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In the news: Sharon Scott-Chandler

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In the news: Sharon Scott-Chandler
Sharon Scott-Chandler COURTESY PHOTO

The Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Board of Directors has named long-time Executive Vice President/COO, Sharon Scott-Chandler, Esq., president and CEO of the largest social services agency in New England. Scott-Chandler succeeds John J. Drew, who retired on June 30, 2022 after 51 years with the antipoverty agency, as president and CEO.

With the passing of legendary ABCD President/CEO, Robert Coard in 2009, Scott-Chandler’s promotion to executive vice president and her later promotion to COO sparked a period of significant organizational growth, in which she was instrumental, including the expansion of the Head Start and Early Head Start services, workforce development, housing and other signature programs to where the organization’s annual budget now exceeds $200 million.

Scott-Chandler acknowledges the notable and longstanding ABCD leadership that preceded her: “I am both humbled and inspired by the faith that the ABCD board of directors has shown in passing the torch to me,” Scott-Chandler said. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Bob Coard and to have worked so closely with John Drew for the last 13 years. We evolved and innovated our way through years of economic crises, social and political upheaval, and a global pandemic that devastated the communities we serve.”

Scott-Chandler joined the pioneering community action agency in 1999 as the director of its early education and care resource and referral program, Child Care Choices of Boston. She went on to become vice president of ABCD Head Start & Children’s Services, during which ime she was appointed chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care, before moving to the executive office.  Prior to ABCD, she was a Massachusetts assistant attorney general.

“ABCD has a long history of fighting inequities,” she said. “Uncommon determination, resilience, and innovation are in our DNA. Daunting challenges are nothing new, and we could not be better prepared to respond when called, develop inventive programming that equips and empowers, and help individuals and families lead better lives. Despite the disruptive change we’ve all experienced during the last two years, I see a great deal of opportunity to build on the incredible foundation and mission of this organization.”

Scott-Chandler is launching her new role with a series of conversations with board members, visits to ABCD’s many neighborhood centers and 31 Head Start early education centers, and outreach to stakeholders in the community. She is intent on gathering thoughts on the existing challenges, and importantly, hearing insights that will inform how the organization and its programs and services can be most responsive and effective in this new era. 

Born and raised in Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood, Scott-Chandler participated in the METCO program throughout her K-12 schooling.  She has a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a political science degree from Tufts University. She began her career in the political arena first as staff to the Dukakis for President Campaign, and then as a legislative aide to U.S. Congressman Sidney Yates in Washington DC.  After law school, Scott-Chandler joined the Boston law firm of (then) Morrison, Mahoney and Miller before moving on to serve as assistant attorney general under then-Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

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