Providing Programs and Services for Local Schools

School districts and businesses throughout the region have bonded together with the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation (BVEF) to leverage community support that enhances efforts to connect current learning with future career paths for students, whether following post-secondary education or directly after high school graduation.  BVEF provides professional development for teachers and school counselors, as well as innovative career-connection programs that assist students in the development of 21st century skills, by connecting the classroom with local businesses and the community.   The goal is to assist with the development of our future workforce in the Blackstone Valley and throughout the nation.

BVEF initiatives include:

  • Massachusetts Manufacturing Pipeline Program (M2P2)
  • STEM Kids Conference, in partnership with Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Blackstone Valley Youth Leadership Academy
  • Career-focused professional development days for teachers and counselors
  • Education grants to schools to support innovative projects, cirriculum, and field trips
  • Art in the Valley, a major student art exhibition for the public
  • Career Connections Program for students seeking local employment
  • Manufacturing Day in collaboration with local manufacturing companies
  • Annual Business and Education Forum
  • Assistance preparing for NEASC, by documenting the school-community connections
  • Early college planning and college admissions presentations

The Blackstone Valley Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is funded by gifts, school district membership, the Commonwealth's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and MassDevelopment Corporation. These funding sources help to connect your students, school, and professionals to business and industry for the purpose of strengthening college and career readiness.

Board of Directors 2019-2020


Anthony Steele, President 
Tara Bennett, Vice President 
Lee Gaudette, Treasurer
Betsey Brewer, Clerk


Peter Bedigian
Rich Brennan
John Clements
Paul Daigle
Michael Dudek
Christopher Foley
*James Hoban
Dr. Joseph Maruszczak
Dr. Kevin McIntyre
Joseph Meichelbeck
*Sarah Stone
*Executive Board Member at Large

Meet the Staff

Erika Baum, Executive Director:  Ten years experience as an assistant principal in both Virginia and Massachusetts; adjunct professor for two colleges and a university; five years classroom teaching experience in a public school district; participated in numerous educational professional development trainings and conferences. (M.A. in Educational Administration, B.A. Psychology, minor in Education)

Holly McNeil, Communication and Event Coordinator:  Nine years of experience as a Manufacturing Recruiter. Successfully recruited Engineers, Mechanical Technicians, Electronic Technicians, and Machine Operators and placed employees in large local manufacturing companies such as EMC, Saint Gobain, IPG, and Evergreen Solar. Volunteer event planner for non-profit pediatric cancer research charities. (B.S. in Sociology).

Jenna Rizzo, Technology Coordinator:  Eleven years of progressively responsible experience in marketing and sales, including significant business-to-business experience at Shields Health Care Group, Monster, Inc., and Eli Lilly & Company; several recognitions for success at developing and expanding new business markets. (B.S. in Marketing)

Megan Potenti, adjunct staff, Blackstone Valley Youth Leadership Academy Coordinator:  Fifteen years of classroom teaching experience in two public school districts; Senior Counselor at Massachusetts Association of Student Council Student Leadership Camp; five summers as Coordinator of CIT Program for Girls, Inc; Advisor to Student Council in two school districts. (B.A. in History, M.A. in History)