PHENOM’s Board is responsible for directing the operation of the organization and for implementing its policies between General Assembly Meetings.

[updated July 2018]

President Amy Blanchette is currently a staff member at Bristol Community College, where she serves as a PHENOM staff organizer. Amy graduated from BCC, where she served as the student representative on the search committee for the new BCC president in 2017 and was involved in many community and student groups.

Vice President James Cordero is a student studying English, Social Thought and Political Economy, and Education at UMass Amherst, and he is thrilled to be the Vice President of PHENOM's Board for this year. James is committed to treating people with empathy and compassion, and believes state policies regarding higher education and education justice should come from those values. He looks forward to creating a Debt Free Future and better world for all. 

Treasurer - Elizabeth Pellerito is a staff member in the Labor Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and PHENOM's faculty/staff organizer at UML.

Clerk - Mickey Prout is a student at Westfield State University and PHENOM's student organizer on campus. Mickey is a graduate of Springfield Technical Community College.

Communications Team Leader Vicki Dzindzichashvili is an administrator at Harvard University, where she has worked since 2015. Before working at Harvard, Vicki worked in student services at UMass Boston. Prior to working in higher education, she worked as a fundraiser for various political and charitable organizations, including Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Vicki earned her bachelor's degree in management from the College of Management at UMass Boston and is a member of PHENOM's UMass Boston Chapter.

Fundraising Team Leader - Gillian Mason is the co-executive director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, where she also organizes around higher ed issues and student debt. Prior to joining the JwJ staff, Gillian was active in the Massachusetts JwJ coalition as the coordinators of's Boston Council and the Jamaica Plain Forum, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. Before devoting herself full-time to organizing, Gillian was an adjunct professor of English, Women's Studies, and American literature and culture for ten years, teaching at Suffolk University, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University.

Legislative Team Leader - Ken Haar is a retired faculty member from Westfield State University.

Organizing Co-Team Leader - Erika Civitarese is a 2017 graduate of UMass Amherst where you could find her in the CEPA office everyday. While she organized many campaigns throughout her time, her heart is with the Student Labor Action Project where they won three campaigns in one day; the Peer Mentor undergraduate union, a fair contract for temporary dining hall workers, and university meal plan access to student businesses. Erika is also a Board Member of the United States Student Association. When not working on strategy, you can catch her on the radio on WMUA, listening to music, or at ur local basement show.

Organizing Co-Team Leader - Charlotte Kelly is the executive director of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

MTA Representative - Max Page is the Vice President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, a professor of architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, former president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors (the 1400-member union of faculty and librarians at UMass Amherst), and a founding member of PHENOM.



Zac Bears (Executive Director) | 978-227-8473 |

Zac Bears is PHENOM's Executive Director. He is also the secretary of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance and represents PHENOM on the executive board of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice. Zac served as PHENOM's interim organizing director from November 2016 to January 2017 and as a board member from July 2016 to January 2017. He graduated from UMass Amherst in 2015 with degrees in political science and economics, has worked as an economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and served as the digital communications director for AFSCME Council 93, one of the largest public employee unions in New England. At UMass, Zac helped to lead a campaign against tuition and fee hikes and supported student activists as the opinion editor of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.

Sydney Little (Organizing Director) |

Sydney Little is PHENOM’s Organizing Director. She graduated from Keene State College in May 2017 with a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Criminal Justice. From August 2015 to May 2017, Sydney was the Chapter Leader for Democracy Matters at Keene State, helping to build a sustainable chapter from the ground up. At the same time, she managed a staff of volunteers and student interns for NextGen Climate, a nationwide climate justice organization. Sydney also served as an Election Law and Organizing Intern for America Votes, a nationwide coordination hub for the progressive community, where she worked to defend voter’s rights in New Hampshire.