Board of Education

The Board of Education is the chief policy-setting body overseeing K-20 education in Rhode Island. Through its designated powers and duties, the Board helps shape the course of public education to ensure that all of the state's students receive the best possible education.

The Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, race, color, religion, national origin, or disability.

Board Members

Board of Education Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso

Eva-Marie Mancuso has been Managing Partner with the law firm of Hamel, Waxler, Allen and Collins for over twenty years.   She is an accomplished trial attorney, having attained the status of board certfication by examination as a civil trial specialist in 2000 by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  Having served as lead counsel in several complex jury trials, she has been recognized by her peers as a leader, particularly in her elected role as President of the Association for Justice, the trial bar for Rhode Island.

Mancuso began her career as Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island and Assistant District Attorney for Bristol County, MA. She also has served as Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and as Faculty Advisor to the National College of District Attorneys.

Mancuso earned a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, where she was Student Bar Association President and earned the Outstanding Graduate Award for Public Service.

Mancuso is active in many legal and community organizations both locally and nationally. She is a former Vice President of the URI Alumni Association and served as a CCRI Foundation Trustee. She was also the R.I. Representative to the National Lawyers/Teacher Partnership. 

Mancuso has been honored as the R.I. Business and Professional "Woman of the Year," is a recipient of the South County "Business Woman of Achievement" Award, and received the "Outstanding Service Award" from the URI Alumni Association.

As a member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education from 2011 to 2013, Mancuso chaired the Government Relations Committee and served on the board’s Facilities, Finance and Management Committee and the Personnel Committee. She was appointed Chair of the newly-formed Rhode Island Board of Education in January of 2013. 

Chair Mancuso is married to attorney Sean Feeney, a proud mother and grandmother!

Appointed to the Board: January 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2016

Dr. Antonio Barajas is an Emergency Room physician at Rogers Williams Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas' extensive medical background includes service as the House Physician at Kent County Hospital in Warwick, an Emergency Room physician at Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, an Emergency Room physician at Miriam Hospital in Providence, as a physician with Women's Care Inc., a field investigator for the RI State Medical Examiner's Office, and a primary care and Emergency Room physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas is involved with the Brown University Medical School's mentoring program and is President of the Rhode Island Mexican-American Association, a Board member of Hospice Care of Rhode Island, and Chairman of the Rhode Island Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees at the International Institute in Providence.

Dr. Barajas has been involved with research on Guillain-Barre Syndrome and post-transfusion HIV seroconversion. He received his B.S. in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island and his M.D. from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, during which time he also studied at Prince George's County Medical Center in Maryland. Dr. Barajas has also taken part in the Fifth Pathway Program and the Brown School of Medicine, interned in surgery/medicine at Miriam Hospital, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Miriam Hospital. He is a resident of Central Falls.

While a member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education from 2011 – 2013, Dr. Barajas served on the Government Relations Committee; the Facilities, Finance and Management Committee; and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2015

Michael Bernstein worked as a member of senior staff and the Administrator of Long Term Care Field Services (LTC) for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services from 1995 to 2007.  He also served as the Administrator of the Rhode Island General Public Assistance Program from 1992 to 2006.  Prior to these roles in the department, he worked as a Caseworker and Senior Planner from 1968 to 1990.

Bernstein holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and a master's degree from Arizona State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Student Assistance Program, which places professionals in schools around the state who provide invaluable services such as counseling, mental health, and suicide prevention to students and their families. In addition, he currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Coastline Employee Assistance Program.  Bernstein has served as a member of the RI Coastal Management Resources Council and also as a commissioner on the East Providence Economic Development Commission.

Bernstein is an active Rhode Island area volunteer representative for his alma mater, the University of Miami, assisting with recruiting, managing college fairs, and contacting local students who have been accepted to the University.

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2016

A former sixth-grade and special education teacher in Lincoln, Rhode Island, with 21 years of classroom experience, Colleen Callahan currently serves as the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP) Professional Issues Director.  As Director of Professional Issues, Dr. Callahan coordinates the organization's professional development networks, including its statewide Education Research & Dissemination and Redesigning Schools Networks and its partnerships with institutions of higher education.  She is responsible for direct service to members through coursework and on-site presentations and assists local union leaders in negotiating for and supporting professional issues and school-improvement initiatives.  
Dr. Callahan works regularly with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and other state agencies on education policy and represents the RIFTHP on numerous state and national boards and commissions, including the RI College Crusade and the Northeast Regional Education Labs Boards of Directors.  Currently, Dr. Callahan is serving as the program director for the RIFTHP/AFTs Innovation Fund initiative on teacher evaluation, working with labor-management teams from six RI urban districts, national experts, and RIDE to create a model teacher evaluation and support system. 

Dr. Callahan served as Secretary of the RI Board of Regents and chaired the Board's Committees on Academic and Student Programs and Secondary Regulations. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Rhode Island College and recently earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University.


Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2015

Karin L. Forbes is a former member of the R.I. Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, serving on the Appeals Committee.  She is former Vice-Chair of the North Kingstown School Committee and chaired the Policy Subcommittee.  Mrs. Forbes taught school in East Greenwich from 1968-78.  

She has worked for CRH Consulting in Jamestown through which she worked for McGraw Hill designing predictive and diagnostic mathematics tests based on state standards.  Through the consulting firm she also worked for the Pakistan Department of Education, designing a staff development plan for Pakistan Teachers.

At present she is on the board of the West Bay Family YMCA, where she is involved in the redevelopment of the organization's After School Program.  She is also an active member of the North Kingstown Rotary Club, where she is a past-president and presently serving as treasurer.

She has been appointed as Chair of the Rhode Island Board of Education Appeals Committee.

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2016

Jo Eva Gaines is vice chair of the Newport School Committee, on which she has served since 2000. She is a member of the Policy Sub-committee and chairs the School Committee’s Building Committee and the Strategic Planning Sub-committee. Gaines has also served on the Executive Board of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees since 2001, during which time she has held the roles of president, secretary treasurer, and vice president.  She also serves as a Eucharistic minister, lector, and past president of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church parish council and has held a number of other active roles in her community.

After studying Music Education at Xavier University in New Orleans, Gaines received a B.A. in Education from Salve Regina University; an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Providence College; and a C.A.G.S. in Career Counseling/Secondary Administration from Bridgewater State College.  Her long teaching career included music education in Georgia, South Carolina, and Middletown, RI; guidance counselor and director of guidance in Middletown; and academic advisor at Salve Regina University. 

Gaines also served as secretary and vice chair of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education between 1985-2005, as well as a member of the Brown University’s Annenberg Institute Urban Education Task Force, Newport MLK Center Board of Directors, RI Commission on Women, Big Sisters RI, and several advisory boards for education evaluating and funding.  Gaines’ honors and awards include the NAACP Outstanding Educator Award and the RIASC Howard Kay Award for Outstanding School Committee Service.

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2014

Patrick A. Guida is an active partner with the Providence law firm of Duffy & Sweeney, Ltd., practicing primarily in the areas of banking, commercial finance and real estate lending.  Mr. Guida has been recognized for his professional achievement by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.  He is the only attorney elected from Rhode Island as a fellow of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers.  He and his wife live in Barrington, Rhode Island, where each of their children attended the public schools.  He received his B.A. from Union College, in Schenectady, New York, and his Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he served as editor of the Law Review. 

At the local and state level, Mr. Guida has served on the Barrington School Committee continuously since 1996 and as its Chairman for twelve years.  In 1999 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees (RIASC) and continues to serve in that capacity.  He was first elected as an officer of RIASC in 2000, was elected President in 2002, and re-elected the following year.  Mr. Guida served on the Rhode Island Board of Regents in for Elementary and Secondary Education from 2001 through 2012, and served as its Vice-Chair from 2005 through 2012.  He was a member and/or chair of numerous committees and sub-committees relating to Curriculum, Educator Quality, Secondary School Reform, State Funding Formula and Accountability Measures.  He was appointed as a member and Vice-Chair of the Rhode Island Board of Education in January, 2013.

At the national level, Board Member Guida has been an active member of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), serving three years as the Chair of the 20-member Government Affairs Committee, which is responsible for developing recommendations on federal policy and for communicating with Congress and federal officials about education reform.  In 2011, he was elected President-Elect of NASBE for the calendar year 2012 and currently serves as President of the Association.  He has also represented the State of Rhode Island at the National School Board Association (NSBA) National Delegate Assembly since 2000 and has served as the Northeast Region Representative on both the National Nominating Committee and Policies and Resolutions Committee of NSBA.  

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2015

William C. Maaia is an attorney in general practice with William C. Maaia and Associates, the firm he founded. 

Maaia earned a B.A. from Providence College and his J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law, in addition to Collective Bargaining certification from Rutgers University and Negotiations training

from Harvard Law School.  Maaia, a regulatory trial attorney for many years, practices before
the Public Utilities Commission, the FCC and a variety of administrative law bodies and all the
Rhode Island State and Federal Courts.  Maaia is legal counsel to the only independent
broadband provider in Rhode Island, a company offering Rhode Island subscribers high
definition digital television, internet and telephone.  Maaia was one of the few
telecommunication attorneys invovled from the launching of cable tv in Rhode Island since the

His first employment after law school was with the Rhode Island Department of Education
(RIDE).  During his time with RIDE, Maaia served as a labor relations officer, which included work with the Board of Regents, and was project manager for a collaborative of six states that
developed comprehensive manuals on fact-finding, mediation, and arbitration in public
education.  Maaia also served for twelve years on the East Providence School Committee, four
as Chairman, during which time he organized the "Blue Print Task Force," which produced a
report – at no cost to the city – identifying significant educational issues.

He has also served as Special Legal Counsel to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission; Legal
Counsel to Municipal Water Supply Board; Legal Counsel to Full Channel TV, Inc.; Special
Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island; Special Contracted Legal Counsel to three Rhode
Island Attorneys General; Special Lecturer, Community College of Rhode Island; Special
Instructor, Providence College; and Instructor of English, Bristol Community College.
He is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, the U.S. District Court, the Rhode Island
Trial Lawyers' Association, the American Arbitration Association, and the Art Clubs of Westport,
Massachusetts, and Providence, respectively.

Maaia served about two years on the prior Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher
Education.  He has been appointed as Chair of the new Rhode Island Board of Education
Personnel Committee.

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2016

During his tenure as president of National Education Association Rhode Island, Larry Purtill has held numerous positions of leadership on statewide boards and commissions, in both the labor and education communities.  He currently is secretary treasurer of the Institute for Labor Studies and Research, chair of the Certification Advisory Committee, and is on the board of directors of the Working Rhode Island coalition.

Purtill is a member of the Executive Committee Rhode Island AFL-CIO. He taught history in Exeter-West Greenwich for 22 years prior to taking office in 1999.


Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2015


Lt Col (Ret) Mathies J. Santos served for more than 31 years with the USAF and the RI Air National Guard.  His last assignments included a 2008-2009 deployment to Afghanistan in support of "Operation Enduring Freedom," where he worked on the rebuilding of the Afghan National Army Air Corps; and as Commander of the 143rd Airlift Wing's Force Support Squadron.  Mat is a native Rhode Islander and product of the Providence Public Schools.  A 1965 graduate of Hope High School, he holds degrees from Brown University 77' and Rhode Island College 82' in Italian Studies and Secondary Education; and Managerial Economics, respectively.  

Mat retired from state service in 2003 having worked at Rhode Island College, the Executive Branch, the Department of Administration, and retiring as Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and Director of Equity and Access at the Rhode Island Department of Education.  He is currently employed as a Reservist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a Community Relations and Congressional Affairs Specialist.

Appointed to the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education in 2011, he Chaired the Board's Appeals Committee and serves on the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Study Group examining the "Role of Technology in Schools and Communities."  

Appointed to the Board: 2013
Term Expires: January 31, 2014

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