Welcome to three new school leaders who have assumed new responsibilities in the Needham Public Schools:
• LeeAnn Sutton has been appointed the new Fine and Performing Arts Director, replacing David Neves who retired in June. Ms. Sutton, who has most recently held diverse teaching and leadership opportunities in the Cambridge Public Schools, just completed her Master of Education degree in School Leadership from Harvard University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her undergraduate degree is in Music Education and Performance from Ithaca College (NY). Prior to her time in Cambridge, Ms. Sutton taught at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, The New England Conservatory Prep School, and Ithaca City School District (NY).
With her background and experience, Ms. Sutton brings a breadth of knowledge in teaching students of diverse backgrounds as well as in developing curriculum, promoting professional growth, developing and facilitating professional learning experiences for teachers, strategic planning, and collaborating with the community to enhance arts education. Throughout the interview process, she continually demonstrated thoughtfulness, intelligence, grace, and humor.
Ms. Sutton is enormously impressed with the Needham Public Schools and is looking forward to becoming part of the dynamic and student-centered Fine and Performing Arts team in each of our schools.
• Dan Lee takes over as the Director of Athletics and Club Sports, succeeding Mr. Micah Hauben who has accepted a dean’s position at the King School in Connecticut.
Mr. Lee has prepared for this role for many years first as a coach and more recently as the Needham High School Assistant Director of Athletics and Coordinator of Club Sports. He brings energy, insight, discipline, sportsmanship, and experience working with student-athletes, coaches, and parents at Needham High School into this new role, and we are fortunate to have someone of Dan’s caliber lead our athletic and club programs in grades 7-12. Mr. Lee earned his undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College and his Master of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut.
Throughout the search process, colleagues, coaches, parents, and especially students described Mr. Lee as a highly respected and valuable member of the Needham High community. In addition to his knowledge and passion for athletics and club activities, Mr. Lee is seen as having exceedingly strong communication, collaboration, and interpersonal skills. He is compassionate, willing to seek help or advice, a collaborator and someone who is able to foster a positive athletic culture.
Mr. Lee is honored to be given the opportunity to promote and sustain a quality interscholastic athletic program that is focused not on wins and losses, but on student learning, growth, development, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
• Karen Bourn has been appointed to serve as the interim principal at the John Eliot Elementary School, replacing Mr. Rod MacNeal who has been named the assistant superintendent in the Arlington Public Schools.
Ms. Bourn has served in the Needham Public Schools since 2013 as the assistant principal at Broadmeadow. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and her Masters in Educational Administration at Boston College. In her role as assistant principal Ms. Bourn has worked with the staff to support an excellent instructional program for all students. She has led professional development at Broadmeadow, coordinated various child study and professional meetings, managed the school's schedule, and overseen student behavior and discipline.
Ms. Bourn has helped to lead the district's efforts around cultural proficiency, and she has used her extensive classroom experience to collaborate with and guide teachers at the elementary level. Ms. Bourn has also established strong and productive relationships with students and their families.
Ms. Bourn has a strong instructional background and a deep affinity for the classroom experience. Before coming to Needham she taught for fifteen years, most recently in the Natick Public Schools where she was a 4th grade teacher.
Ms. Bourn is a superb listener and has strong communication skills. Ms. Bourn relishes hard work, and she is very much focused on empowering others—students and adults alike—to grow, learn and achieve. Ms. Bourn knows that the teachers at Eliot are smart, dedicated, and caring; she understands the parents are involved, committed to their school, and devoted to their children. Her main job will be to support the entire Eliot community in its efforts to improve learning for each child.
Join me in welcoming these three talented school leaders to their new positions in the Needham Public Schools!