The Public Schools of Brookline
School Committee Meeting of Thursday, June
Andrew J. Bott
Superintendent of Schools
Driscoll School Interim Principal
June 6, I had the pleasure of announcing the appointment of Dr. Suzie Talukdar
as Interim Principal of Driscoll School for the 2017-2018 school year. Dr.
Talukdar has been an integral member of Brookline’s administrative team for 11
years as the K-12 Director of the METCO program, and I am confident that the
Driscoll School will benefit greatly from her skills and experience during the
upcoming school year.
officially introduced Dr. Talukdar to Driscoll parents and guardians on
Wednesday, June 14, at a morning coffee in the school theatre. My letter to the
Driscoll community announcing her appointment is attached to this report.
Talukdar’s appointment to the Driscoll Interim Principal position created an
interim opening in the position of METCO Director. I am pleased to report that
Dr. Keith Lezama will be in the Interim Director of the K-12 METCO program for
the 2017-2018 school year. My letter to Brookline’s METCO families announcing
Dr. Lezama’s appointment is also attached to this report.
Brookline High School Graduation and Scholarship Breakfast
had the privilege of participating in my first graduation ceremony at Brookline
High School on Sunday, June 4. My vantage point on the stage – looking out on a
sea of optimistic faces of the class of 2017 – was remarkable. As always, the
administrative team at Brookline High School worked tirelessly to ensure that
the day proceeded without a hitch. It truly was an amazing day for the
graduates and their families.
would like to especially thank Sam Kennedy, 1991 graduate of the High School
and President of the Boston Red Sox, who was the keynote speaker. His remarks
to the graduates were genuine and hopeful. In addition to offering his wisdom
and advice, he also presented each of the graduates with two tickets to a Red
Sox game. The graduates were ecstatic, and attended last Sunday’s game against
the Detroit Tigers.
also attended the annual Scholarship Breakfast on Sunday morning. Grateful
scholarship recipients and, in many cases, the families and sponsors of the
individual scholarships, enjoyed a sunny morning in the BHS quad. Under the capable
guidance of Scott Butchart, BHS Dean and Scholarship Chair, and Linda Wentzell,
BHS Registrar and Scholarship Coordinator, the high school awarded over
$280,000 in scholarship funds to worthy and appreciative seniors.
Additionally, the recipients of the two Boston University full
scholarships and the two Northeastern University half scholarships were
announced at the breakfast.
From Brookline to Broadway: An Evening with Hamilton
Cast Member Nik Walker
Kennedy was not the only famous BHS alum to visit the campus recently. An
overflow crowd greeted Brookline High School alumnus Nik Walker (Class of 2006)
on Monday, June 12 in the Roberts/Dubbs Auditorium. Nik is a current Hamilton cast
member; he returned to Brookline to share his stories and insights about life
in the arts. This is how Nik described the value of his performing arts
experiences at Brookline High School:
begin to tell you how deeply each of the Brookline Performing Arts Departments
shaped my drive, my artistic comprehension and style; they taught me the
importance of finding my own voice, instead of chasing others’, of working
within the community to serve the community. Every play or concert I did here
was a free master class in critical thinking and expression, and each teacher
left their indelible mark on me in ways I am still discovering today.
praise, indeed! Nik’s comments are a well-deserved acknowledgement of the
dedication and professionalism that our Performing Arts educators pour into
their work with students year-in and year-out.
Announcement from Dr. Asa Sevelius
Wednesday, June 7, Dr. Asa Sevelius, principal of Heath School, announced to
the Heath School community that he is transgender. Following his announcement, Dr.
Sevelius received tremendous support from Heath educators, educators across
Brookline, and well beyond. As I said in
my letter to the Heath community on June 7, “The Public Schools of Brookline is
and will remain a community that supports and embraces everyone. This has been our long standing core value; a
value that we are more resolute than ever to uphold and celebrate.” My complete letter to the Heath community is
attached to this report.
Honors for Laura Richardson, First Grade Teacher at Baker
I had the opportunity to attend a reception in the Great Hall of the
Massachusetts State House honoring, among others, Baker School first grade
teacher Laura Richardson. Ms. Richardson was a finalist for the 2016 Presidential
Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The ceremony, hosted
by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester,
celebrated the achievements of 14 educators from across the Commonwealth. It
was a privilege to attend to support Laura and celebrate the skills and
dedication that she brings to her classroom.
Pierce School 5th Grader Chosen as Brookline Police
Chief for a Day
a very competitive essay contact, Pierce School 5th
grader Graham Horowitz, from Ms. Woogmaster’s class, was chosen as Brookline
Police Chief for a Day. The essay prompt was, “If you were Police Chief, what
would you do to make Brookline safer?” Graham’s essay was
chosen from over 80 entries. On June 8, Graham joined police officials for a
full morning of duties, capped off by a luncheon with police and town
officials. I was honored to attend the luncheon to congratulate Graham in
person on his exciting achievement.
Steps to Success Recognition Ceremony
June 6, BHS Headmaster Anthony Meyer and I participated in the annual Steps to
Success Recognition Ceremony at the Teen Center. This event recognizes students
at each grade level of Steps, with a special recognition for high school
seniors. It was my pleasure to offer congratulations and best wishes to the
annual Steps to Success Hats Off Award recognizes someone who has gone
above and beyond on behalf of Steps and its students. This year, the Hats
Off Award was presented to Kara Lopez, guidance counselor in the BHS
Alternative Choices in Education (ACE) program. According to Steps, “Kara
worked tirelessly with her students to help them achieve their high school and
post-secondary goals. We are thrilled to have Kara working on behalf of
educational equity for all of our students.” Congratulations, Kara!
Brookline Community Mental Health Center: Shine Bright
Brookline Community Mental Health Center held their annual fundraiser at the
Larz Anderson Auto Museum on the evening of June 7. I joined School Committee
members Helen Charlupski and Barbara Scotto at this festive community celebration
that also served to celebrate the leadership of Dr. Cindy Price, who is
retiring as Executive Director of the Brookline Center after 38 years of
service. The Public Schools of Brookline is fortunate to be able to partner
with the Brookline Center to bring mental health services to our students in
Brookline Education Foundation Board Meeting
Superintendent Nicole Gittens and I attended the Brookline Education
Foundation’s year-end board meeting on the evening of Monday, June 12, hosted
at the home of Jennifer Nadelson. It was a casual evening to reflect on the
achievements of the past year while looking ahead to the exciting plans that
are part of our continued successful partnership next year.
is through the incredible efforts of all Brookline Education Foundation
volunteers that the BEF is able to provide such significant and impactful grants
to educators throughout Brookline. I
would like to especially thank Ian Roffman, President of the Board, who has so
capably led the BEF for the past two years, and welcome incoming BEF President,
Devotion School Volunteer Breakfast
morning I stopped by the annual Devotion School volunteer breakfast, hosted at
the home of PTO co-president Charla Whitley. As you know, Brookline is
fortunate to have scores of committed parent volunteers who partner with us to
make our schools the vibrant educational communities that they are. The
enthusiastic and passionate efforts of PTO volunteers across the district play
a key role in bringing our school buildings to life. It was a pleasure to
attend the Devotion volunteer breakfast today.