Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board Appointed.

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board has been appointed and was sworn in on November 13, 2020 by Joe Maynard of the Governor’s Office via Zoom.

Newly appointed Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board members Jose Centeio, Brian Rothschild, Tim Walker, Melissa DeValles and Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes are sworn in. Captain Elizabeth Simmons, Wendy Pearl, Dagny Ashley and Jonathan Carvalho serve ex-officio.


“to advise the academy on matters that relate to the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey”

Section 182A.  There shall be a Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey advisory board that shall consist of the following members: the commissioner of conservation and recreation or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy or a designee; the executive director of the office of travel and tourism or a designee; the secretary of education or a designee; and 5 members appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a resident of the city of New Bedford, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. or its successor organization and 3 of whom shall have expertise relevant to the mission of the advisory board, expertise in Cape Verdean history as it relates to the Schooner-Ernestina-Morrissey or expertise in the history of the ship as the Effie M. Morrissey.

Dagny Ashley

Dagny Ashley - MOTT

Dagny Ashley is the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT)’s representative on the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board.  She has served on the Schooner Ernestina Commission since 2015.  A graduate of Lesley University, her career in tourism & marketing began at the Southeastern Massachusetts Convention & Visitors Bureau, then at MOTT.  In 2013 she became the Director of Tourism & Marketing for the City of New Bedford where she implemented a new tourism department.  She is currently the City of Quincy’s Director of Tourism.

Jonathan Carvalho

Jonathan Carvalho is the Executive Office of Education (EOE)’s representative on the Advisory Board. A New Bedford resident, he is the Public Information Officer for the City of New Bedford, and previously worked as the Community and Public Affairs Manager for the New Bedford Public Schools, and as a news reporter at The Standard-Times. He has served as the Executive Office of Education designee on the Schooner Ernestina Commission since 2016, at the recommendation of the late Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Jose Couto Centeio

Jose Couto Centeio - appointed by Governor Baker

Jose Couto Centeio was born in Fogo, Cabo Verde Islands.  He came to Boston in 1971. He graduated from Tufts University and Boston College Law School.  He has been practicing law in Boston since 1989.  His practice areas are residential and commercial closings, landlord and tenant laws, and civil litigation in state and federal courts.  He visited Ernestina-Morrissey whenever the vessel came to Boston.  He joined Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) in 2017.  He was elected the Chair of SEC in 2018.  He was appointed to the new Advisory Board appointed by Governor Baker in 2020.

Melissa DeValles

Melissa DeValles - SEMA, right, with MMA cadets at an Ernestina work day in 2012

Melissa DeValles is the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association’s representative on the Advisory Board appointed by Governor Baker. She was a member of Ernestina’s crew before attending and while she was a cadet at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She graduated as a Marine Engineer and has since worked in the energy industry for 17 years.  When she returned to the SouthCoast she joined the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association Board of Directors. She worked with Captain Thomas Bushy on the Academy’s first plans for stewardship of Ernestina-Morrissey. As SEMA’s designee, she was appointed to the Schooner Ernestina Commission in 2018.

Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes

Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes - appointed by Governor Baker

Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes was appointed by Governor Baker. She is the Curator of Social History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  A fourth-generation Cape Verdean American, de Barros Gomes learned of the significance of the Ernestina Morrissey through her work at the museum and from members in the community.  She continues to work to document the history and culture of Cape Verdean Americans.  In 2019, she installed a collaborative exhibition with Museu da Pesca in Tarrafal, São Nicolau, Cabo Verde which highlighted the enduring ties between Cabo Verde and the United States.

Wendy Pearl

Wendy Pearl - DCR

Wendy Pearl is the Director of the Office of Cultural Resources at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and serves as DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery’s designee. Over her 25 year+ career with the agency, Wendy has managed numerous historic preservation projects and developed interpretive and educational content around cultural resources across the Commonwealth.  Since 2015, Wendy has been the DCR Project Manager for the rehabilitation of the schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.

Captain Elizabeth Simmons

Captain Elizabeth Simmons - MMA

Captain Elizabeth Simmons, LP.D is the Vice President of External Affairs encompassing both the Enrollment Management and Advancement departments at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She is responsible for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of short- and long-range strategies, goals, and objectives for the Office of Enrollment while managing relationships with the Academy’s external stakeholders at the local, state, and federal level.

Dr. Brian Rothschild

Dr. Brian Rothschild - appointed by Governor Baker

Dr. Brian Rothschild was appointed by Governor Baker. He is a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Professor Emeritus, founding Dean of SMAST, and a New Bedford resident. He has served on the Schooner Ernestina Commission since 2011.  Dr. Rothschild brings a focus on Marine Science and Technology as well as New England Fisheries to the Advisory Board.  This appointment strengthens the commitment to Ernestina-Morrissey‘s educational mission and to her fishing history

Dr. Timothy Walker

Dr. Timothy Walker - appointed by Governor Baker

Dr. Timothy Walker was appointed by Governor Baker. He is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he serves on the Executive Board of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, and as graduate faculty for the doctoral program in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies and Theory.  He has taught maritime history aboard numerous traditionally-rigged sailing vessels, including the schooners Ernestina-Morrissey and Lettie G. Howard, the brig Niagara, and the ship “H.M.S.” Rose. In 2018 Walker was appointed a Guest Investigator of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, drawing historic climate data from archived whaling logbooks, Portuguese colonial, and other maritime documentation.