Honoring Alicia Hsu

MCAS ELA Testing Continues This Week

  • Monday, March 30 & Tuesday, March 31: Gr. 6 & 8 ELA
  • Thursday, April 2:  Gr. 4 & 7:  ELA (Long Composition)

Honoring Alicia Hsu

Alicia Hsu, a much loved and admired third grade teacher, has announced her retirement at the end of this school year after 28 years as a member of the faculty at Lawrence School and 31 years of service to the Public Schools of Brookline.  Alicia was first hired as a Chinese bilingual teacher in 1984 when, as she describes it, her only credentials were an undergraduate degree in Asian American Studies from Tufts and some knowledge of Chinese language as a second generation Chinese American.  She divided her days between Devotion School and Brookline High School for three years before deciding to pursue a master’s degree in children’s literature.  Now fully credentialed, but out of a job, she was hired to teach first grade at Lawrence School by long-time principal Nate Purpel.   She moved to third grade 17 years ago. In 2008, Alicia won the Brookline Education Foundation’s Ernest R. Caverly Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Over the years, Alicia has deeply touched the lives of countless students, their families, and her colleagues.  She cares deeply for her students and they respond in kind.   She seeks to find the spark that will light a fire of learning in each one of her students.  She is a fierce advocate for students who may be underserved or underrepresented. Alicia has a gift for recognizing and capturing the poignancy of the many small moments in a classroom and then skillfully weaving these moments together to create a rich tapestry of community and learning.  Hallmarks of Alicia’s classroom are her passion for children’ literature and a creative approach to curriculum that infuses the arts and enriches and extends learning.

Alicia is a respected member of the faculty, who plays an active role in the school community. Her long-time collaboration with teammates Sharon Kiernan and Jeremy Ward established a cohesive third grade team that now includes Marie Leman.  As a senior member of the faculty, she has been a clarion voice for teachers and someone whose counsel I have sought out and value greatly.  Alicia has contributed to the profession by mentoring countless student teachers over the years, including our own Sharon Kiernan and Greg Porter.

When asked what she values most about her time at Lawrence, Alicia points to the relationships she has established – with children, with families and with colleagues.   In a heartfelt message to faculty, Alicia wrote, “With surprising clarity and my ever-supportive family by my side, I am preparing to move beyond the expanding walls of Lawrence to follow a new calling.  Although I do not yet know what this will look like, I know that the courage to heed this call comes from having been a member of this amazing community.”  We wish Alicia well as she finds her new calling.  Her vision, her voice, her passion, and her caring have all contributed to making Lawrence such as amazing community.  She will be missed.

Other Staff Changes for 2015-16

I am pleased to report the following internal changes in our faculty:

  • Mary Lee Mastroianni will return from her year-long leave of absence, but will move to third grade from first grade.
  • Jon Weinberger will move from fifth to fourth grade as the fourth grade grows to 4 sections and the fifth grade drops to 3 sections.
  • Changes in Grades 6 & 7:  As we prepare for our first 4 section sixth grade, Peggy Avakian will become the fourth sixth grade homeroom teacher. She will continue to teach English to all sixth grade classes, but will no longer teach seventh grade.   Similarly, Max Hunter, Greg Porter, and Lora Smid will continue to teach sixth grade science, social studies and mathematics respectively, but will no longer teach a section of seventh grade.

There are additional changes to come.  I will keep you informed as we finalize staffing for world languages and seventh grade (one section in each content area), among others.

Rick Rogers



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