Heather Peske is the senior associate commissioner for instructional support at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). There, she uses her experience as a teacher, policymaker, and researcher to lead a team working to ensure the state’s one million students—especially those who are most vulnerable—learn according to rigorous standards and have access to high-quality instructional materials and effective, well-prepared educators.

Peske previously served as associate commissioner for educator effectiveness with Massachusetts DESE. In that role, she improved the process for reviewing teacher preparation programs and developed the state’s plan to give students equitable access to excellent educators. She has also held roles as vice president of programs for Teach Plus and director of teacher quality for The Education Trust. Peske began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member and elementary school teacher in Baton Rouge, La.

Peske earned her master’s degree and a doctorate in administration, planning, and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received her bachelor’s with honors from Kenyon College and was a Broad Leadership Academy fellow.