The MTRS, then known as the Teachers’ Retirement Association, was established as part of Chapter 832 of the Acts of 1913, signed on June 19, 1913. The legislation had a tumultuous history: in 1911, a bill asking for enactment of a teachers’ retirement system failed to pass the Legislature passed a resolve which asked the Board of Education to decide whether such a system would work. In response, the Board presented recommendations with Chapter 832, the bill that created the MTRB, effective July 1, 1914.
Over the past 105 years, the MTRS has seen economic depression and booms, two World Wars, and countless numbers of retirees and active members. The organization has had three names—Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement “Association,” “Board,” and, finally, “System” (though “Board” remains the term for the Board itself).
MTRS Executive Directors
Edmund S. Cogswell, Executive Secretary, 1914-1916
Cogswell managed a clerical staff of two and received a yearly stipend of $2,000 for his services.
Clayton L. Lent, Executive Secretary, 1916-1960
When he retired, the MTA wrote that Lent was known as “Mr. Retirement” to thousands of Massachusetts educators because of his long and distinguished career.
Joseph B. Carroll, Executive Secretary, 1960-1975
Mary Silva, Acting Executive Secretary, 1975-1977
For two years, the system ran solely on the diligence and hard work of its employees. Staff member Mary Silva, a TRB legend with over 40 years of retirement experience, served as Acting Secretary from 1975 to 1977.
Joel Goober, Executive Secretary, 1977-1979
Daniel Kelly, Executive Secretary, 1979-1984
Thomas Lussier, Executive Director, 1984-2003
Lussier changed the identity of the agency by expanding its mission: In addition to computing retirement benefits, the MTRB would now reach out to members to educate them on their rights and benefits.
Joan Schloss, Executive Director, 2003-2014
Erika M. Glaster, Executive Director, 2014-present
Chapter 832 of the Acts of 1913, which calls for the creation of the Teachers’ Retirement Association, is proposed. Though Governor Foss’s approval is unlikely (“Veto of School Teachers’ Retirement bill probable,” reports The Boston Globe), he signs the bill.
The Teachers’ Retirement Association opens its doors on July 1. The agency is housed at 616 Somerset Street, a few blocks from the State House.
George F. Wilson, teacher in the Beverly and Wakefield school districts, retires as the first Teachers’ Retirement System retiree.
Edmund S. Cogswell, the first Executive Secretary of The Teachers’ Retirement Association, retires. The Board appoints Clayton L. Lent, who holds the position for 44 years, the longest tenure of any Executive Secretary or Executive Director.
The Teachers’ Retirement Association moves a few doors down to 20 Somerset Street.
The agency moves again, this time to 100 Nashua Street, on a lot that now houses the Nashua Street Jail.
The State Legislature passes Chapter 658, which creates a uniform retirement law for all public employees.
The office moves to 88 Broad Street, near Rowes Wharf.
The membership of the Teachers’ Retirement System doubles between 1958 and 1970, but the Commonwealth’s budget does not keep pace. The system struggles in this period. Because of budgetary and staffing constraints, bookkeeping and retirement processing suffers.
Longtime MTRB staff member Mary Silva becomes Acting Secretary.
New Executive Director Joel Goober works with Teachers’ Retirement Board Chairman John Kearney to improve the system.
The MTRB begins to turn around. By the start of the decade, some member records are computerized, some retirement functions are automated, and statements are on time.
After several more moves, the MTRB settles at One Ashburton Place, where it stays until 1995.
Thomas Lussier becomes Executive Director. Lussier expands the MTRB’s mission to include education for members, a priority that remains in place today.
The MTRB opens its first Western Regional Office, in Chicopee.
Due to an economic downturn, the Board’s budget is slashed by 15.5%, and staff is reduced by 35%. Governor Dukakis proposes eliminating the MTRB by incorporating it with other agencies.
The MTRB’s main office moves to Canal Street.
Our Western Regional Office moves to Springfield.
“RetirementPlus,” which provides an enhanced benefit after 30 years of service—and increases the contribution rate to 11%—takes effect.
The State Treasurer and State Auditor joined our Board.
Joan Schloss becomes Executive Director and reaffirms the agency’s commitment to member education.
The MTRB moves to One Charles Park in East Cambridge, and changes its name to the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System.
MTRS membership surpasses the membership of the State Retirement System, and the MTRS becomes the largest of the Commonwealth’s then 105 retirement systems.
Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011, commonly known as “Pension Reform III,” is passed. Among many changes, the bill increases interest rates for certain types of service purchases, allows some retirees to receive credit for past maternity leaves, and, in order to ensure financial security of the system for future generations, creates a second Membership Tier that provides lesser benefits for new members.
The MTRS celebrates its 100th anniversary.
By a unanimous vote, the Board appoints Erika Glaster as the agency’s ninth Executive Director
The main office moves from Cambridge to Charlestown’s Hood Park, the former headquarters of New England dairy company H.P. Hood.
The MTRS proudly celebrates 105 years of service to Massachusetts educators—including our now more than 161,000 active, inactive and retired members and their beneficiaries! As part of our 105th anniversary celebration, we were honored to interview Mary Madden, a 105 year-old MTRS retiree.