PTO Spotlight

PTO Spotlight with Parent David Belchick


img_0177PTO Spotlight with David Belchick (dad to Isabel 5H, Gabi 4M and William 2S):Q: How long have you lived in Brookline? What brought you here? Tell us about your family.A: We moved to Brookline in 2006 and have lived here ever since except for a short stint in New York.  We moved here for the schools after our oldest daughter, Isabel, was born.  I am so lucky to be married to the amazing Robyn Hunter and have 3 wonderful children-Isabel, Gabi and William Hunter.  Because I am the only Belchick in the family, I often get the reaction after introducing myself and someone else clarifies who I am related to which is usually "Oh, YOU'RE Robyn's husband?" because I emote less and am the only person in the family who has no musical inclination .Q:  What is your favorite Driscoll program?A: Easy: Spring FairQ: Tell us about your hobbies.A: I like to do a lot of things but have let life get in the way of hobbies.  I would like to start playing tennis again, but my attempts with a regular playing partner (you know who you are) are erratic.  Lately, I am an unpaid uber driver for 3 children's soccer and ballet programs.  If you need to know where Taunton is or which ways to get to lower Newton on which days, I am the one to ask.Q: What are your hopes and dreams for your family?A: That they are happy and healthy and are able to give their families and the world more than I have when my time here ends.Q: If you could thank your children for one thing, what would it be?A: Thank you for doing everything you do with bravery, humanity and kindness, even when others might not deserve it.  Also, a reminder to not always focus on the endpoint.

PTO Spotlight with 6/7th Grade English Teacher, Courtney Pelletier


pto-spotlightPTO Spotlight with 6/7th Grade English Teacher, Courtney Pelletier:Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: This is my second year teaching at Driscoll.  Before coming to Driscoll I taught 7th grade English for four years in Aurora, Colorado.  I also taught high school for one year in Indonesia.Q: Tell us how you decided to become involved in education.A: I have always loved working with kids.  After completing my undergraduate degree I knew I wanted to become a teacher and attended Northeastern University to earn my Master's in education.Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children?A: My favorite part of the teaching day is talking to kids about great books!  I love when students come into my classroom excited to tell me about the book that they're reading.  It's so important to make connections with my students and reading is the perfect way to do it.Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: When I'm not teaching I'm usually outside. Hiking, skiing, camping, and scuba diving are some of my favorite activities

PTO Spotlight with 6/7th Grade Science Teacher, Eric Hazlinsky

driscoll pto logoPTO Spotlight with 6/7th Grade Science Teacher, Eric Hazlinsky:Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: This is my 6th year at Driscoll. Before teaching here I taught 7th grade math and science in GloucesterQ: Tell us how you decided to become involved in education.A: I was in grad school studying geology and geomorphology and while I was TA-ing classes, I really fell in love with teaching the information.Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children?A: I think my favorite part of any day is when kids get excited and curious and ask a lot of questions! I like the lasting relationships you can form with kids.Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I currently play on multiple recreational soccer teams and I have played in kickball nationals twice.

PTO Spotlight with Driscoll School Secretary Kim Longmore


driscoll pto logoPTO Spotlight with Driscoll School Secretary, Kim Longmore!Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: I have been at Driscoll 6 years and the town of Brookline for 10 years.Before that I worked at Plimoth Plantation, as everything from a Pilgrim, the basket maker, and the Education Programs Manager.Q: Give us an idea of the scope of your daily responsibilities.A: I do everything from attendance, communications between the teachers, parents, and children.Also,I do staff payroll, ordering all the supplies, keeping track of everyone’s records etc.Anything anyone needs, they can come to me, and I’ll find a way to help them.Q: What is your favorite part of the day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children, teachers, parents and administrators?A: Number one are the kids, I love when a child comes to see me just to say hello, or give me a hug, or to tell me how their day is going. That is the best!Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I have been the recipient of two travelling fellowships from Harvard University, where I studied and documented the last living apprentices and their lives and arts in England, Scotland and Wales. 

PTO Spotlight with Music Teacher Vale Southard!


fullsizerender-3PTO Spotlight with Driscoll Music Teacher, Vale Southard!Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: This is my 4th year at Driscoll. I started here in 2013 part-time, while working at 2 other schools in Brookline. Last year was my first year full-time teaching just here, and I love it! Right before coming to Driscoll I was a long-term substitute music teacher in Newton, and before that I was in college at University of Miami Frost School of Music, getting my music education degree.Q: Tell us how you became interested in music education.A: Music has always been a huge part of my life. My parents are very musical, as well as my brothers, (one of them is a professional pianist and composer) so music was always a huge priority for our family. I grew up playing piano, clarinet, and singing, and when I started to think about what I wanted to do as a career, I knew it had to be related to music. I actually went to college intending to be a music therapy major, but after taking a few classes, I realized it wasn't the right fit for me. I realized that I wanted to share my love for music with others, and music education seemed to be the best way to do that.Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children?A: That's such a hard question! I see many different classes in a day, so I would say my favorite part of the day is getting to see so many different students. I teach almost everyone in the school, and I think that's really special. What's most important to me is that my students come away from my class loving music. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll grow up to be a professional musician, but music can and should be an important part of all of our lives. When a student comes into my class really excited, telling me that they sang one of our songs at home, or they looked up and rewatched a performance we watched in class, that's when I feel most fulfilled as a teacher.Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I once sang back-up on an album with the Latin American artist Juanes, and then the album won the Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album!

PTO Spotlight with PK Teacher, Mary Dunne!

PTO Spotlight with Driscoll PK teacher, Mary Dunne!img_0204Q: How long have you been at Driscoll? What were you doing before you came here?A: I've been at Driscoll for 16 years. Before that I was at Heath Schoolfor 21 years.Q: What made you decide to go in to education?A: My mom and her mother were both teachers. I loved watching my mom work with kidsand prepare for school in the evenings.  I can't imagine myself doinganything else.Q: What is your favorite part of your day with the 3-5 year olds?A: My favorite part of the day is watching a child or children discoversomething for themselves.  Seeing the pride and ownership on theirfaces is truly satisfying.  I love singing and dancing with kids justas much.Q: What is a Fun Fact that we don't know about you that we should?A: I have terrible taste in candy. The cheaper and chewier, the better!Dots, Jujubes and Circus Peanuts are my downfall.

PTO Spotlight with Driscoll Math Specialist, Jenna Laib!


unnamed-2PTO Spotlight with Driscoll Math Specialist, Jenna Laib!Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: This is my sixth year at Driscoll. Before that, I taught 4th grade in Billerica, MA. I also worked as a math coach and math specialist at a school in Newton and several other schools in Brookline.Q: Tell us how you became interested in math and all things supportive and enriching.A: Math has fascinated me for as long as I can remember! I love searching for patterns and discovering connections. When I was a kid, I liked playing with numbers and solving puzzles. Later, as a classroom teacher, I found myself fascinated not only by math but by my students’ mathematical thinking. There are so many ways to make sense of the same problem or idea.Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children? A: I like that my schedule is always changing; I am all over the building!  You might see me teaching in a 2nd grade classroom, then with some 7th graders in a small group, and later meeting with teachers. That said, my favorite thing to do might be one-on-one math interviews with kids. Driscoll students teach me so much!Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I am very close to my siblings, even though they live on three different continents, and we aren’t all biologically related. My sister and stepbrother both live in Boston (North America), my brother and his wife live in England (Europe), and my two brothers-in-law live in Algeria (Africa). We are grateful for tools like Skype that allow us to stay in touch!

PTO Spotlight with 2S Second Grade Teacher Erica Sullivan!


img_0279PTO Spotlight with 2S Second Grade Teacher Erica Sullivan! Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: I began working at Driscoll in 2008 when I was a senior at Wheelock College. I was a classroom assistant in Barry and Marybeth's Pre-K class for a few years while getting my Master's Degree in Elementary and Special Education. After that I spent a year at Lincoln School as a maternity leave sub in Kindergarten and then in the Adaptive Learning Center before returning to Driscoll to teach first and second grade. This will be my sixth year teaching grades 1/2 at Driscoll, and I can't imagine being anywhere else.Q: Tell us how you decided to become a teacher.A: I grew up with three younger brothers, so really I was a teacher right from the start. I can clearly remember being five years old and confidently declaring to my kindergarten friends that I would be a teacher when I grew up (well, either that or an actress...).  Teaching young children has always been my goal and my passion.Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children?A: There are so many favorites, but I think I love morning meeting the most. We get to start the day greeting each other, sharing stories, asking questions, and doing silly activities to help bring us together as a community. This community building sets the stage for the challenging work we do throughout the day. It allows kids a safe space to take risks, make mistakes, and build a growth mindset.Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: Several years ago I was watching a lot of those cake decorating shows on TV and decided that I could do that! I've made some pretty cool cakes since then with fondant and everything. Last year for my son's first birthday I made a Superman cake, and I'm planning on making some kind of "Things That Go" cake for his second birthday.

PTO Spotlight with Kindergarten Teacher Ben Fishkin (KF)!

Ben Fishkin
PTO Spotlight with Kindergarten Teacher Ben Fishkin (KF)!
Q: How long have you been at Driscoll?  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.
A: I've been at Driscoll for 12 years!  This is my fifth year as a kindergarten teacher.  I used to work in the preschool, DEDP, and I did student teaching in a second grade classroom.  Q: Tell us how you decided to become a teacher.A: I used to work at camps a lot and always enjoyed working and playing with kids.  When I started working in the preschool here, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in education.  Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with children?A: I love problem solving with my class.  Whether it's figuring out a problem in our classroom or how to support students in a conflict, I enjoy helping students become more independent with their self-help skills.  Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?
A: I love working with computer hardware.  I'm not great at coding, but I can build just about any computer!


PTO Spotlight with 4th Grade Teacher, Josephine Bouquet!


fullsizerender-6PTO Spotlight with 4B Teacher Josephine Bouquet!  Q: This is your second year having your own classroom.  Tell us what you did before coming to Driscoll.A: After graduating from Boston College I worked as an aide, and then as a behavior therapist in different special-ed programs in Newton. I was lucky enough to come to Driscoll to be the substitute for Mrs. Mackie when she had her baby, and then got my own 4th grade classroom last year!Q: Tell us how you decided to become a teacher.A: I have always loved working with kids, but really I became a teacher because growing up I loved so many of my teachers. They taught me so many important lessons, and I really appreciated how they supported me and helped me learn and grow. As I got older I realized more and more the positive impact they had on my life, and I hope to pay that forward in some way. My biggest hope is to help my students enjoy school and find the joy in learning each day.Q: What is your favorite part of the teaching day?  What is most important to you as you spend your days with 9 and 10 year olds?A: My favorite part of the day is when the students first arrive. They are so excited to be here and their positive energy can really set the tone for a great day. The beginning of each day feels like a fresh start full of opportunities to learn, and I get really excited to share that with the students. I also love having the opportunity to check in with the students about what is going on in their lives before we hunker down and get into our lessons.Q: Fun Fact! What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I have an older sister and 3 younger brothers, one of whom is in 4th grade this year! They all live in Maryland, where I am originally from.

PTO Spotlight with Computer Teacher Bob Thomas


bobipadPTO Spotlight with Computer Teacher Bob Thomas!Q: Tell us about what you do at Driscoll School.A: I’ve been the Educational Technology Specialist at Driscoll since 1999. I really like my job. I get to do so many different things. I teach 6th grade students and I lead other classes in the lab. I work with teachers to help them find digital resources to support their teaching. I keep track of the computers and equipment in the school and make plans for purchasing new equipment.Q: Tell us about how you decided to become a computer teacher?A:  I was a classroom teacher for more than 20 years before I came to Driscoll. I mainly taught upper elementary students - 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. I used a lot of technology in my teaching (even in the 1980’s). My favorite part of teaching was working with students on long term projects - especially films and digital presentations. I decided that I wanted to spend all of my time helping students use technology to share their learning with others.Q: You do some other cool things besides being a computer teacher at Driscoll, tell us about those.A: I feel fortunate that I have a job where I get to do so many things. In addition to teaching,  I maintain the school website and Twitter account. I take photos of school events. I work with the 7th and 8th graders to produce their yearbook. I make videos and films. I troubleshoot when computers and printers don’t work (I love fixing things). I get to play with new equipment and I love finding new digital tools and games for students and teachers.Q: What do our kids do in Computer Class?A: Students use Macbooks, Chromebooks, iPads and iMacs to enhance and extend classroom curriculum goals. They reinforce skills through games and interactive tools. They explore concepts through digital play. They create presentations to share what they have learned.  Students also learn some basic programming skills. Perhaps most importantly, they learn to be competent, comfortable, and ethical users of technology.Q: Fun Fact: What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I love to travel, especially on trains. I lived in Italy for 5 years and I make great pizza and pesto pasta.

PTO Spotlight with New Driscoll Librarian: Anne Reid!


fullsizerender-2PTO Spotlight with New Librarian Anne Reid!

Q: You're new! Tell us about what you did before coming to Driscoll.

A:  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself!  Let me start my saying how lucky I feel to be the librarian at Driscoll.  I’m just a week into the school year and I can tell how important the library is to the community - not just the students and staff, but the families as well.  It is a dream position!I’m joining Driscoll from Watertown Public Schools, where I was for the past two years.  Before that, I was working as a librarian on the coast of Maine.  And before that, I spent many years working at Simmons College.Q: Tell us about how you decided to become a school librarian?A: It was a winding path to school librarianship!  Growing up, I always loved books, reading and libraries.  But it wasn’t until later in life that I found school librarianship.  In college, I worked at my school’s art library.  That’s when I became hooked on librarianship.  I loved the books and helping connect people with the information they needed.  I was an art history major, so when I went on to graduate school for library science, I pursued art librarianship.  After I graduated, I landed what I thought would be my dream job: a visual resources librarian.  Within a month of starting, though, I knew I had made a big mistake.  Most of my time was spent alone in a room with thousands of slides, cataloging and digitizing.  I was so bored!  I returned to my graduate school to work.  While working, I took more classes.  As soon as I took school librarianship classes, I knew I had found my calling.  I love the books.  I love connecting with kids with books, hoping to help make them passionate, lifelong readers.  I love the information literacy aspect too.  In our digital age, it is so important for students to be able to efficiently find, evaluate, and use the information they need.  I love making the library a welcoming place for all students, the busy hub of a school.Q: What are your favorite books?A: I have so many! Thank you for not asking for just one favorite.  Here are a few:

  • Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is one of my alltime favorites.  So much happens in a mere 10 sentences and those amazing illustrations.

  • Elephant and Piggie series.  Mo Willems is brilliant.  Another author/illustrator who conveys so much with so little, which is no easy task.

  • The Harry Potter series.  My daughter and I are currently on third book.  JK Rowling created an amazing world.
  • Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai.  A wonderful middle grade novel about family, roots, and culture.
  • And two other picture books I just have to mention: Stuck by Oliver Jeffers and This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen.

I am forcing myself to stop now.

Q: What do you have planned for the Amy Neale Library this year?

A: There are so many things I’m excited about!  I really look forward to getting to know the students and what they like to read.  I can already tell Driscoll has a lot of passionate readers.  I’m hoping to run a book award program for students in grades 4-8.  Students will be invited to choose from a collection of 40 different books to read and evaluate.  At the end of the year, students who read at least 5 of the books will be invited to vote for the one book they liked the best.  What I like about this program is that it creates a community of readers, with students really engaged in the books, recommending (or not recommending) them to each other.  I also hope to run a picture book award program with students in grades K-3.  In addition, I look forward to working closely with teachers to integrate library resources and information literacy skills into the projects they are working on in the classroom.Q: Fun Fact: What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I am desperate to see a snowy owl in the wild.  I love birds.  I could get chickadees to eat out of my hand when I was a girl.  My daughter, Phoebe, is named both after a bird (the phoebe) and a chickadee song (fee-bee).  In general, I keep an eye out for birds.  Many snowy owls have been sighted around eastern Massachusetts in recent winters, but alas, despite my best attempts, I have yet to see one.  If you get any leads on where to see one this winter, please let me know!

PTO Spotlight with Kindergarten mom, and Town Meeting Member Chris Chanyasulkit

STUDIO_HBTAILOR_7519356451PTO Spotlight with Kindergarten mom, and Town Meeting Member Chris Chanyasulkit
Q:  Tell us about your family:
A:  My family includes James (my husband), Hunter (our eldest son who just turned six and is in KShea), Grayson (our four year old son who is in Driscoll BEEP), and baby Genevieve (who is 16 months old).
Q:  Tell us about how you have been involved at Driscoll:
A:   This is our first year at Driscoll and we love and appreciate the teachers, staff, and community of parents.  Thank you to the many teachers, parent volunteers, and so many more who arrange the fun breakfasts, PTO Spring Fundraiser, playground play dates, and more!
Q:  You wear a couple of different hats within the Brookline government.  Tell us about that.
A:  Since 2006, I have served as a Commissioner on the Brookline Commission for Women, which I co-chair with Casey Hatchett (who is amazing woman!).  Since 2009, I have served as a Town Meeting Member in Precinct 13, and am always appreciative of the votes from neighbors who allow me to volunteer as one of their 15 TMMs. I volunteer as a Steering Committee Member with the Brookline Asian American Family Network.  I am a gubernatorial appointee to the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and the Asian American Commissionand am proud to also represent the needs and concerns of women and Asian Americans on the state level.  In these two positions, I advocate for pay equity, health equity, and other issues of concern.  Please Save the Date for the AAC's upcoming Young Leaders Symposium, which will be held in Brookline on Oct. 15th and is open to all and not just Asian Americans.  I also serve as a Board Member on the League of Women Voters of Brookline (a non-partisan organization that works to encourage active and informed civic engagement in our government.  I began formally working within Brookline in the 2013 in the Brookline Dept. of Health and Human Services and then since its inception, in the Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations.  I approach my work with a public health lens as I work to advance, advocate, and promote human and civil rights through my advocacy, education, and outreach work.
There are many great ways to get involved in Brookline's government such as joining the Brookline Medical Reserve Corps, the Community Emergency Response Team (full disclosure, I'm also a CERT/MRC member), or joining a Board or Commission.
Q:  What do Town Meeting Members do?
A:  Essentially Town Meeting enacts town by-laws and is responsible for passing a balanced budget.  There are 15 TMMs per precinct for each of the 16 precincts.  TMMs attend community meetings, engage with neighbors, and stay informed of issues affecting their precinct and the town in order to make educated votes at Town Meeting on behalf of their precinct.  Elections for Town Meeting are held each May.  I am happy to talk with anyone interested in running for Town Meeting and encourage people to do so.  You can't win if you don't run!
Q: Fun Fact: What's something we should know about you that we don't?
A:  I love reading mysteries and especially, cozy mysteries (Think Jessica Fletcher from "Murder, She Wrote!")!  I enjoy reading fast-paced mysteries that don't have any graphic violence and enjoy solving crimes.

PTO Spotlight with Book Fair Co-Chair, Grace Johnston


IMG_4661PTO Spotlight with Book Fair Co-Chair, Grace JohnstonQ: Tell us about your family.A: In the US, it's just me, my husband, Toby, and our two sons, Alex (4M) and Lucas (1HAR). Most of the rest of the family are spread across Australia. Toby and I came here 12 years ago expecting to stay 2-3 years, ended up having kids and are still here!Q: Tell us how you've been involved at Driscoll?A: For the last three years, I have been one of the co-chairs of the Book Fair with Amy Grayson, with Meg Brackley joining us last year. It is a great event where the Driscoll library is turned into a book store for a week. The kids visit it during their library class and you get to buy books for your family, friends (and yourself!). And a percentage of sales goes to the Driscoll library to purchase books and electronic resources. I have also helped out with some of the other great PTO programs -- Understanding our Differences, Arts Equinox, Spring Fair, Teacher Appreciation Breakfast etc --  and shelved books in the library and chaperoned at field trips (while my kids still want me to!!).Q: Do your kids have a favorite PTO program?A: I would say Book Fair but if you ask them, they would say Spring Fair!Q: Fun Fact: What do you like doing in your free time?A: There is not enough free time to do all the things I like to do! Traveling, cooking (and eating!), hiking, learning piano, Pilates, yoga.Things I should do: organize the thousands of digital photos I have taken, clean out the closets, service the car....

PTO Spotlight with Kim Katz


FullSizeRender-2PTO Spotlight with Understanding our Differences Co-chair, and Teacher Appreciation Co-chair, Kim Katz: Q: Tell us about your family.A: My family includes our son Dylan who is in the third grade, my husband Mark, and three frogs.Q: Tell us how you've been involved in the PTO?A: When my son started Driscoll, I became involved right away with the PTO and the community. I thought it would be a great way to meet new people, and help out in any way. I'm currently the co-chair of Understanding our Differences with Alison Schonwald, and I'm co-chairing with (partner in crime) Robyn Hunter for next week's Teacher Appreciation Breakfast.Q: Tell us more about Understanding our Differences.A: Understanding Our Differences (UOD) is an educational program that teaches elementary school children to develop understanding and respect for fellow students and others with physical, sensory or developmental differences. UOD is an interactive awareness curriculum that Brookline Elementary Schools teach to all 4th and 5th grades. Each fall students participate in a four part series introducing various kinds of differences. The curriculum goals help our students understand how differently abled people adapt and live full, productive lives as well as increase tolerance and reduce bullying.Q: Does your son have a favorite PTO program?A: My son's favorite program is the Spring Fair. Honestly, who wouldn't want to be with their friends, ride on cool rides, eat tons of junk food, and get their hair sprayed, and go to bed way after bed time!Q: Fun Fact: What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: I grew up in the midwest and met my husband in college. My son Dylan now goes to the same elementary school that my husband attended (years, years, back)!! Additional fun fact: Ms. Neale was his librarian! I also just started a business called Mind Baby Body, so I don't have any free time now!

PTO Spotlight with new Co-Treasurer Marina Burdenko


09B22306-ED58-4385-AD18-23D0323945FCPTO Spotlight with new Co-Treasurer Marina BurdenkoQ: Tell us about your family.A: My family is my husband Alex, with whom we’ll be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this year and our twins Zach and Zoe who are in 1st grade (1T).  I’ve lived in Brookline for over 24 years and we are not planning to move any time soon.  We love the city atmosphere with a neighborhood feel and our kids enjoy all the fun activities in the area including ballroom dancing, music, swimming, tennis and math.Q: Tell us how you've been involved at Driscoll?A: At Driscoll, I’ve served as a room parent for 2 years, since my kids were in kindergarten (KS), volunteered for most of the special events in the classroom and chaperoned every single one of their fieldtrips.  I love being a part of the Brookline and Driscoll School Community and I enjoy helping out whenever I can.Q: You were just voted PTO Co-Treasurer for the upcoming school year--congratulations!  What interested you in this position?A: Thank you!  I am very excited to serve as a Co-Treasurer with David Souza over the next 3 years.  I feel that this position is right up my alley.  I have graduated from Northeastern University with a dual degree in Accounting and Finance.  I am a licensed CPA (Certified Public Accountant) with 11 years of prior experience of working at a public accounting firm and a current 5 year run as a part-time Controller at one of the major re-sellers of telecommunications equipment. I felt that my professional experience and time can support this role.  I also still enjoy being a room parent and I feel like the Co-Treasurer position will allow me to continue in that role as well.Q: Do your kids have a favorite PTO program?A: My kids love the Spring Fair of course!  They also really enjoy Arts Equinox, Science Solstice and Book Fair.Q: Fun Fact: What do you like doing in your free time?A: I enjoy spending time at the beach on the Cape in the summer with family and friends, skate and ski in the winter, and shopping any time of the year 

PTO Spotlight with Teacher Appreciation Breakfast Co-chair Robyn Hunter


PTO Spotlight with Teacher Appreciation Breakfast Co-chair Robyn HunterFullSizeRender-6Q: Tell us about your family.A: My family is my world!  David and I have been married since 2004 (together since 1993!), and we have three incredible children.  Isabel is in 4B and loves classical ballet.  Gabi is in 3S and lives for soccer.  Our youngest is William, in 1S; he loves all sports and plays a passionate game of soccer.  We also have two cats, Harper and Maggi, who are 20 and 18 years old!  We love music, dance, sports, reading, all Holidays, NYC and Vermont, board games, spending time with our extended family and being deeply involved at Driscoll and in our larger community.Q: Tell us how you’ve been involved at Driscoll?A: My involvement at Driscoll dates back to 2008 when Isabel was in the young preschool at BEEP (which was then located at Driscoll). Throughout our 8 years at Driscoll, I have served on many committees, as room parent every year, have advocated with the Town for keeping BEEP classrooms in our public schools, have sat on the PTO Executive Board, volunteered at book fairs and spring fairs and Arts Equinox and Science Solstice, put together Auction items and always supported our teachers personally and behind the scenes.  This year I am co-chairing our Teacher Appreciation Breakfast with Kim Katz, a dear friend and partner in crime, and I look forward to many more years of doing my part!Q: Do your kids have a favorite PTO program?A: My kids love the ever popular Spring Fair, Arts Equinox and Science Solstice.  They also really like the Fall Fling and the community service events we have focused on in the past.Q: Fun Fact: What’s something we should know about you that we don’t?A: I am a very outgoing but (paradoxically?) private person.  I crave time alone and try to make sure I get that most days, along with exercise, fresh air and a tidy home!  These are essential to running a calm (yeah, right) and orderly home with three incredibly busy children and a home piano studio (I have been teaching piano lessons off and on since I was 15).  I am a huge believer in bed times, thank you notes, excellent manners and putting others first.  We work constantly on a balance between being our best and taking care of ourselves and each other.  Our family has been thrown some major curveballs in recent years, but, like every family, we pull fiercely together and try to take life as it comes.  We are so thankful to be a part of this amazing community and consider it a duty and blessing to be a part of its excellence.  Thank you!

PTO Spotlight with Snehal Bhatt


IMG_6171PTO Spotlight with Snehal BhattQ: Tell us about your family.A: We came to Driscoll from the Advent School when Maya was in third grade.  Getting involved was a great way to get to know the community and a new school.  I live in Brookline with my husband Geary, my son Rohan in 5K, and my daughter Maya who is in 8C.  We love tennis, board games, travel, hiking, soccer and 3/4 of us love roller coasters (1/4 of us get sick watching microfilm go by).Q: Tell us how you've been involved at Driscoll?A: I chaired the movie program and worked with the PTO board for 3 years.  I chaired two book fairs and I have served as class parent for both of my kids every year since they were in preschool.   I’ve organized group gifts every year as well as set up many outings so our families can get to know each other outside of school.   I served as an ECS parent representative to the town from Driscoll for two years.  I’ve volunteered for Green Room (cooking/serving food), teacher appreciation week, Chinese New Year (organized crafts), Arts Equinox (taught street dance, supervised art projects), Understanding Our Differences Program, and worked at the Spring Fair.  At our old school, I chaired our auction and organized our grade-wide art projects and auction baskets every year, organized a school-wide making of Stone Soup to build community, and ran our annual schoolwide trip to Big Apple Circus for five years.  I’ve chaperoned almost every one of both of my kids’ field trips with the exception of a few.  I’ve run three bake sales to raise money for eighth grade graduation and I spend a good portion of my time coaching our math league/team for the past four years.  I love working with the Dragons.  They are the hardest working, most earnest, wonderful kids I’ve ever met.  I’ve learned through all of this that Driscoll has a ton of talent and as a community, we can move mountains when we pull together.Q: Do your kids have a favorite PTO program?A: For my kids, I think their favorite PTO program has to be our upcoming Spring Fair (Make sure you volunteer, even 1 hour!).  Why do I do all this?  I love my kids and I get them for a short time before they grow up and fly away so I don’t want to miss a thing.  Who else has skin in the game, right?  It’s up to us to make this community beautiful.  I grew up in a small town and with a very close, supportive community behind me and it meant everything to me.  Everything I do is so I can give that back to my kids.  Driscoll has such a wealth of kindness, love, knowledge and expertise in our parent and teacher community…tap it and reach the sky!Q: Fun Fact: What's something we should know about you that we don't?A: As for what you might not know about me, I love tennis, shameless karaoke, I play a mean game of ping pong, hiking, skiing (too injured now but love it), board games, a juicy novel, I studied dance for all my life (and would have tried to do it professionally if not injured) and binge watching cheesy CW series no one would want to publicly admit to watching.  I am not ashamed to say I love disco music.  I was probably the only kid on my block who watched Soul Train every weekend and dreamt of being a solid gold dancer.   I never met a superhero movie I didn’t like (Marvel over DC comics, hands down).  An economist by training, someday I’ll get back to it, but for now, I’m raising humans, and it’s a coin toss as to whether they are learning more from me or I am learning more from them.

PTO Spotlight with Fran Rota


image1PTO SPOTLIGHT WITH 8TH GRADE PARETN FRAN ROTAQ: Tell us about your family.A: My son, Jackson, is in the 8th grade, and has been in Driscoll since pre-k. My older son Sam, now a college sophomore, also went through Driscoll starting in Mary Dunne's first pre-k class. I have 2 older stepsons in their thirties who went to Driscoll so I have been around the Driscoll community since the early 90s. It is sad to think of my time in this community coming to an end, but it has been a wonderful part of of our lives in Brookline and I'm very happy to have been a part of it.Q: Tell us how you've been involved at Driscoll?A: I have been a Village Leader for the past 3 years, and also did a stint as PTO co-president, as a member of the short-lived equity team, and many years as a room parent and volunteer for various Driscoll programs. I've enjoyed volunteering in programs that allowed me to get to know the kids and teachers, so some of my favorite activities have been volunteering for Arts Equinox projects and chaperoning field trips.Q: Do your kids have a favorite PTO program?A: Arts Equinox has always been a favorite both for the kids and for me as a volunteer. Also DASA and of course the spring fair.Q: Fun Fact: What do you like doing in your free time?A: My passion is traveling-- I love to take groups of kids on foreign adventures, which I have done every summer in recent years. Around Brookline-- yoga, walking and biking, cooking, and enjoying all this community has to offer keeps me usy in my free time.

PTO Spotlight with Mary Schlaff


IMG_1275PTO Spotlight with parent Mary SchlaffQ: Tell us about your family.A: We moved from Auburndale to Brookline about 10 years ago - we just fell in love with the community here.  Ben has two older siblings, Dan and Rachel, who are in their twenties and thirties.  They live in DC so we visit as much as we can.   Dan married this past summer in New Orleans and Ben was his best man and wrote a "spontaneous" hiku in addition to his best man’s speech. It was a pretty special time as a family and we are living off the glow of those days together. As a family we enjoy movies, reading and rousing political discussions and jokes at dinner.  Tony’s life’s work is in pubIic health although sailing is his passion.  I am an event planner at  Northeastern. We love to cook and entertain and the guys love to eat so it is a win-win.  Sports-wise we love the Celtics, the Giants and the Patriots - we are New Yorkers but Ben is a Bostonian and loyal to the home teams!Q: Tell us how you've been involved at Driscoll?A: I became involved in the Auction when Ben was in Kindergarten - Mary McConnell’s class.  The Lazowski’s pulled me in when they heard that I was an event planner and together we redesigned it and moved it to the gym, turning it into a larger revenue producing event. It was lots of fun to do and more importantly at one time it was a great community builder. I was a room parent for a few years as well.  As the kids became older and we weren’t encouraged to come into the school I just naturally became less involved.  I miss those younger years.Q: Do your kids have a favorite PTO program?A: I would have to say that the Spring Fair is probably the most fun event for Ben - do you blame him?!Q: Fun Fact: What's something we should know about you that we don't? OR What do you like doing in your free time?A: As a couple, Tony and I love to sail - Ben does not unfortunately although we will drag him this summer to the Vineyard.  I love history - reading it, visiting historic sites, researching it. I joined recently and I must admit I probably need an intervention! Ben has acquired that interest in history as well.  As a family we just enjoy hanging out together - it is very easy and we enjoy each other’s company.