Thank You, Monica Crowley

Thank You, Monica Crowley!

Vice Principal Monica Crowley will be moving on from Lawrence School to become the principal of a newly created middle school to be housed at the Old Lincoln School in Brookline. Monica will have a year to prepare for the new school, which will open in September 2015.

I want to acknowledge and say thank you for Monica’s many contributions to Lawrnce over the past six years. Monica came to Lawrence with 18 years experience as a middle school teacher.  From the beginning, she demonstrated strong leadership skills. Leadership begins with relationships and Monica puts students first.  She treats them with respect and they respond in kind. Students of all ages know and like her. She responds in a calm, fair, and supportive way when they make mistakes.   Similarly, she has gained the trust and respect of parents, who recognize she has their children’s best interests at heart.  And Monica has formed strong relationships with staff, who appreciate her positive, upbeat manner, her knowledge of teaching and learning and her support and follow through.  Simply put, Monica has terrific people skills.

Monica’s most visible accomplishment is the development of a cohesive middle school program within our K-8 school. She initiated the development of an advisory program, now a well-established part our middle school program.  She successfully obtained grant funding for teachers to be trained in Developmental Designs, a social competency program for middle school students that became the core of advisory.  Monica also developed an aligned schedule for grades 6-8. Now, sixth grade teachers teach one section of seventh grade, allowing students to have at least one teacher who knew them the year before as they move through early adolescence.  Monica coordinates and facilitates twice weekly meetings for teachers in grades 6-8, enabling collaborative planning of curriculum and discussion about students. Other examples of her leadership with grades 6-8 include the homework wiki, academic support plans, and the Portfolio Shares.

Monica’s leadership extends beyond the middle school program.  She has had an impact on the district level through the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. As one of four district trainers, she planned and provided training for staff in all 8 schools in Brookline and oversaw implementation of the program at Lawrence and two other schools.  Behind the scenes, Monica has shared the responsibility for supervising and evaluating all staff.  She has been part of most hiring decisions.  She has played an active role in supporting our recent literacy initiative.   She has been adept at day-to-day problem solving. And, no small task, she has demonstrated her organizational skills as the school’s testing coordinator for ACCESS, MCAS, and PARCC.

On a personal note, Monica and I began together at Lawrence School in 2008. Hiring her was the first (and best) decision I made as the new principal.  Over the past six years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to experience truly collaborative leadership.   We have complemented each other well in terms of experience and style.   We have made almost every major decision in the school together.  I will miss our daily collaboration, but am pleased we will remain colleagues.

Accomplishments and programs aside, a large part of leadership is simply being present. Monica has been “present” in every sense of the word throughout her six years.  Present to listen, present to observe, present to problem solve, present to engage, and present to celebrate. Sheryl Sandberg, author of  “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” says: “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”  Lawrence School is and will continue to be a better place as a result of the presence of Monica Crowley over the past six years.  Thank you, Monica, for your caring and inspiring leadership.  Your presence will be missed. 

Recognizing 30 Years of Service:

Terry Jewell & Karen Miler

On June 19, the Brookline School Committee will recognize several staff members for 30 years of service to the Public School of Brookline.  Among the honorees are two Lawrence staff members.

Terry Jewell – Literacy Specialist

Terry is a Literacy Specialist at Lawrence and Baker Schools. She began her career at Baker School, teaching third grade for 13 years before becoming a literacy specialist for another 13 years. Terry worked for a year as the Coordinator for English Language Arts and then returned to the Literacy Specialist role at Lawrence. Retired Baker Principal Tom Cavanagh credits her for playing a leadership role in building strong teams at Baker, beginning with her own third grade team. He also noted her interest in mentoring other teachers. At Lawrence, Terry has continued to support a strong team culture and now serves as our mentor facilitator.   Terry currently serves as one of two specialists teaching the new LLI intervention program.   When asked what she is proudest of, Terry is very clear:  “I am proudest of the number of students I have helped learn to read over the years.”

Karen Miller – School Nurse

Karen began as a school nurse in Brookline in 1981 at Lawrence, Lincoln and Pierce. For many years, Karen went between two schools with Lawrence always the constant before eventually becoming full-time at Lawrence. Karen listens to children and comforts them when they are upset or anxious, while attending to various bumps, bruises, and stomachaches.  She delights in the unusual things that children say or do and her laughter often spills out from her office into the lobby.  Karen embraces and celebrates the diversity in the Lawrence community. Karen has trained many young babysitters through her popular after school babysitting class. When asked what she is proudest of, Karen states it is working with our neediest students over time and seeing them grow up and make progress.

Congratulation to Terry and Karen and thank you for 30 years (and counting!) of dedicated service to the children of Brookline.

Rick Rogers

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