Special Education Interim Director Carolyn Wilson was born in Danvers, Massachusetts and now lives in her childhood house. Wilson enjoys hiking, snowshoeing and exploring the outdoors with her children.
How did you spend your summer?
I spent my summer hanging out with my two kids, and I learned to use a new app called “Swimply.” It’s kind of like Airbnb but for people’s pools and their backyards, and you can sign up to rent someone’s pool for whatever amount of time. I have an eight-year-old and a ten-year-old, so I spent time finding really cool pools. We found one where there was an actual waterslide in someone’s backyard.
What are some of your hobbies?
Spending time with my kids. I like going camping. I also love going to the beach, and I am a member of the Trustees of the Reservation. I love going to their different properties all over the state. One of the properties they own is the Crane Estate up in Ipswich, and it’s a beautiful mansion called Castle Hill. This year, I did a tour of the inside of the home. During the pandemic, I had challenged myself to go with my kids to hike different places, go snowshoeing or just explore places outside. I also like to read.
Could you explain the special education program and your role in it?
My role is the interim director. It’s a role similar to Summer Williams, who is the Dean of Students. I am overseeing every aspect of special education here at the high school. I’m looking at staffing, I’m looking at training, I’m working with parents and then sharing concerns or needs that special education has. I bring up issues to the head of the school and work with the department coordinators, directors and the superintendent. Sometimes, I’ll have meetings over at town hall with the other directors.
What do you think of the community at the high school?
I am really enjoying getting to know the staff, and I am looking forward to being in classes and seeing students and instruction happening. Everyone is very welcoming. If I look lost, they are helpful in directing me in the right place. It’s a beautiful campus, so it’s pretty amazing. I love that I can look out my window and see the quad.
What impact would you like to make in the special education program?
I would like to be able to support improved outcomes for students with disabilities, which will be individualized based on different programs and different student needs, but I would like my role to support student improvement however that looks, whether that is supporting the adults, providing training going into classrooms or helping teachers think of ways to change, the ultimate and biggest goal is student outcomes.
What is something that people don’t often know about the special education program?
I think that as a school community, it would be nice for people to know that in special education there’s a continuum. Like most students, there are students with disabilities who participate in the high school all the way up to AP and honors courses; that students with disabilities are not just in small programs, and that the high school is a place accessible for students with disabilities at all different levels.
What is a memorable experience you got to have while working in the program?
I think one of my favorite memories so far has been when Mr. Meyer took me on a tour. We started over at OLS, my first day working here, seeing the quad and the new stem wing and feeling like, ‘Wow, I am in a really exciting place.’ I will say second to that memory is when students came back to school, feeling the students in the building, especially in the new stem wing, and seeing those classrooms come alive.
What advice would you give to current students of the high school?
Take advantage of opportunities and take risks: go outside your comfort zone. If there’s a club or a class that you are interested in, even if you don’t have a friend who is interested, just go and see! You might have an opportunity to meet someone or learn something; and that’s what this time is all about: to grow, explore, and see what options are out there. Don’t be afraid to do those things! When I was in high school, I tended to be shy, and I didn’t take advantage of everything. You guys have an amazing campus with your clubs and activities. It really is amazing.