In addition to helping coordinate the school's community initiatives, Cawthorne will oversee the advising of undergraduate and graduate students, and will coordinate services for SOE students from the time they apply through their alumni years. He assumed the position on July 1, succeeding Sr. Maryalyce Gilfeather, SND, who is completing her doctoral dissertation.
SOE Dean Mary Brabeck said Cawthorne brings "an insider's understanding of schools and communities" from his experience as an Urban League official, a former principal at an experimental school in Boston, and a senior research associate at Boston College's Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy.
"John Cawthorne's appointment reflects our recognition that we serve students best when we are working in partnership with schools, communities, families and students," Brabeck said. "He is fully familiar with our programs and is committed to our mission to prepare professionals for service to others, and to serve their professions through scholarship and practice."
Cawthorne said he will work to increase ties between the network of SOE graduates across the country, so young teachers can make professional contacts among other alumni nearby. He hopes his office will serve as a mentoring center for the coming generation of educators.
"It could just be a place to come and talk about their experiences," he said. "Years ago when I was a beginning teacher, I could have used that."
Cawthorne also will work to maintain and strengthen Boston College's involvement in innovative local partnerships, such as the effort to establish the Gardner Elementary School as a neighborhood center offering a wide range of services.
In 1995, Cawthorne was appointed director of the education bureau of the National Urban League. That and his other experiences in urban neighborhood activism will prove useful in his new post, said Cawthorne, noting that the title has been newly worded to incorporate "outreach" into the job description.
"The Urban League is very concerned with community-building, in building bridges between ethnic groups," he said. "I know Boston College is very interested in that as well. This position reaches out to communities."
Cawthorne earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1964 and a master's degree in teaching from Antioch-Putney Graduate School of Education in 1969.
He has served as a consultant to school systems in Boston, Cambridge and several other Massachusetts communities, as well as in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore. and Atlanta.
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