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By Anna Parkhurst (Online Exclusive)
The pen-scrawled message on a Dunkin Donuts bag taped to Deborah Holman’s office bulletin board says it all:
“Please, please don’t go.”
Despite the kind note and her favorite doughnut left by Newton North faculty, Holman said she “felt very ready for a headmaster position.”
On Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 two Sagamore staff members went on a site visit to see Holman, the sole finalist in the search for the new headmaster, at Newton North High School where she is currently the vice principal.
Engaged in a meeting interspersed wtih lighthearted jokes from her colleagues, Holman sat at a long, rectangular table with the school’s principal and department chairs, troubleshooting issues from recycling policies and the availability of information to parents, to faculty involvement in workshops.
When Holman stood up to speak about promoting discussions about technology use, faculty and student interaction, and parent engagement, she immediately commanded the attention of the room.
“My leadership style is one where it’s best when I have numerous stakeholders and people at the table with me, helping advise and helping make and own important decisions for the school.”
As she presented two posters designed as sign-up sheets for the workshops, Holman spoke articulately, a skill she values and was excited to see in Brookline’s students when she visited on Tuesday of last week. During this visit, she spoke to students about freedom and responsibility.“The students at Brookline High School were so clear on what that was, what the advantages for them were and what the responsibilities required of them with that mantra are,” Holman said. “To me that says that this is a community that can define its values and then students and faculty can talk about them in an articulate way.”
Walking down the hallways of Newton North High School, Holman turned the heads of faculty everywhere. They greeted her with warm handshakes that she returned with matching emotion.
Holman has spent most of her career in education as a U.S. history teacher, teaching English Language Learners, AP and American studies classes. From this experience, she hopes to bring what she calls “a teacher sensibility” to the job of headmaster if it is offered to her.
Superintendent Bill Lupini announced last Saturday, Feb. 4, that Holman is now the sole finalist.
“Dr. Lupini has been incredibly hospitable and informative and supportive all along the way,” Holman said.
“Working with him in the process has been very good.”
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 7, Lupini and a team of parents, students, teachers and his senior staff members will go on a site visit to Newton North High School to see Holman. Lupini plans to announce his next steps on or before Friday, Feb. 10.
“It’s very surreal, as well as exciting,” Holman said. “I’m honored and humbled to be moved to the ‘one finalist’ stage. It’s a huge honor and it signals a huge responsibility.”
Anna Parkhurst can be contacted at email@example.com