A Brookline High alumnus, Courtney Valentine recently started his position as METCO Coordinator this school year and has an extensive background in education. Most recently, he worked as guidance counselor at Brighton High School, and before that, as a dean of discipline at Madison Park High School. Valentine is an avid sports fan; he coaches the boys basketball team and plays competitive mens softball. In his free time, he loves to cook and hopes to start a food truck next summer.
What do you do as the METCO coordinator?
I’m trying to build relationships with my METCO students and help support them by any means, whether that involves being an advocate, going to IEP meetings, or doing whatever else they need me to do. I’m here to help them. I also coordinate with outside programming to come in and help with college stuff and things related to life after high school. Not only that, I’m also an intermediary between METCO families and school staff here, and I work collaboratively with the administration here to make sure METCO students are involved and receive all the support they need.
Why did you want to teach here?
I am a Brookline alumnus, class of 98′, so to come back and work here and help kids is an honor. The best part of it is that it is the best of both worlds. For the past 13 years, I have been in Boston Public Schools and I’m still working with Boston students. However, I am also working at my high school, and I’m also the boys basketball coach here. It’s interesting to come back and work at Brookline High School.
In what ways do you think the school has changed since you went here?
It has most certainly changed in a lot of good ways. The programs and support systems I am seeing now are far greater than what they had in place prior to my graduation. Programs like Tutorial and Learning Center that are incorporated into students’ schedules are absolutely amazing: the Steps to Success program, the African-American Latino Scholars program, the new ACE program which I knew as OFC, which was a totally different framework from regular school. SWS is still here. And like I said the overall support is far greater than what it was when I graduated from high school.
What is the best advice you’ve received in your life and who gave it to you?
One of my mentors once told me, “The world needs thinkers outside of the box.” With what you’re going to do in education, you need to be unconventional and passionate and you will become highly effective. I found that to be very true. I consider myself to be an unconventional and highly effective educator.