Dr. Christopher Breiseth – Chair
Dr. Christopher N. Breiseth is the immediate past president and CEO of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, located at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, serving in that position from 2001 to 2008. He was president of Deep Springs College in California from 1980 to 1983 and of Wilkes University from 1984 to 2001. He earned his B.A. in history at UCLA, a Masters of Literature in Modern British History from Oxford and a Ph.D. in European History from Cornell. While at Cornell, he lived at the Telluride House where Frances Perkins was a guest for the last five years of her life while she was teaching at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Together, Breiseth and Miss Perkins organized two seminars for house members, one with Henry A. Wallace, the other with James Farley. Following Miss Perkins’s death in 1965, Breiseth wrote an article, “The Frances Perkins I Knew,” which provides some of the material on Frances Perkins’s life at Telluride House for Kirstin Downey’s book, “The Woman Behind the New Deal.” The article is available on line. He also served for a year and a half in 1967 and 1968 as Chief of Policy Guidance for the Community Action Program which was part of the Office of Economic Opportunity, President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. He was married to the late Jane Morhouse Breiseth and has three daughters and three grandchildren.
Rev. Charles Hoffacker – Vice Chair
An Episcopal priest since 1982, Charles is rector of St. Paul’s Parish, Baden, Maryland. From 2012-2014, he served as interim rector of the Parish of St. Monica and St. James (formerly St. James), Capitol Hill, where Frances Perkins belonged during her years in Washington. A graduate of St. John’s College, Annapolis and a cum laude graduate of Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Charles has served three parishes as rector, five as interim, and has been a university chaplain and a convocation dean. He is the author of “A Matter of Life and Death: Preaching at Funerals.” Many sermons by Charles are available on the official Episcopal Church website and on Lectionary.org. He has taught “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Religions of the World” at the college level. His article “Frances Perkins: The Saint Behind the New Deal” appeared in the May 4, 2014 issue of The Living Church.
Hon. Leah W. Sprague – Treasurer
Leah W. Sprague is a retired justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court. She is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law, and completed the program for Senior Executives in Massachusetts State Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has been in legal practice for 36 years, specializing in litigation and health law. She previously served as a Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General and was Assistant Commissioner and General Counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare during the administration of Governor Michael S. Dukakis. In that latter period, she served on the Executive Board of the American Association of Public Welfare Attorneys. She currently resides in Newcastle, Maine, where she is writing a book on women in the judiciary.
Sarah Peskin – Secretary
Former Chief of Planning and Legislation for the National Park Service North Atlantic region, Sarah Peskin guided the preservation and interpretation of many nationally significant historic places and managed major new facility projects from concept to operation in her 30-years in federal service. A graduate of Smith College, she holds a master’s degree in urban planning from New York University and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.
She was instrumental in the establishment of Weir Farm National Historic Site, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and managed planning and design of the award-winning Harbor Islands Pavilion, Mogan Cultural Center, Boarding House Park, and Lowell Park Trolley System. In retirement she is enjoying serving as a pro bono consultant to the Frances Perkins Center where she prepared the successful National Historic Landmark nomination for the Perkins Homestead. She splits her time between her home in Walpole, Maine, just across the Damariscotta River from the Homestead and Brookline, Massachusetts.
Susan Bateson is a retired senior corporate leader and strategic Human Resources executive with over 35 years experience in the biotechnology, banking, and legal industries. Previous employers included: Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (16 years); JP Morgan (11 years, pre-merger with Chase); Citigroup (4 years); and a patent law firm (2 years).
Ms. Bateson also has nonprofit governing and advisory board experience in various sectors and has served in leadership roles as Board Chair, Officer, and Committee Chair. Boards served include: a Maine land trust; two institutions of higher education, including her undergraduate alma mater Mount Holyoke College; an organization dedicated to helping people living with lupus; and a museum. Board Committees served include: development, finance, audit and faculty / trustee conference.
Ms. Bateson currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in Bath, Maine, an organization dedicated to conserving, restoring, and instilling appreciation of the land and water resources of the Kennebec Estuary to benefit today’s communities and future generations. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Monhegan Museum of Art & History in Monhegan, Maine.
Ms. Bateson graduated from Mount Holyoke College cum laude with a major in economics and spent her junior year studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She also holds a MBA from New York University. Ms. Bateson grew up in Connecticut and resides in Arlington, Virginia and Georgetown, Maine with her husband, Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D., a University Professor at George Mason University.
Kirstin Downey, an award-winning journalist at the Washington Post from 1988 to 2008, is a business reporter whose work has focused on illuminating the human implications of important financial trends, particularly boom and bust cycles in the modern economy.
Downey’s coverage of the aftermath of the savings and loan debacle of the late 1980s won her several regional press association awards. In 1990, she was named a finalist for the Livingston prize for outstanding young journalist in America for her coverage of the abuse of government housing programs. In the mid-1990s, her articles on sexual harassment in workplaces across America, including in the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota and at auto plants in the Midwest, caused a paradigm shift in how people viewed a problem that had been trivialized.
From 2005 to 2007, Downey led the country in reporting on a worrisome but unrecognized phenomenon — the dangerous growth of risky new kinds of mortgages that threatened to bankrupt borrowers and the financial institutions making the loans. These loans have contributed to a downward economic spiral worldwide. Her reporting went unheeded by the Bush Administration.
Downey left the Washington Post in 2008 to finish The Woman Behind the New Deal, a book she had spent nine years researching. Her goal was to look to history to see how a heroine of the past, Frances Perkins, had helped the country deal with financial calamity and how, exactly, Perkins had created the social safety net that will minimize the damage to Americans today.
A cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College, Alison Lahnston holds an MBA in Finance and Investments from George Washington University and a Master’s degree from Simmons School of Library Science. She began her fundraising career in 1983 after extensive experience in business, trust and financial planning and educational administration. She has served as Director of Planned Giving and Stewardship at Boston University, Major Gifts Officer and Director of Major Gifts at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Director of Planned Giving for the Peddie School (1997 -2007). Alison served as an elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association, for two terms as a Trustee of Radcliffe College and as President of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association.
Judith Goldstein founded Humanity in Action in 1997 and has served as its Executive Director ever since. Under Judith’s leadership, Humanity in Action has organized educational programs on international affairs, diversity and human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and the United States. She received her Ph.D in history from Columbia University and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar for her MA studies. Judith has written several books and articles about European and American history, art and landscape architecture. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and several boards and advisory groups.
Donn Mitchell is the editor and publisher of The Anglican Examiner. Since 2005, Donn has resided in Princeton, New Jersey, where he has served as adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is currently Professor of Religion and Ethics at Berkeley College in New York and edits academic and trade books on a freelance basis.
Charles M. Wyzanski
A graduate, cum laude, of Harvard College and of Columbia Law School, Charles has practiced law for more than forty years, fourteen of which were as an Assistant Attorney General for Massachusetts. He has served as a full-time Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School and an adjunct faculty member at Boston University, Brandeis and Tufts. Charles is writing a book on his father, the late Hon. Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr. Judge Wyzanski had an illustrious career as United States District Court Judge from 1941 to 1986. He served as Frances Perkins’s first Solicitor of the United States Department of Labor from 1933-35, and, later, as a member of the Solicitor General’s Office, he successfully defended the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act in the United States Supreme Court.
Neil joined the Board in June of 2013. A former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Neil is also a renowned author and philanthropist. Born in Boston, in 1931, Neil was educated in Brookline schools and was graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, then Yale with a BA, then Coulmbia Journalism with an MS. Highlights of work experience, 6 years as a Special Assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis, then 16 years as a Democratic State Representative in Maine. Neil has authored some 14 books and he has won several awards, including the Neal W. Allen Award for History writing from the Maine Historical Society, the Constance Carlson Award of the Maine Humanities Council and a Maine Writers and Publishers award for the best non-fiction. Neil has been on the boards of various organizations, both in Maine and in other parts of the country, including chairman of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the Seacoast Shipyard Association (supporting the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Lighthouse Corporation of Bar Harbor, the Katahdin Institute, and chair of the Development Committee of the National Tropical Botanical Garden of Hawaii and one-time vice-chairman of the board of the University of New England and board member of the Heller School of Social work at Brandeis University.
Rep. Rotundo is Director of Strategic and Policy Initiatives for the Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships. She has represented Lewiston in the Maine Legislature for the past thirteen years, currently serving as the House Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and has a niece who is currently a Frances Perkins Scholar at the College.
Michael Chaney – Executive Director
Michael Chaney is the Executive Director of the Frances Perkins Center, based in Newcastle with administrative offices and a public exhibit on Main Street in Damariscotta. Chaney, a native of Alna, holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine-Orono and a Master’s in history from the University of Connecticut. Before returning to Maine in 2010, Chaney’s career was in non-profit management and public history in Vermont and New Hampshire, including, from 2001 to 2009, serving as President and CEO of the New Hampshire Political Library, a non-profit educational organization founded to preserve New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. From 2010 until 2014, Chaney was the Executive Director of the Yarmouth Historical Society.
Chris Cash – Development & Outreach Associate
In July 2014 Chris Cash became the new Development and Outreach Associate for the Frances Perkins Center. Prior to this Cash worked as the Director of Outreach for the Institute for Broadening Participation from 2002 to 2014. In this role Cash managed IBP’s Regional Specialist program working with diversity professionals nation-wide to disseminate National Science Foundation, NSF and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, STEM opportunities to traditionally underrepresented students. Cash brings a wealth of outreach, administration, and public speaking experience to her new position. A University of Maine graduate, Cash has proudly lived all of her life in her home state of Maine and is enthusiastic to live and work in the Midcoast along with her husband and daughter.
Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall
Tomlin is Frances Perkins’ grandson, son of her daughter Susanna and Calvert Coggeshall, an abstract expressionist and designer. Tomlin attended Middlesex School in Concord Massachusetts and then studied biology and botany, graduating with a B.S. in Botany and Biology from the University of Maine. Since then, he has worked in publishing and marketing, mostly in the alternative energy field, focused on hydrogen and clean energy. Tomlin is currently promoting IT research and consulting for a firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts and lives with his husband Christopher Rice in Newcastle at The Brick House, the Perkins Homestead.
Elizabeth Allen, Ph.D.
Dr. Allen, a founding board member of the Frances Perkins Center, is a geologist with nearly 40 years of experience in industry and academia. After beginning her career at Shell Oil Company, she established her own company, Methane Resources Group, in 1981 engaging in both domestic and international petroleum project development. Starting in 2000, she redirected her interests towards education, teaching academic courses at her (and Frances Perkin’s) alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, as a visiting professor and at the University of Maine in Orono as an adjunct professor of earth sciences and a policy fellow at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. During this time she lectured to organizations and community groups in both geology and global energy with the expressed goal of helping to advance better understanding of global energy issues, environmental concerns and economic growth in a world of diverse cultures, emerging markets and economic disparity. She was founder of the Sudanese Visual History Program now located in New Zealand and has served on a variety of profit and non-profit boards including Mount Holyoke College and The Boppy Company. Betty is a Trustee Fellow of Mount Holyoke College, a member of the Camden Conference Advisory Council of Maine where she organized energy symposia for nearly ten years, and is enjoying retirement in Newcastle, Maine.
Peter C. Benton
Peter Benton is a principal with Heritage Strategies, LLC, a preservation planning firm based in Birchrunville, Pennsylvania. A registered architect and planner, Peter has been responsible for a wide range of architecture and planning projects involving the restoration, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and landscapes.
Before co-founding Heritage Strategies, Peter worked for twenty-five years with John Milner Associates, Inc., nationally recognized leaders in historic preservation. At JMA, Peter was responsible for the firm’s planning projects, specializing in work with national heritage areas. Peter is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania. He has been active on a variety of non-profit boards, including Preservation Pennsylvania, The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Preservation Action, The Kimberton Waldorf School, and the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau. He spends a portion of each year on his family farm in Jefferson, Maine.
Brooksley Born, Esq.
Recipient of our 2010 Intelligence and Courage Award. As the former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born recognized the dangers of unregulated derivatives trading and warned about the potential collapse of the financial system. Her attempt to save the country from economic disaster is the subject of a PBS Frontline documentary, “The Warning.” Born was honored by the JFK Library in 2009 with a “Profile in Courage Award.”
Recipient of our 2011 Intelligence and Courage Award, Ellen Bravo is the executive director of Family Values @ Work. Ellen tirelessly leads a national campaign promoting family-friendly workplace policies including paid sick days and family leave insurance. Her organization recently hosted a National Tele-Townhall Event to discuss fair pay, paid leave, and access to child care, featuring Nancy Pelosi, Lilly Ledbetter, as well as working women and Congresswomen from across America championing these critical issues. The former director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, her most recent book is Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation.
Joyce Clements, Ph.D.
Joyce M. Clements currently serves as a Senior Principal Investigator, Historical Archaeology, for Gray & Pape, Providence, Rhode Island. Her research interests include women’s history, archaeological theory, feminist methods and theories, New England archaeology, and the history and archaeology of Native American women. Clements also is interested in connections between health and the environment, and served as the President of the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition during her brief residence in Maine. She has taught anthropology, archaeology, and women’s studies and frequently presents her research at local, national, and international conferences. Clements’ support for the Frances Perkins center is a natural outgrowth of her interest in justice and equity, and the outstanding woman who brought those issues to American consciousness.
Tracy A. Cooley
Tracy Cooley has been working on the behalf of at risk families for over 30 years. She has worked in the early care and education and domestic violence fields as an administrator, practitioner, trainer, and consultant. Ms.Cooley was the Director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence from 1990-2001. From 2001- 2006 she was a Policy Associate at the Muskie School of Public Service, Institute for Child and Family Policy at the University of Southern Maine where she co-authored the Safe Families Safe Homes curriculum.
Since 1990, she has maintained a private consulting practice, T.Cooley and Associates, offering the implementation of the Safe Families Safe Homes Project across the country. She provides technical assistance to practitioners, state domestic violence coalitions, state and federal agencies, and national organizations. Cooley recently joined the staff at Maine Kids-Kin, a statewide program that supports grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
Ms. Cooley has been an activist for social justice since her youth. During her college years she started the first women’s center at Nasson College. She served for ten years on the board of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Her recent board tenure is with Maine Initiatives, a foundation for social change.
Carla Dickstein, Ph.D.
Carla Dickstein is Senior Vice-President at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) based in Wiscasset, Maine. For the past 15 years she has overseen CEI’s work on research and policy development, including green industries and employment opportunities, rural development and entrepreneurship and predatory mortgage lending and foreclosures. In 2006 Carla coauthored a study of subprime mortgages and predatory lending, which led to Maine passing a strong antipredatory lending law in 2007. Prior to coming to CEI she was on the faculty at West Virginia University’s Regional Research Institute and the West Virginia University Extension Service. Carla sits on a number of nonprofit and government boards and committees including Maine’s Citizen Trade Commission, the Engage Maine steering committee, and the Research Advisory Board to the Community Affairs Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She holds a B.A. from Smith College, a Masters in Planning from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Recipient of our 2011 Open Door Award, Hilary Doe is the former National Director of the Roosevelt Institute’s Campus Network. Founded in 2004, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network was formed to strengthen the progressive movement by meaningfully engaging young people in politics, empowering them as leaders and promoting their ideas for change. Since Hilary Doe assumed leadership of the organization, the Campus Network’s budget and membership have more than doubled in size and it has been recognized by the Washington Post, the Nation and other major publications. Hilary Doe represents the perspective of young people on the pressing issues affecting their communities and the nation.
Susan Feiner, Ph.D.
Susan F. Feiner holds a joint position at the University of Southern Maine in the departments of Women and Gender Studies and Economics. She was a founding member of the International Association of Feminist Economics and a member of the original editorial board of the award-winning journal Feminist Economics. Her most recent book, Liberating Economics: Feminist perspectives on families, work, and globalization was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2004. It was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by the American Library Association.
June Hopkins, Ph.D.
Historian June Hopkins received her Ph. D. from Georgetown in 1997. Her biographical study of her grandfather’s social work career from 1912 through the Great Depression, Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1999 and Jewish first wife, divorced: The Selected Letters and Papers of Ethel Gross and Harry Hopkins, co-edited with Allison Giffen was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2003. Hopkins has been a professor of American history at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, since 1998 and has been head of the history department for the past four years. She is now working on a history of World War II and the relationship between Winston Churchill and Harry Hopkins.
Kate McCormick has worked for more than 30 years in print media, beginning with a reporting stint at The Indianapolis Star, from which she moved to a job as a reporter for the Patriot Ledger in Needham and Wellesley, Massachusetts. In 1977, she joined the copy desk of Newsday on Long Island, but almost immediately became an editor for the newspaper’s fledgling Queens edition, later called New York Newsday. From 1988 to 1995, she was an op-ed editor for New York Newsday. She later worked for Forbes special interest publications and served two years as associate editor of the Episcopal News Service, based in New York. She is now happily retired in Maine, to which she moved with her partner in 2010. A year later she began volunteering for the Frances Perkins Center. Kate is a journalism graduate of Indiana University and also holds a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Dr. Mark A. Peterson
Mark A. Peterson, with a Ph.D. in political science from The University of Michigan, is Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, and former department chair, in the Department of Public Policy at the UCLA School of Public Affairs. His previous faculty appointments were in Government at Harvard University and Public Affairs, Political Science, and Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Peterson is a scholar of American national institutions, focusing on the interactions among the presidency, Congress, and interest groups, as well as on national health care policy making and Medicare reform. His publications include Legislating Together: The White House and Capital Hill from Eisenhower to Reagan (Harvard). As a participant in the Annenberg Institutions of American Democracy Project, he co-chaired the Commission on the Executive Branch and co-edited the volume it produced on the politics and performance of the presidency and bureaucracy, Institutions of American Democracy: The Executive Branch (Oxford), which won the Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best reference on the presidency. He was also a co-author of the Annenberg’s project book exploring public and elite opinion on the performance of American institutions, Institutions of American Democracy: A Republic Divided (Oxford). Peterson is on the Council of the American Political Science Association, serves on four national advisory committees (chairing one) for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is past editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, and has been a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution. As an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow he served as a legislative assistant for Health Policy to Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD). He is a founding member of the core team of the Blue Sky Health Initiative, which seeks to transform the health and health care system in the United States. An elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, he served on its Study Panel on Medicare and Markets, and he is a recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Hon. Robert Reich
Robert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of twelve books, among them the best-sellers The Work of Nations and Locked in the Cabinet, and, his most recent, Supercapitalism. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. In that capacity he shepherded the Family and Medical Act through Congress, as well as the Pension Protection Act and the School-to-Work Act, and he laid the groundwork for the Workforce Development Act. He also led a national campaign against sweatshops, secured safer workplaces, and expanded opportunities for job retraining to millions of American workers.
Christopher I. Rice
Christopher Irvine Rice is principal designer for Designs for Native Landscapes. He holds a Master of Arts degree from the Conway School of Landscape Design and a BA in Journalism from the University of Maine at Orono. Inspired by the complexity and random beauty found in environmentally sound landscapes which are native to a region, Christopher has worked developing landscapes for non-profits and residential clients while living in midcoast Maine with his partner, Tomlin Coggeshall, since 1995. Formerly a commercial interior designer and conservation commissioner in Massachusetts, he’s currently a trustee of his local historical society in Newcastle and pleased to be a founding member of the Frances Perkins Center.
Nancy Teel, Ph.D.
Nancy Teel is Professor of English and Interim Dean of Liberal Arts at Roxbury Community College in Boston. She has taught composition and literature for more than twenty years and has been a college administrator for two years. She has an undergraduate degree in English literature from Saint Mary’s College and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University. Beyond the classroom, her interests include human rights, world peace and globalization. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, boating and working on old houses.
Dr. Watson is Director Emerita of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Watson earned her bachelor’s degree at Duke University before earning her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a Fellow of the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and of the American Council of Learned Societies.
From 1973 to 1977, she was a curator of art before 1800 at Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum, co-editor of the museum’s Bulletin, and a lecturer in art history at Oberlin College. Watson has published numerous scholarly articles on Renaissance and Baroque sculpture.
From 1982 to 1986, Watson served as a member of the Accreditation Commission for the American Association of Museums and from 1985 to 1987 as gubernatorial appointee to the Maine Arts Commission. In 1990, she was elected to the Smithsonian Council, a 25-member panel of eminent scholars and scientists who guide the Smithsonian Institution in developing activities for the advancement of knowledge in science, history and the arts.