GLSEN Massachusetts Board of Directors
GLSEN MA would not be what it is today without the great team of board members who contribute day in and day out.
Jason Wheeler has been professionally committed to inclusion, youth development and leadership for the past 25 years. His experience was catalyzed by his extensive involvement in National Service programs focused on issues related to education, inclusion and social justice. His areas of expertise include staff development, coaching, competency assessment and achievement strategies, e-learning, curriculum development and strategic planning. As a independent consultant, Jason provides national training and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations on issues related to the meaningful inclusion of all individuals, including people with disabilities and LGBTQ youth. Jason is a graduate trainee of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at the Institute for Community Inclusion/Children's Hospital Boston. Jason is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Massachusetts and the Spring Conference coordintor.
Hillary is the Assistant Director of the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst, an instructor for EDUC 210: Diversity in Education, and a Doctoral student in the Social Justice Education Program at UMass Amherst. Hillary has her M.Ed. from UMass Amherst and her B.A. from the University of Colorado Boulder. Hillary has done research on the campus climate for transgender college students in Colorado; a study resulting in extensive critiques of the It Gets Better Project; research about how queer-identified, woman-identified people embody their fatness; and is currently pursuing a project on how gender (both sexism and transgender oppression) are taught as a part of social justice curricula, with a particular focus on the intentional pedagogical and curricular choices made when the topic of gender oppression is co-taught by Black men and white women. As a loud and proud femme, Hillary has presented at local, statewide, and national conferences on body and fat positivity; misogyny in queer communities; oppression and privilege; and, race and racism in queer communities. Hillary is the Western Massachusetts Director and the Fall Conference Coordinator for GLSEN MA.
Jeff has been teaching Social Studies at Ipswich High School for the past eleven years. Jeff teaches U.S. History, American Government, Criminology Forensic Science, and Facing History and Ourselves. Prior to entering the education field, Jeff worked in the corporate world. Jeff was a Senior Client Manager with CIGNA HealthCare and Vice President of Employee Benefits with Willis, the world’s oldest insurance broker. Jeff has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Tulane University, a Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and a Masters of Education from Northeastern University. Jeff is the Treasurer and Educator Retreat Coordinator.
Skailer Rei Qvstgaard
Skailer Rei Qvistgaard is 19 years old and originally from Northern California. He is a second year student and junior at Boston University studying English with a focus on Queer Literature, and is applying to law school in the fall of 2014. Skailer self identifies as a gay transgender man and has been working extensively with the LGBT community since his senior year of high school. He focuses on improving school climates and creating a positive dialogue in the classroom about LGBT issues. Skailer also does work within the mental health community, speaking about how to properly address the needs of transgender patients. While working with Greater Boston PFLAG, the Safe Schools Program, Fenway Health, and the MA GSA network, he also publishes work through the Queer Foundation and runs a bimonthly blog called “Trans Today” on LGBT issues.
Christine Lang is passionate about diversity and inclusion. Her commitment to promote acceptance of personal differences led her to earn a B.A. in Psychology from Clark University and a Masters of Divinity with a Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion. She has written and edited material for national non-profits like Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Gender Spectrum. Christine has also promoted diversity and inclusion by developing and delivering trainings in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She currently works at Youth Villages as a Day Counselor at their residential school in Arlington, MA.
Daniel Oliver Vasquez is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying Social Thought and Political Economy. He has a passion for social justice and adventure, therefore concentrating his studies on the intersection between queer youth and geek culture. Working for the Stonewall Center for over three years in Amherst, he has facilitated a multitude of workshops and trainings, coordinated events, and has been the young tech head of the organization. Daniel is the Social Media Expert and Website Coordinator of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Massachusetts.
Ryan Ambuter is an out transgender, queer high school English teacher who believes in teaching and leading with authenticity. Ryan has worked over the past 10 years to create rigorous, empowering curricula that are culturally relevant and rooted in social justice. For the past 15 years, Ryan has led workshops on transgender identity and supporting transgender youth in schools for students and faculty at high schools, colleges, and at regional LGBTQ conferences. As a GLSEN board member, Ryan is invested in building mentoring networks for LGBTQ educators and examining the intersections of LGBTQ topics with other social justice issues. Ryan has an M.Ed in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA from Smith College.
Peggy Quilty RN, MSN , has been a school nurse for 25+ years where she has learned about the issues facing LGBTQ youth in schools, including the increased risk for suicide . She is a graduate of the Simmons Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Master’s program. Peggy is committed to helping schools create a safe, healthy and supportive environment for all students regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, starting in the school nurse’s office. She presents at school nurse conferences and other professional organizations about what she has learned from her students about how to foster a school environment that is safe and free of discrimination for all students. Peggy is the Director of Health and Wellness at Beacon High School in Watertown, where she is also Health teacher, Yoga instructor and GSA co-facilitator. As a Health teacher, her students have helped her to expand her curriculum to include gender identity and gender expression and to be more inclusive of health and safety issues for LGBTQ youth. As a Health practitioner, she hopes to help students become comfortable with themselves and find ways to talk openly with their Primary Care Providers about their own gender identity and sexual orientation while becoming their own best health advocate.
Paul Poteat - Research Advisor
Paul Poteat is a professor in the Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College. His research examines bias-based bullying, factors that predict this behavior, how peers influence engagement in it, and patterns of change over time. His work also examines the components of Gay-Straight Alliances that promote resilience among GSA members and how GSAs foster welcoming schools. He has partnered with schools across Massachusetts and other states, and his work has been used to inform school-based anti-bullying policies.