Uttaro welcomes freshmen at OLS for the third year

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CONTRIBUTED BY JENEE UTTARO

Jenee Uttaro, one of the freshmen deans, plays a vital role in helping OLS run smoothly.

The last thing you would expect after having a conversation with Dean Uttaro is that her guilty pleasures in life are watching mixed martial arts and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Jenee Uttaro is currently the Dean of Old Lincoln School (OLS), in addition to co-teaching an English class.

Uttaro said that as Dean of OLS, her role is to be a leader and create a space where both students and teachers feel safe and comfortable.

“I’m kind of like the building person. I make sure the police detail is out front, and that we’ve got enough paper, that kind of thing,” Uttaro said. “But most important to me is just being able to be one of the leaders; I’m one of the educators who’s thinking a lot about ninth graders, and thinking about making their introduction and initiation into high school as positive and meaningful and exciting as we can possibly make it.”

Dean Kobus, one of the Associate Deans at OLS, said that in his 11 years of working with Uttaro, his favorite memory was setting up OLS the night before the Class of 2023 began the school year.

“Dean Uttaro and I were moving furniture here till well into the night to get classrooms set up for arrival on first day,” Kobus said. “So we must have been here till like 10 o’clock at night just moving furniture and setting up classrooms, and I love that she just does whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Dean Thomas, another Associate Dean at OLS, said that her favorite moment with Dean Uttaro was when she found out that Uttaro had been appointed Dean of OLS. She also explained that she was tremendously excited to work with Uttaro, because she was incredibly driven and invested in starting OLS.

Thomas said that Uttaro is great at listening to what everyone has to say, which is one of the reasons she is able to keep OLS running smoothly.

“I think her best skill is listening to folks, and keeping things positive and always finding a way to encourage them. She’s very radiant and has such a positive vibe,” Thomas said. “She is very appreciative of the work that people are doing around her, and she’s not afraid to say that to someone.”

Like many others, Uttaro had to find ways to fill her free time during the pandemic. She mentioned that one of her favorite things to do was get outside with her family because it was a great way to spend quality time together while also passing the time.

“I would say personally, I took a lot of walks with my daughter and my husband. That was nice because I got out of the house,” Uttaro said. “On a professional level, I think what got me through those weeks and months was like, this will come to an end, we’re going to have a vaccine, we’re going to be better and we’re going to be able to give, in particular, the class of 2023, a goodbye.”

Uttaro said that she cannot wait to meet the new freshman, and that despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, the community at Brookline High has their backs, and is ready to introduce them to BHS culture.

“What I’d want to say to the class of 2025 is we got you, try not to worry, this has all been crazy and difficult in new ways. I’m really optimistic about a strong start to ninth grade and a strong start to their high school careers at BHS,” Uttaro said. “We’re working really hard to think about how to make it special and help them feel celebrated and excited more than nervous.”