Michael K. Thomas is the President and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) in Boston, Massachusetts, a regional organization working with the 260 colleges and universities in the six New England states. NEBHE works to expand education opportunity and services and to address issues related to New England’s human capital and economic competitiveness.
Dr. Thomas directs NEBHE’s policy, research, publishing, programmatic and fund raising activities. These focus on promoting innovative K-12, post secondary and life-long learning policies and on expanding collaboration among leaders of business, government and education. He works extensively in state political and higher education environments with governors, state legislators, K-12 commissioners, state higher education executives (SHEEO’s) and with business leaders to expand college readiness, access and success. He also oversees NEBHE’s collaborative cost-saving programs, including the Regional Student Program’s “Tuition Break.”
Thomas joined NEBHE in 2002 as Director of Policy and Research. He subsequently served as Senior Director and Senior Vice President. In the latter roles, he oversaw the development and implementation of NEBHE’s “College Ready New England” initiative, collaborating with senior leaders of government, business and education (K-12 and post secondary) in the six New England states to promote policy strategies and best practices to expand college readiness and success.
Thomas has worked in corporate training and human resources and held varied administrative positions in higher education institutions, both public and private. He served as a Policy Aid in the University of Massachusetts President’s Office and subsequently as Coordinator of Institutional Research and as Executive Assistant to the President at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University and master’s degrees in higher education from Teachers College, Columbia University and Harvard University. He earned a doctorate in education and social policy from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Boston University.
He has held several university faculty appointments, currently teaching at Harvard University in the Continuing Education Division’s Graduate Management Program. He is a trustee of New England College and served as trustee and vice chair of the board of Worcester State University.
Thomas frequently lectures and speaks on issues related to K-12 and post secondary education policy, regional and global competitiveness, the internationalization of higher education, college readiness and the economic impact of higher education.
He is married to the former Jennifer Midgley Walker and they are the parents of four sons.