Michelle Cresta Will Joins MERSD as New Director of Finance and Operations


Manchester Essex Regional School District announced that it has hired Michelle Cresta as the district’s new director of finance and operations.  She will officially begin in her position on March 25.

Cresta was introduced to the ME Regional School Committee earlier this month, where the board voted unanimously to approve her hiring.  Currently, she works for the Marblehead Public Schools, where she is assistant superintendent of finance and operations.

Cresta steps into the shoes of Avi Urbas, who left the district in December for the private sector after heading up district financing for 20 years.  During this time, he helped stabilize and navigate big financial challenges in budgeting. 

Cresta seems right to step into those shoes.  She brings 18 years of municipal and school district financial experience to Manchester Essex—including at Triton School District and at the Chelmsford and Stoneham Public Schools—and eight years of experience in the private sector.

“Michelle is a highly respected and valued business official with extensive experience in school, municipal, and board finance,” said MERSD Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin.  “She will bring to MERSD a demonstrated understanding of regional school finance and governance, expertise in accounting and financial crisis management, and first-hand experience with MSBA building projects as well as strong communication skills and collaborative style.”

Cresta holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from Merrimack College.  She also holds statewide certifications in accounting and school business administration.

“I am returning to my roots in regional school finance, joining one of the Commonwealth’s top regional school districts where I will be leading finance and operations,” Cresta said earlier this month when she announced she was leaving Marblehead, the district she’s served since 2019. “This new role will allow me to best utilize my experience and talents, while providing me the important work-life balance that is important in this position.”

Cresta is active in her community of Middleton, where she has served on the town’s Finance Committee since 2007.

“I cannot wait to get to know the students, staff, families, and communities that make Manchester Essex one of the state’s best regional school districts,” Cresta said.

When she begins her position in March, Cresta will develop an entry plan to transition to her new role that will be shared with the school community.  Then, she will meet with groups in the spring and summer to ensure all stakeholders can provide feedback.