Sally Laird Mernissi, a key player in the establishment of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, died Jan. 2. She was 55 and had cancer.
Ms. Mernissi was the vice president of external relations and corporate secretary for the organization based in Arlington, Va. During her 15 years with the board, she was its chief liaison with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, helping to ensure the financial support from Congress that allowed the privately organized board to build its system of voluntary national certification for outstanding teachers.
She also helped secure the federal money underwriting evaluations of nationally certified teachers and their effects on student achievement.
Before joining the organization, Ms. Mernissi served as the principal adviser to the U.S. Senate Democratic leadership for social-policy issues.