Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform and vice president of education policy at CBIA, has stepped down from his current roles to take a new position with the Southbridge, Massachusetts school district.

Villar has been at the head of CCER since 2013. Last year, he worked with the CCER board and CBIA staff on the formal affiliation of the two organizations.

During his tenure, Villar’s efforts focused on closing Connecticut’s achievement gap and improving public education.

“Public education is key to sustaining Connecticut’s productive workforce,” said CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan.

“The business community is committed to addressing educational disparities that prevent us from building a robust talent pipeline.

“We thank Jeffrey for his years of service and look forward to seeing him succeed in his next role.”

“CCER’s board looks forward to continuing its partnership with CBIA and is committed to sustaining its mission of narrowing Connecticut’s achievement gap—which we believe is critical to Connecticut’s long-term competitive advantage,” said Steve Simmons, chairman of CCER’s board of directors.

“We wish Jeffrey great success in his new endeavor. He has been a force for good in the education landscape, with achievements in policy and practice.”

Villar has worked in public education for 25 years, serving as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. In his new role, he is now the state-appointed receiver of the 2,200-student Southbridge School District, and will act as both superintendent and school board committee.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to have been a part of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform,” Villar said.

“Working with Joe and the incredible staff at CBIA to forge a strong affiliation between the organizations has also been a privilege.

“It will ensure that Connecticut takes the steps necessary to close achievement gaps and to address its urgent workforce development needs.”

CBIA and CCER are now in the process of finding a successor for the position.

CBIA is Connecticut’s largest business organization, with thousands of member companies, small and large, representing a diverse range of industries from every part of the state. For more information, please email or call Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).

CCER is a statewide, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that works to close the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut. We advocate for state policies and local practices that research shows have the best chance of raising achievement for high-need student populations. For more information, visit