40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Angela Mass

Mathematics Teacher, Student Council Advisor, Greenfield Public Schools; Age 38

Angela Mass

Angela Mass

In her own words, Angela Mass “bleeds green.”

“I grew up in Greenfield, I went to college, I graduated, and I came right back,” she said proudly.

Mass, a teacher and student council advisor with Greenfield Public Schools, has spent the last 17 years passing that hometown pride on to her students, along with plenty of knowledge in a wide range of subjects. She primarily teaches math, but Mass has also taken on psychology and social justice teaching duties, putting her college minor to use and discovering a passion in “teaching students how to be good humans.”

There’s a big crossover for Mass between her social justice class and her student council members as well, both of whom benefit from statewide exposure to community-service opportunities through her roles as executive director for the Western Mass. Assoc. of Student Councils and member of the state board of the Mass. Assoc. of Student Councils.

“We expose them to community service in a classroom setting, so students can learn to appreciate and understand its importance,” she said, noting that this has included partnering with nonprofit organizations such as Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to think outside of the Greenfield bubble.”

Mass has helped burst that bubble for others outside of Greenfield too, putting the town on the map in an unlikely way — as host of a state-level unified bocce tournament.

“To see that happen — the partnering with athletes, the kids from all over Massachusetts who’d never ventured out here before, and so many people coming out to be fans … because of all of that, this is one project I’m most proud of,” she said.

It’s the all-are-welcome nature of bocce that helps create a strong feeling of community, she added, noting that she finds her own tribe in a similar place, as an avid Zumba practitioner.

“It lets me dance myself happy, it’s high-energy, and if you’re not following just the right steps, no one cares,” she said.

And while the entire Commonwealth has a place in Mass’ heart — it’s her last name, after all, and her children, Chelsea, Aquinnah, and Auburn, share their names with places in the Bay State — when it comes to Greenfield, there’s no place she’d rather be.

— Jaclyn Stevenson

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

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