MTA President Paul Toner
Paul F. Toner, president of the 110,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association, is a strong voice for educators and a proud public school parent. Toner is dedicated to working on behalf of students at all levels and to representing the interests of teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty and staff.
Toner, a middle school social studies teacher, lawyer and former president of the Cambridge Teachers Association, was elected MTA president after serving for four years as the association’s vice president. He took office on July 15, 2010.
From 1993 to 2001, Toner taught social studies and reading to seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Harrington Elementary School in Cambridge. During his time there, he was responsible for a seventh-grade inclusion classroom and operated before-school and after-school homework programs. He also served as acting assistant principal and belonged to both the Extended Day Planning Committee and the Student Support Team.
In 2001, Toner was elected president of the Cambridge Teachers Association, a post he held for five years. As leader of the CTA, he represented 1,100 teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, clerks, and substitutes. He negotiated 12 contracts and handled more than 200 grievances. He was a strong advocate for members and worked with the administration to improve labor-management relations and focus on improving student achievement. During his time as CTA president, he collaborated with his members and the administration to develop an alternative high school program, a public Montessori School, two expanded learning time schools and a new educator evaluation system. He also worked to introduce Instructional Rounds into the professional culture and to redesign the high school schedule. Prior to becoming CTA president, Toner held the offices of vice president, secretary, and building representative. He has served for a number of years as a delegate to the MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates and the Representative Assembly of the National Education Association.
Toner was recently named a Teacher Leader Fellow by the Aspen Institute, and he has been appointed to the NEA Joint Committee on Leading the Profession by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. Toner served as chair of Mass Partners for Public Schools, a coalition of organizations representing superintendents, principals, teachers’ unions, and parents, and is active in the Teacher Union Reform Network, a national group that has sought to develop and share teacher-led school improvement practices at the local level. He is a member of the Massachusetts 2020 Expanded Learning Time Advisory Board. He served on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Educator Evaluation Task Force, Task Force on 21st Century Skills, and Task Force on Closing the Proficiency Gap. He also was a participant in Governor Deval Patrick’s Readiness Project. Toner was a commissioner on the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. He is an appointed member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Digital Learning Advisory Council. He was recently appointed by Governor Patrick to serve on the Education Commission of the States. He is a labor delegate to the Democratic State Committee and a member of the DSC Executive Committee.
Toner graduated from Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. He also holds a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. While teaching full time, Toner earned his juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School at night. During law school, he completed internships with the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee in Alexandria, Virginia.
He lives in Cambridge with his wife, Susan, and their two children, Grace and Jack.