Co-founded in 2014 by John Connolly and Ann Walsh, 1647 utilizes training teams of parents who work directly with educators.  Our facilitators bring their experiences as parents in an array of district, charter, parochial, and independent schools to their work, ensuring an authentic professional development session that is grounded in the realities of today’s classrooms.

Dia Bryant

Tyree Burch-Simon

John R. Connolly is the Co-Founder and leads the Board of Directors at 1647.  John is responsible for implementing 1647’s strategic vision.  Prior to co-founding 1647, John served as a Boston City Councilor At-Large from 2008-2014.  As a city councilor, John spent four years as Chair of the Committee on Education and oversaw the annual review of the Boston Public Schools’ budget.  As Chair, John focused his work on empowering family and parent voice to impact decision-making at the Boston Public Schools.  John held first-of-its-kind hearings to get parent and family testimony on school quality.  He conducted forty multi-lingual listening sessions with families from every neighborhood in Boston and led efforts to extend Boston’s school day, increase programming for English language learning students, and fully staff social and emotional support services in Boston schools.  In 2010, John exposed the serving of expired food to Boston school children, which led to reform of the Boston Public Schools’ food services department.

From 1995-1998, John was a middle school teacher at the Nativity Mission School, which served low income Latino boys living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and then at the Boston Renaissance Charter School, where he also coached the school’s first girls' basketball team.  From 2001 - 2007, John worked as an attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP and Hanify & King P.C.

John serves on the boards of FUEL Education, a Boston based non-profit focused on helping families in poverty save for college, and the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington D.C.-based think tank focused on research and advocacy related to teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. John and Meg Kassakian Connolly live in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston where they are raising their three children.

Beliza Moriarty is a training facilitator for 1647. Parent of three Boston Public School students and one 2017 graduate. Beliza has over twelve years of experience as a parent in the Boston Public School system. She has navigated the intricacies of securing placement and services for a child with an IEP, and the challenges of maintaining involvement across multiple schools to support each of her children. As is often the case for a family educating children in an urban setting, Beliza's three eldest children, collectively, attended eight different Boston Public Schools in twelve years. In addition to participating on school Parent Councils and Boston SpedPac, Beliza is a parent member of the board of Fenway High School, served on the board of the Haley School, and served on the board of Community Boat Building. 

Dawn Portanova

Glennys Sánchez is a training facilitator and research specialist for 1647. Glennys has devoted her professional career and personal journey to integrating the voices and participation of historically marginalized communities in areas ranging from nonprofit leadership, to access to higher education, to community engagement research.  Glennys parents three school-aged children in her adopted home of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Glennys received her Associate in Science Business Transfer from Northern Essex Community College, her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Massachusetts, and her Master of Education in Community Engagement from Merrimack College. Among other community service roles, she has served as an Advisory Council Member for Groundwork Lawrence, a Board Member of the Bread and Roses Heritage Committee, and is a co-founder of For Colored Girls Project.

Christine Vulopas

Ann M. Walsh is the Co- Founder and Chief of Family Engagement at 1647, responsible for establishing and overseeing school partnerships.  Before the launch of 1647, Ann was Chief of Staff to former Boston City Councilor John Connolly during his time as Chair of the Education Committee.  She served as a liaison for families in Boston, organizing community gatherings and City Council hearings to address their concerns including student assignment and transportation, ELL and Special Education services, and Social-Emotional and Mental Health services.

Prior to her time at City Hall, Ann had twenty years of experience in education and youth development at various organizations on the East Coast. She worked with children ages 7-17 and their families and teachers through classroom-based and enrichment programs. She has also provided independent consulting to various education organizations in Boston, including Countdown to Kindergarten, the Mayor’s Office, the Boston Teacher Residency, and district and charter schools engaged in projects with the Boston Compact initiative.

Ann earned an undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from Quinnipiac University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Ann served as chair of the governing board of the Lee Academy Pilot School, a Boston Public School in Dorchester, where she lives with her husband, Jonathan Ablett, their two daughters, and Scout the dog.


1647 provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In addition to federal law requirements, 1647 complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.