A Springfield native and member of the Springfield School Committee since 2009, Denise Hurst has brought new focus and commitment to promoting issues of equity and inclusiveness in educational opportunities, and was a driving force behind the Association’s recent Summits on Poverty. She has also been a highly effective leader and communicator, organizing the MASC Minority Caucus in 2016 for which she served two years as chair, prior to joining the MASC Executive Committee in January 2019 as Secretary-Treasurer.
Ms. Hurst has also attended and presented at numerous MASC workshops, including as a presenter at the Joint Conference on sessions on school breakfast programs and creating inclusive schools and as a moderator at the 2018 Poverty Summit. She has also attended multiple NSBA Annual Conferences where for several years she has represented MASC at the National Delegate Assembly. She has also been an active participant at NSBA’s Federal Relations/Advocacy Institute and the newly formed NSBA Equity Symposium. She has also served as a delegate to MASC’s annual meeting (2010-present) and as Secretary-Treasurer of Division V from 2014-2017.
On her school committee she has served in numerous capacities, including as the Committee’s vice chair; and as chair of the Curriculum & Programs, and Legislative & Contracts subcommittees, and as a member of the Budget & Finance, Vocational Education, Technology, and Parent Concerns committees.
Denise’s commitment to students and families throughout the Pioneer Valley extends well beyond her school committee service. Until recently, she served as the Holyoke Site Director for the Department of Mental Health and as an adjunct professor at Cambridge College. She is actively involved in a variety of community initiatives including the Springfield School Volunteers Read Aloud Program, the Puerto Rican/Latino Leadership Collective Council, the Children’s Museum at Holyoke, the United Way of Pioneer Valley Women’s Leadership Council, and as chair of Policy and Advocacy for Mother/Woman Inc. She also serves on various area boards including the MA Commission on the Status of Women, the Executive Board of Mass Women into Leadership and the Women’s Fund of Western Mass.
A graduate of Mass-Amherst with a B.A. In psychology, Denise also received an MSW from Springfield College and is an inaugural graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact. Her achievements and contributions to the Springfield and Pioneer Valley communities have been honored on numerous occasions including as 2013 MASC All-State School Committee member; BusinessWest’s 40 under Forty Class of 2014; and in 2015 was listed among 100 Women of Color in New England and Top 25 Women to Watch in Western Massachusetts by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
Denise and her husband Attorney Justin Hurst, who is a member of the Springfield City Council, are also actively engaged with their two extremely active young sons, Justin Jr. and Jackson Douglas.