public testimony in the State House.
A granddaughter of immigrants from Armenia, Ireland, and Italy, Mary Ann was raised to stand up and speak out for social justice and fairness for all. As the daughter of musicians and teachers, she grew up in working and middle class neighborhoods, where she learned the value of hard work and persistence. Her family moved to Massachusetts before she entered high school and she graduated from the state’s university system with a degree in music education.
She and her husband Duncan have lived in Lexington for the past twenty-four years. Their three children, now young adults, attended Lexington’s Public Schools, as did Duncan, who was born and raised in Lexington. They chose to make the Town their home because they were drawn to its history, strong neighborhood schools, and dedication to the environment. When they moved in as a young family it was through the affordable housing program, LexHAB, until five years later when they purchased their current home.
For half of their years in Lexington, Mary Ann has been an elected representative to Town Meeting. She served on the Selectmen’s ad hoc Budget Schedule Committee and on the Revenue Options Working Group with Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts beginning in 2007. She was elected twice to Lexington’s School Committee and served as Chair, liaising to numerous community- and school-based groups, including LEA-Unit A (teacher collective bargaining), PTA/PTO Presidents’ Group, and Lexington’s Homelessness Working Group. From 2010 through the end of her term in 2014, Mary Ann was also elected Cary Library Executive Trustee by the Trustees of Cary Library. As School Committee Chair, Mary Ann oversaw a $100 million budget and guided Lexington through the recession, focused on child-centered schools and community-conscious budgets — without cutting programs or staff.
Mary Ann is a principled thinker and practical do-er. Her commitment to the 15th Middlesex District and to the Commonwealth is evidenced in countless hours spent pounding the pavement for workers’ rights and fair and adequate revenue, tirelessly meeting with parents and non-profit leaders, elected officials, and experts to hear their concerns, questions, and recommendations and educating others on the issues in one-to-one conversations, in small groups, and at conference workshops.
For more than twenty years, Mary Ann has given voice to progressive values. If elected, she will strengthen the constituency base of power within the Progressive Caucus. Serving as our State Representative will allow Mary Ann to further extend her leadership on issues of critical importance to our families and our future.