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Science Coordinator

Attleboro High School

Age: 37

ABOUT HER: Born in Stoughton, raised in Canton, graduated Canton High School in 1998, and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2002. Attended Harvard University and earned a master’s in education degree with a concentration in teaching and curriculum in 2003. Lives in Foxborough with husband, Ari Weinstein, and their children, Nathan, 4, and Rory, 1.

WHY YOUR FIELD? I never intended on becoming a teacher, but entering my senior year at UMass., I had a decision to make: Proceed to medical school (I had the grades, but was never drawn to the idea of at least eight more years of school), do research (I hate the isolation of lab work), or become a teacher. I had been a teaching assistant in college and was quite successful, so the latter was the most attractive option for me. I applied to graduate programs and began seeking my license. After 11 years in the classroom, I was named content coordinator in 2014 filling a job vacated by a retirement. I’ve been teaching advanced placement biology and working on the leadership team since.

BEST CAREER ADVICE: Best career advice I’ve gotten is two-fold: 1.) Students succeed when they know you care about them. Focus on building positive relationships, because when they look back on high school, they might not remember the content, but they’re going to remember the experience. 2.) Leaders must be like swimming ducks: On the surface they need to appear cool, calm, and collected, even if under the water they’re kicking like crazy.

HARDEST LESSON LEARNED: Once you find yourself in a position of leadership, you live a fishbowl life. The gains can feel smaller and the mistakes are much bigger.

MENTOR(S): Since beginning my career 15 years ago, many people, all of whom I could not possibly mention here, have shaped my teaching and leadership. Catherine Botsford-Milne, and my husband, Ari, also a teacher, have had the greatest impact on my classroom teaching. I’ve spent countless hours with them talking about, and reflecting on, my work. As for my still very young career in educational leadership, Tobey Reed walked me through every job expectation in my first year as a content coordinator, from how to schedule, to what to have on a department meeting agenda. Kevin Gorman has helped me remain mindful and methodical in the most difficult situations. And finally, Bill Runey has shown patience with, and belief in, me, as an educator and leader, both of which have been the catalysts for my growth and success at Attleboro High School.

GIVING BACK: In addition to teaching, last year, I co-founded a non-profit organization; Running from Anxiety. Our organization has three goals: 1.) Remove social stigma associated with mental illness; 2.) Promote physical activity, as supported by science, as a way to facilitate emotional wellness; 3.) Raise funds for a yearly scholarship for a graduating senior. Some of our work includes the organization of monthly support group meetings and community runs for all levels. This spring, we will be presenting our inaugural scholarship.

WHAT TALENT DO YOU WISH YOU HAD MOST THAT YOU DON'T NOW?  I am very content with my life, but if I had to consider adding something to further fulfill it, it would be some artistic ability or musical talent. I imagine either of these would prove to be great emotional outlets.

WHAT AWARDS/RECOGNITIONS HAVE YOU RECEIVED IN YOUR CAREER? I have twice been recognized at the yearly Senior Spotlight event at school committee as a teacher who has positively influenced the lives of senior students.