Gov. Charlie Baker has named education activist Chris Gabrieli to serve as chairman of the Board of Higher Education.

Gabrieli is well known in education circles in Massachusetts. He's co-founded three nonprofit focused on education issues and is a lecturer at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.

Gabrieli also ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006, losing to Deval Patrick after spending about $10 million in personal funds. He spent about $5 million on an unsuccessful 1998 bid for Congress.

Baker also appointed Sheila Harrity to the same board Tuesday.

Harrity is superintendent of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District and a former Worcester Technical High School principal.

She was named the 2013 Massachusetts Principal of the Year.

Gabrieli and Harrity replace board members Charles Desmond and Keith Peden.