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administrative support

Interim Support Team: School Year 2019 - 2020

Date: 
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Overview

Current assistant head of school, Gretchen Forsyth, will assume the role of interim head of school for the 2019-2020 school year, beginning on June 12, 2019, through July 1, 2020, when a permanent head of school will begin. During this interim period, in partnership with the current administrative team and talented faculty, the role of assistant head of school will be filled internally, expanding the roles and responsibilities of several current faculty members. This structure ensures consistency and continuity across three main areas of focus: student and family needs, curriculum development and evaluation, and staff professional development. These positions ask for an increased time commitment on behalf of the teachers, but are rooted in expanding their current roles and responsibilities - and allows us to ensure minimal impact on the classroom experience for our students. As a result, we are not only confident but also excited about this opportunity to do more.

Focus Areas

STUDENTS
First and foremost, our goal is to ensure the needs of our students and families are met during the interim period. Bre Brandt, School Counselor, will be on-campus full-time beginning in September 2019. Cori Russo, Upper School Latin Teacher, take on the position of Interim Dean of Students, assisted by Sarah Bailes, Upper School Music Teacher. Emily Rabinowitz-Buchanan will also assist in supporting lower school teachers and students.

TEACHERS
At GUS, Teachers are everything.  Providing a comprehensive and consistent process of evaluation and professional growth, coupled with a professional development program that is motivating and purposeful, is imperative to the strength of our program. With that in mind, Maureen Twombly, Mathematics Coordinator, will broaden her role next year as interim Director of Instruction, sharing the responsibility for teacher supervision and evaluation with Ms. Forsyth and helping to oversee professional development programs like Professional Learning Groups (PLGs), Professional Development Days, and faculty meetings.

CURRICULUM
To ensure our academic program continues to grow and develop in important ways during our interim period, an interim curriculum committee has been established. This group, comprised of current faculty members Emily Rabinowitz-Buchanan, Maureen Twombly, Christine Draper, and Chris Doyle, will continue the work begun this year by a faculty committee, to outline a process for curriculum documentation, evaluation, and change. Ms. RB, Mr. Russo, and Dr. Draper all served on this faculty committee during the 2018-2019 school year. Ms. Twombly will join the group as Mathematics Coordinator.
 

New & Expanded Faculty Roles
 

Gretchen Forsyth, Interim Head of School
After nine years at GUS and 17 years of administrative experience, Ms. Forsyth is excited to take on the role on interim head of school for the 2019-2020 school year. With a unique understanding of what makes GUS so special and valuable relationships with students, teachers, and families, Ms. Forsyth is in a strong position to lead the school during this interim period. Her unique perspective on the school needs has allowed us to create an interim structure that allows for continued momentum. With an MSW from Boston College, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from the Teachers College, Columbia University’s Klingenstein Private School Leadership program, Ms. Forsyth is proud to begin her 20th year in teaching by steering GUS through this interim period.

Bre-Anne Brandt, School Counselor
The 2018-2019 school year was Ms. Brandt’s first in the role of school counselor at GUS. She had previously taught Spanish while working in the counseling office at Governor’s Academy. Having Ms. Brandt in this new role was well-received by all and we are excited to use this interim opportunity to expand Ms. Brandt’s time to full time. This will be a wonderful benefit to students and teachers. It will also increase the time she is available to meet with parents. Ms. Brandt holds a BA from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed from Boston University in counseling and the 2019-2020 school year will be her 13th year in education.

Cori Russo, Interim Dean of Students, Upper School Latin Teacher
Mr. Russo came to GUS in 2016 after teaching at Lynn Classical High School, where he received the 2015 Latin Teacher of the Year honor from the Classical Association of Massachusetts. Mr. Russo has presented by invitation at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association, the Paideia Institute, and the Classics Department of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Mr. Russo holds a B.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and an M.A. in Classics from Tufts University. As Latin teacher to all upper school students, Mr. Russo attends all weekly grade level meetings. Additionally, Mr. Russo manages X-blocks, and has often been the public face and faculty voice during important school meetings. As dean of students, Mr. Russo will be responsible for handling initial discipline situations and other student life responsibilities. In his free time, Mr. Russo records a Latin literature podcast.

Sarah Bailes, Interim Asst. Dean of Students, Upper School Music Teacher
Ms. Bailes joined GUS in 2015. She teaches upper school music and directs the 8th grade musical. Additionally, she is an advisor, a 6th grade homeroom teacher, and yearbook coordinator. Ms. Bailes teaches all upper school students and has already taken on some of the organizational responsibilities of our student life program. As a part-time teacher, Ms. Bailes is excited to spend more time involved in campus life. Ms. Bailes holds a B.A. Westminster Choir College, M.A. in Pedagogy from New England Conservatory and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Endicott College.

Emily Rabinowitz-Buchanan, Preschool Director
As an administrator in the lower school, Ms. Rabinowitz-Buchanan is happy to increase her responsibilities and offer support to all lower school teachers and students. Ms. RB came to GUS three years ago, after serving as a progressive preschool director for nine years. She has a B.A. from Vassar College, an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and she will receive her Certificate in Early Education Leadership in Winter 2020, through the Zaentz Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She will join support meetings for students in our younger grades and will also be available when teachers need another set of hands for handling discipline situations. Ms. RB is thrilled to continue to develop and lead the GUS Preschool program, to expand her responsibilities and bring her enthusiasm to the elementary grades, and to continue to work with our faculty on curriculum development.

Maureen Twombly, Mathematics Coordinator
Ms. Twombly is uniquely qualified to take on the role of interim Director of Instruction. Currently, as part of her role as Mathematics coordinator, Ms.Twombly serves as supervisor to upper and lower school teachers already. In addition, Ms. Twombly has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade at GUS. This experience in both divisions is invaluable to this new position. In addition to her new responsibilities, she will continue to supervise mathematic instruction and teach 7th grade math. As an educator, she creates a classroom environment that challenges all students and celebrates their efforts and engagement. Ms. Twombly is a champion of the growth mindset and is dedicated to GUS’ project based learning philosophy. Also important to note, Ms. Twombly makes the best brownies.

Christopher Doyle, Grade 3 Teacher
Mr. Doyle graduated from Drew University with a B.A. in history and American studies. He worked for the American Institutes for Research in the Education and Human Development Division in Washington, D.C. There, he worked on several projects for the US Department of Education, visiting elementary schools across the United States. Mr. Doyle received his M.S.Ed. at Bank Street College of Education in 2009 with a concentration in general and special education. Upon graduating, he worked with Bank Street College faculty to help start a progressive charter school in Newark, NJ developing curriculum for grades 2 through 5, and also taught fourth grade at the Brooklyn New School in New York. Chris began teaching 3rd grade at GUS in 2014 and has also helped coach the 7th and 8th grade boys lacrosse team.

Christine Draper, Ed. D., Grade 6 + 7 Social Studies Teacher
This is Dr. Draper’s twentieth year at GUS and she is excited to continue her work on curriculum as part of the 2019-2020 Curriculum committee. Dr. Draper has a M.Ed. from Lesley University in Reading, and an Ed.D. in Language Arts and Literacy from UMass Lowell. She loves reading, and teaching reading, but also loves teaching and learning social studies and history. She also loves working with other teachers to find ways to integrate different subjects together. Dr. Draper is an important tribal voice on the faculty and has been an advocate for strong curriculum development and evaluation over her long tenure at GUS. She is particularly enthusiastic to continue the work the faculty began this year as part of their year-long initiative to document a process for curricular change.