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Lynch School of Education

Todd Curtis

ed.d. in educational leadership, class of 2012

Can you talk a bit about your time at Boston College (and particularly your program, and the Lynch School)?

It was an exciting time, especially being in a program with 24 other educational leaders. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my practice and to gain insight and wisdom from my colleagues in the cohort group. The college did in amazing job putting the group of students together – I have such respect for everyone in that cohort, their values, and their commitment to education.

What was your career path before attending BC?  What made you decide to attend the program?

I began working with young people in a hospital, in an inpatient psychiatric setting, thinking about a career in mental health. When I decided to pursue public education instead, I became a middle-school level special education teacher, then an assistant principal and principal in elementary schools. As a principal, I was fortunate to work for Dr. Anthony Bent in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Tony encouraged me, as he had many other administrators in the district, to attend the PSAP program, as he had done himself years before. I am incredibly fortunate to have had his encouragement and support.

How did your time in the program help shape your career, goals, and perspective on education?

The quality of people with whom I interacted, whether that was the BC faculty, mentors from our dissertation committee, or colleagues in the cohort, was of such an incredibly high level – it changed me a lot. The theme that runs through the whole experience is of being provoked to think deeply, to reflect, to challenge my own beliefs and practices. It made me a better practitioner from day one by asking (perhaps forcing) me to think about what was most important as an educator, and to then view every action and decision through that lens. As far as my career, it didn’t so much change my goals as much as it enabled me to better pursue those goals I already had.

What were your favorite aspects about your time in the Lynch School?

I said this already, but the people I was in the program with, hands down. To be surrounded by other people with similar values and working towards similar goals, but with such diverse experiences, that was a real gift. I would also say the access to the research and the ideas that we had. It was a luxury (and one my family helped afford me) to spend time investigating, learning, questioning deeply about my work and about education.

What were the things you remember most fondly about living in the Boston area?

I have been living and working in Massachusetts for many years now, so I already think it is a great place – I just feel fortunate that the opportunity to study at BC was so close at hand.

Were there any faculty members at BC that had a particularly strong impact on you?

That’s a tough question to answer, because mentioning one always feels like leaving out others. I do remember that our cohort’s first BC class was with Dr. Diana Pullin - she was honest with us from the first moment that one of her goals was to indoctrinate us to the rigor of a doctoral program. And she did! But I think each one of us looks back on that experience with great appreciation. She helped us to grow as thinkers and communicators, and I know that helps me each day.

What advice do you have for any prospective graduate students at BC?

Know why you are entering into the work. The faculty and the work itself will ask a lot of you, and I think it is really important to have a sense of purpose that will ground you and motivate you. And make sure you have the support of your family, those you share your life with. My wife and my three kids made sacrifices to support my work in the program – I couldn’t have done it without them.

Can you speak about your current position and the work that you do (as well as future plans)?

I just started in July as the Assistant Superintendent for the Sudbury Public Schools in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where I am primarily responsible for the Teaching and Learning program in the district. It is a fantastic opportunity to work with teachers and administrators each day on how we can best support rigorous, equity, and joyful learning in the classroom. It’s pretty special.