Organization also announces Board leadership changes

HARTFORD, CT –The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), a non-profit organization representing business and civic leaders, has expanded its Board of Directors with the addition of two new members. Kim Jeffery, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Waters North America, and Mary Barneby, Head of UBS Private Wealth Management in Stamford, have recently joined the Board of CCER.

When Mr. Jeffery joined Nestlé Waters North America shortly after its inception, Perrier was the only brand marketed. Since then, the company has developed into the leading bottled water company in America. With sales of $4.2 billion in 2010, the company holds seven of the top ten U.S. brands including Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deep Park, Ozarka, Zephyrhills and Nestlé Pure Life.

At UBS, Ms. Barneby’s office manages over $6 billion in financial assets for ultra high net worth individuals, family offices, closely held businesses, endowments and foundations. Mary began her career in financial services in 1974 at Merrill Lynch and held senior roles there, as well as in the mutual fund industry where she was a pioneer in developing the defined contribution business during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Both new board members bring a wealth of experience to CCER and a passion for education. CCER’s mission is to represent the business and civic voice for comprehensive reform efforts to close the achievement gap while raising academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut.

“We are fortunate to have Kim Jeffery and Mary Barneby join our board,” said Rae Ann Knopf, the Executive Director of CCER. “They bring a new perspective and relentless dedication to our organization. I look forward to working with them as we focus our efforts on re-writing state laws in ways that support true reform in education. This is the only way we will ensure every child in Connecticut has the opportunity to meet high expectations for learning and eventually become part of a viable workforce in our state.

At a recent Board of Directors meeting, Steve Simmons, Chairman and CEO of Simmons/Patriot Media & Communication, was named the Chair of CCER’s Board, replacing Peyton Patterson, former President and CEO of New Alliance Bank, who has stepped down as Chair but will remain on the board. Ramani Ayer, retired Chairman and CEO of The Hartford Insurance Company, has taken on the role of Vice Chair, replacing Simmons.

“I am honored and thrilled to serve as the Chair of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform’s Board of Directors,” said Simmons. “I believe that reforming Connecticut’s public education system is the civil rights issue of our time. Not only is closing Connecticut’s achievement gap and turning around our failing schools critical for the lives of the children in this state, but our public schools must produce more college and career-ready graduates to improve our state’s economic viability and future well-being.”

“Steve Simmons is tireless in his pursuit of strategies that are effective in closing the achievement gap for our most disadvantaged young people. His leadership on our board of directors is essential to ensuring a highly-focused approach to reform during an unprecedented time in our state history. I know we will not miss a beat as he steps in as the Chair of our board,” said Knopf.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform Board Members are:

  • Steve Simmons, Chair, Chairman & CEO of Simmons/Patriot Media & Communication
  • Ramani Ayer, Vice-Chair, Retired Chairman & CEO of The Hartford Insurance Company
  • Roxanne Coady, Secretary/Treasurer, President & Founder of RJ Julia Bookstore; Founder & Chair of Read to Grow
  • Mary Barneby, Complex Director of the UBS Private Wealth Management Office
  • Marna Borgstrom, President & CEO of Yale New Haven Hospital System
  • John Crawford, President of Strategem, LLC & Lead Dir. of Board of Dirs. at Webster Bank
  • William Ginsberg, President & CEO, The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven
  • Kim Jeffery, President and CEO, Nestlé Waters North America
  • John Koelmel, President & CEO of First Niagara Financial Group
  • Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University
  • Brian MacLean, President & COO of the Travelers Companies, Inc.
  • Peyton Patterson, Former President & CEO of New Alliance Bank
  • John Rathgeber, President & CEO of Connecticut Business & Industry Association
  • Jim Torgerson, President & CEO of United Illuminating Holdings Corporation
  • Dudley N. Williams Jr., Director of Corporate Citizenship and Diversity at GE Asset Management Group

Contact: Robert Townes
Communications Manager
Connecticut Council for Education Reform
195 Church Street, 7th Floor New Haven, CT 06510