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Superintendent's News

Superintendent's News

Pilot Parent and Staff Survey

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 20:04

 As part of our commitment to delivering an extraordinary education for every child, the Public Schools of Brookline will begin, this winter, to collect standard feedback surveys from all parents, guardians, and staff in the district.  Please see my letter regarding the piloting of these surveys in October, 2014.


Devotion School Education Plan

Sunday, 21 September 2014 17:49

We are very pleased to make public the Edward Devotion School Education Plan and Appendices, which were submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) as part of our ongoing efforts to renovate and expand this PK-8 school.  This plan details our goal to ensure that this building program is focused on the educational needs of our students and their teachers.  The document will be one of the key aspects of our continuing discussion with MSBA officials as we move toward next steps in this upcoming project.


School Committee Opts for MCAS in 2015

Sunday, 21 September 2014 17:28

On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the Brookline School Committee voted 8-0 to accept my recommendation for Brookline to stay with MCAS for 2015.  See my letter to parents outlining the reasoning for this final recommendation here.


Superintendent Report for Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, 21 September 2014 17:15

My report to the School Committee for Thursday, September 18, 2014 can be accessed here.  This report includes detailed information on our enrollments, as well as recognition of our National Merit Semifinalists.  

The following supporting documents can also be downloaded as follows:  PSB Overall Enrollment, FY2015 Class Size, Kindergarten Buffer Zone Assignments, Materials Fee Program Enrollments, METCO Enrollments, and Summer Professional Development.


Superintendent Report for Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sunday, 21 September 2014 17:07

My report to the School Committee for Thursday, September 4, 2014 is available here.  This report details new administrative hires, a report on our school opening activities, preliminary information on enrollments, and my final recommendation on PARCC testing for 2015.


Devotion School Vice Principal

Saturday, 13 September 2014 21:59

We are excited to announce that Jennifer Buller has joined the staff of the Devotion School as the new Vice Principal, replacing Lacey Becotte who has accepted a position as an Elementary Principal in Peabody.  Since 2006, Jen served as a 1st through 4th grade classroom teacher and a co-teacher in an inclusion classroom at the Heath School.  She has been a member of the Child Study Team, the School Council, the Technology Leadership team and the town wide Social Studies Curriculum Review and Revision Committee.

In 2008 Jen was a co-recipient of the Charlie Baker Legacy Award.  Jen has also worked as a teaching artist and program developer for the Wheelock Family Theater, a program interpreter and overnight teacher at the Boston Children’s Museum, and a kindergarten teacher in Wilton, Connecticut.

Jen holds degrees from Simmons College; a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Early Education, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership. 


Vice Principal - Pierce School

Sunday, 22 June 2014 11:43

We are delighted that Dan Green has been named Vice Principal at Pierce School.  For the past seven years, Dan has been a valued member of the Brookline High School (BHS) Social Studies department.  He has participated in numerous activities at BHS and throughout the district, including serving as a member of the Teaching and Learning Council and as an Advisor for the Model UN Club.  Additionally, Dan is co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Brookline Cambodia Partnership and a Program Leader and founder of the Global Leadership Academy.

Prior to joining the Public Schools of Brookline, Mr. Green taught middle grades Social Studies in both California and Connecticut.  During his three-year tenure at Goleta Valley Junior High School, California, he was instrumental in the development of a school-wide house program, which addressed the challenges of the large class sizes, gang issues and achievement gaps. The success of this program was chronicled in “Welcome to the House System” published in Educational Leadership (2006).

During the 2011-2012 school year, Dan completed an Administrative Internship at Runkle School, with a particular focus on the middle school level.  Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Brandeis University and a Master of Education in Teacher Education from Harvard University.

Congratulations to Dan on his new position at Pierce School.


Early Education Program Coordinator

Sunday, 22 June 2014 11:41

We are pleased that Regina Watts has been named Early Childhood Program Coordinator, replacing Pat Vonnegut who will be retiring at the conclusion of this school year.

Since 1989, Regina has served as a school psychologist and most recently a special education team facilitator in the Public Schools of Brookline.  Specifically, she has served in a leadership role with the early education intake team and has taken on the responsibility for staff training.  More importantly, she brings her depth of knowledge and breadth of experience in the early education program, as well as strong administrative and supervisory skills, to this important role.

For the past ten years, Dr. Watts has served as an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern University, where she teaches and supervises school psychology interns.  She has numerous publications and has presented a number of times at the National Association of School Psychologists’ (NASP) Annual Conference.   In 2012, the NASP presented Regina with the Massachusetts School Psychologist of the Year Award. 

Regina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Iona College and both a Master of Science Degree and a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to Regina on her new position in Brookline.


Coordinator of School Health Services

Sunday, 22 June 2014 11:39

We are delighted to announce that Tricia Laham has been named Coordinator of School Health Services, replacing Kate Donnelly who is retiring at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year. Tricia, a nationally certified school nurse, has served as school nurse at Baker School since 1999.

Ms. Laham has developed strong collaborative relationships with her Baker School colleagues and district-wide nurse colleagues.  She currently serves as the co-chair of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program team at Baker.  Tricia also teaches First Aid and CPR/AED to First Response Team members.  Prior to her work in the Public Schools Brookline she was a staff nurse at Beth Israel Hospital.

Tricia holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Niagara University and a Master of Education in School Nursing from Cambridge College.  We are thrilled that Tricia will continue to serve The Public Schools of Brookline in this new role.


Interim Devotion School Principal

Sunday, 22 June 2014 11:38

I am so pleased to announce that Joseph Connelly will serve as Interim Principal of the Devotion School during the 2014-2015 school year.

Dr. Connelly knows Brookline well.  He served as Interim Principal of the Runkle School from March 2009 to June 2010.  During this critical transition, Joe managed and provided oversight of the successful relocation of the school population, while maintaining a cohesive and nurturing school culture for students, staff and parents that continued to focus on high expectations for teaching and learning.  His strong leadership was also critical in the planning and design phase(s) for the Runkle School building project.

Joe has a wealth of experience in education, spanning over 40 years as a Teacher, Elementary Principal, Middle School Principal, and Superintendent.  Prior to retirement, Dr. Connelly served as the Superintendent of Schools in Stoneham and Tri-Town School Union (Topsfield, Boxford, and Middleton) for over 20 years.  Since his retirement, he has served in other communities as an Interim Principal, Interim Superintendent, an Acting Business Manager and an Interim Town Administrator.

Dr. Connelly is a highly regarded educator in Massachusetts and we are thrilled that he has agreed to come back to Brookline to serve the Devotion community.

I also want to thank David O’Hara, Lacey Becotte and the entire Devotion staff for their outstanding work on behalf of our students and the school during this time of transition.  Their efforts have been extraordinary and are very much appreciated.



Thursday, 19 June 2014 07:50

On June 3, 2014, I provided our School Committee with a revised recommendation for The Public Schools in Brookline to administer PARCC assessments in grades 3-8 for the 2014-2015 school year.  The timing of this recommendation was to ensure that Brookline would be guaranteed participation in the PARCC cohort group, which requires that a decision be sent to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by Monday, June 30, 2014.  Districts must submit their decision by October 1st, although systems that delay making a determination beyond June 30th risk the possibility of not being part of the PARCC cohort.

Last evening I wrote to School Committee members to ask that they delay a decision on PARCC v. MCAS for students in grades 3-8 until September.  I expect that they will agree to this delay at their meeting this evening (Thursday, June 19, 2014).

Although there are many issues still in play with respect to this decision, there are two (2) major reasons for my request.  First, I am not yet convinced that appropriate accommodations will be in place in PARCC for 2014-2015 for those students requiring them as part of their IEPs.  I believe that we could have additional information during the next three (3) months that would allow us to make a more informed decision regarding PARCC's ability to meet the testing needs of all Brookline students.  

Second, my recommendation was based on an assumption that Massachusetts will migrate to either PARCC or another new "next generation" assessment for 2015-2016.  While this is probably still true, it is also clear that the Common Core and the associated testing programs are being challenged in many places across the country, as well as in the Commonwealth.  Again, I believe that a delay in our decision-making process could provide important political information that could be helpful in School Committee deliberations.

Overall, I believe that this decision making process would benefit from additional information in these and other areas that could be available prior to October 1st.  


Superintendent Report for Thursday, June 5, 2014

Saturday, 07 June 2014 19:42

Click here to access the Superintendent's Report to the School Committee for Thursday, June 5, 2014.  This report includes updated information on kindergarten enrollment for 2014-2015, the hiring of three new administrators, the accomplishments of our Brookline High School student athletes, and a number of other important updates.


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