Cambridge School Volunteers, Inc. (CSV), a 54-year partner of the Cambridge Public School District, announced today that Meg Ramsdell will become the organization’s new executive director, effective October 7. The announcement follows a four-month search following Jennifer Fries’ decision to step down as executive director. Ramsdell currently serves as the director of NetPals, CSV’s STEM mentoring program serving all seventh-graders in three public middle (upper) schools in Cambridge. She also coordinates a Grade 6–8 CSV Learning Center at Putnam Avenue Upper School. On the same date, the agency will promote Analía Ivanier to become director of NetPals.
Ramsdell, a Cambridge resident and four-time Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) parent, taught English and Social Studies at the middle and high school level at schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She is president of the board of directors of Waltham Fields Community Farm and was a 10-year board member of the Friends of Amigos School.
Ramsdell expressed confidence that CSV’s volunteers would continue to provide the extra time and attention many children need to succeed academically regardless of grade level. By the time students enter Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the city’s one comprehensive high school, the familiarity and trust from previous experiences with CSV volunteers and staff holds significant value. “It is always a thrill to run into a former Learning Center student at CRLS. We both are happy to see a friendly face, and it serves as a reminder that CSV is here for them even after they graduate from middle school.”
Meg has demonstrated leadership, reflection and astute insights and sensitivity to the needs of our diverse population of scholars.Manuel J. Fernandez, Head of School, Cambridge Street Upper School
“We are excited that Meg Ramsdell has accepted the position of Executive Director at CSV,” says Anya Alexandra Bear, CSV Board President. “Meg brings an unshakable passion for our work and the board of directors is looking forward to working with Meg and utilizing her deep experience in volunteerism, education, and community building.”
Cambridge Street Upper School (CSUS) Head of School Manuel J. Fernandez, praised the decision as follows: “On behalf of CSUS I want to congratulate Meg Ramsdell on her appointment as the executive director of Cambridge School Volunteers. Meg has collaborated with CSUS for several years overseeing our after school Learning Center and the 7th-grade NetPals program. In both roles Meg has demonstrated leadership, reflection and astute insights and sensitivity to the needs of our diverse population of scholars. CSUS has benefited significantly from its association with CSV under the visionary leadership of Jennifer Fries. We have no doubt that under Meg’s leadership CSV will continue to be a standout community partner and our scholars school will continue to improve academically. Congratulations, Meg!”
Abdolahi Amir, a senior clinical research scientist at Philips Research in Kendall Square, says “Meg has done a terrific job connecting the Cambridge STEM community to local students through the NetPals Program. I’m excited to see her grow CSV into new, innovative directions that will continue to shape our future leaders.”
Fries’ current nine-year tenure as executive director at Cambridge School Volunteers spans the tenure of two Cambridge Public Schools superintendents, as well as a major restructuring of all but one of Cambridge’s K–8 schools into elementary and upper schools in 2012. She worked previously in the same role from 2002 to 2004 and was re-appointed as executive director in 2010 after earning a Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School and several stints in leadership at local nonprofit organizations. Fries looks forward to attending CSV’s annual dance party fundraiser as a guest.
During her time as executive director, CSV added a number of corporate partners, including Audible, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Google; Oracle; Neon Therapeutics; and Philips Research, and won several awards, including the Massachusetts Service Alliance’s 2017 Excellence in Collaboration Award; the 2018 Excellence in Environmental Education award from the Massachusetts Department of Energy & Environmental Affairs; and the Guidestar Gold transparency award. Fries served on the steering committee of Celebrate CRLS, a group formed to celebrate the city’s public high school on the occasion of its 2012 renovation. She realigned CSV’s programs to provide deeper support to students in the middle (upper) schools, with the creation of the Learning Center (tutoring) program and a dramatic expansion of the NetPals program.