We have hired a new guidance counselor to help Mrs Smith. Her name is Kristen Lerra (and yes, she is a cousin of the other gr 5 Mrs Lerra). Mrs Lerra brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the guidance position. Here is a Q and A I did with her in June:
Why did you want to become an educator?
Throughout my school career, I always wanted to be an elementary teacher. When I was younger, I was known for making all the kids in the neighborhood sit down in the summer and play school. I would even hand out homework. After high school and many of my own homework assignments later, I entered my freshman year at Boston College with a childhood dream to become a teacher. After completing several internships through the Boston Public Schools and witnessing all the academic, social, emotional, behavioral and family barriers that prevented some students from thriving in school, I decided to pursue a degree in Human Development and later Counseling/Psychology at Boston College. Through my studies at Boston College, I was able to meet Dr. Mary Walsh, whom would later influence all my career decisions. Dr. Mary Walsh has given her heart and soul through a program called City Connects. This program was designed to ensure that all students in Massachusetts have the ability to come to school ready to learn, by connecting each and every student to a tailored set of necessary services. Through my work with City Connects, and the influence of Dr. Mary Walsh, I decided to pursue the field of school counseling. What keeps me motivated is witnessing the long and short term gains in some of the toughest students I have worked with. These gains can be as small as a student asking their first question in class to being accepted into advanced classes.
What excites you about coming to Bedford?
The community is what excites me about coming to Bedford. When you walk into the Lane School you feel a sense of warmth, camaraderie and support. I am used to working in large districts and am excited to be a part of a smaller, tight knit district. I am looking forward to being involved in all aspects of Lane School including assisting in classrooms, working with small groups, and after school programing. I am looking forward to personally getting to know each and every teacher, student and parent at Lane School.
What is your fondest memory when you were an elementary school student?
In 5th grade we studied Medieval Times throughout all our subjects in preparation for our Medieval Celebration at the end of the year. We made mugs in art class, learned to juggle in gym class and made family shields in Social Studies. In our end of the year celebration, we had to dress up as a specific character for the medieval dinner. I was chosen to be the jester. I was able to compete in a jousting competition where I had an advantage as I was an avid gymnast. In addition to the entertainment activities, we had a real medieval dinner consisting of a pig roast, exotic fruits and vegetables, and medieval pudding. The mugs we made in art class were used at our feast. Unfortunately mine did not work very well with the holes that were not apparent to me while making it. We were also given the opportunity to earn extra credit if we learned how to juggle. It was the most amazing and memorable experience I experienced in elementary school. We worked periodically all year in each subject area; it was great to see everything come together at the end of the year.
What is one thing about you which students and parents might be surprised to learn about you?
I am an avid runner and was a high school lacrosse player. I attended Boston College on a full track scholarship which I loved, but did miss playing lacrosse. In 2008, during my last year of graduate school, I had the opportunity to represent the USA in a couple of cross country and road races in Ireland. Two children later, my times are certainly not what they were, but I do try to run every day. I am a strong advocate for students being active. In Boston I worked with several programs that centered on teaching healthy and active living to students such as “GoGirlsGo” and “Strong Women Strong Girls”. I would love to start programs such as this in Bedford.