Meet the Admissions Committee
At Commonwealth, teachers play an important role in the admissions process. In addition to meeting faculty members at open houses, you might also chat with one of them at an admissions fair or during your interview. Along with the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid and the Assistant Director of Admissions, our admissions committee includes several teachers and a parent of an alumnus; these individuals know the school well and can draw on deep knowledge of Commonwealth’s culture and programs when determining the fit between an applicant and our school. In assessing applicants’ interests and abilities, teachers in particular can look for subtle signs of talent that will flourish under the right circumstances. Here’s what committee members have to say about Commonwealth:
Ms. Carrie Healy
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
Ninth Grade Class Advisor
I came to Commonwealth because of the surprising (and welcome) combination of high-level intellectual engagement and delightful sense of humor I found here. I was also pleased to find a school in which teachers actively contribute to the admissions process. Our faculty members see it not only as a responsibility but as a privilege to get to know our applicants—your strengths, interests, and hopes—and help you and us determine how you might contribute to the life of the school. There’s a spirit of connectedness at Commonwealth—among students, between teachers and students, among faculty and staff, and between seemingly disparate academic disciplines—that I hope you witness from your very first visit. It’s a joy for me to see how students from so many different backgrounds come together to create, explore, share, and debate. And it all starts with admissions.
Ms. Lindsay Ewing
Assistant Director of Admissions
During my first visit, I was immediately impressed by the palpable warmth, curiosity, and passion of the Commonwealth community. I hope you will detect that same sense of familiarity when you step through our heavy, wooden door. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors regularly make connections across grade levels, disciplines, and extracurriculars such that each day stretches and challenges them differently than the last. It is a privilege to share Commonwealth with applicants and their families and to get to know such promising and exuberant young people.
Ms. Gabrielle Coffman
I found myself always talking about Commonwealth to people who had not yet found us and raving about it. Commonwealth is a treasure I hope to share with those who will recognize its value. I want to make the admissions process fun rather than cumbersome; we really want to get to know you and you us. By spending more than one day with us, in our classrooms, lunchroom, and cozy spaces, you’ll see all of the special things going on inside these urban walls.
Mr. Don Conolly *on sabbatical fall of 2017
Classics and History Teacher
Ninth Grade Class Advisor
College-level classes taught by master teachers with decades of experience educating the brightest, most engaged students in the Boston area in a supportive and collaborative community: that is the essence of Commonwealth School to me. It would be hard to exaggerate the level of discourse and excitement that percolates through the halls and staircases of these old brownstones; the atmosphere reminds me of a great Renaissance workshop. As a teacher of Classics since 2001, I relish the chance to glimpse during the admissions process that special spark of intellectual passion that so characterizes students here.
Ms. Melissa Glenn Haber ’87; P’15, ’19, ’19
History and City of Boston Teacher
Model UN and Diversity Committee Advisor
I volunteered for admissions because students are at the heart of what makes Commonwealth School such a vibrant and invigorating environment. Commonwealth is not a prep school in the sense that its only goal is to prepare students to get into a good college. It is something more important: a place where creative people get together with the works of other creative people (some far away in space and time) and think about how science, art, philosophy, math, music, religion, history, and all the rest might help us live an interesting life and create a good community. As a teacher, a parent, and an alumna, I want to help students who are looking for a place where they can take part in that essential human conversation.
Mr. Rob Sherry
When people learn that I teach math at a high school, they shake their heads and say, "what a hard job that must be." They don't know Commonwealth! Here I have the opportunity to interact with with kids who are eager to learn, work with students who relish the challenge of things that may not come easily to them, and share in their enthusiasm for new concepts and clever problems. We talk about math and other subjects, the arts, the city, and social justice. At Commonwealth, we value spending time together: listening, reflecting on what we hear, and learning from each other. In admissions, I love meeting new families, helping them learn about us, and seeing if we are a good match.
Ms. Rikita Tyson
When I had my own day visit at Commonwealth—during the job interview process—the place immediately felt like somewhere I wanted to stay: I met teachers who were passionate about their work and always thinking about how to do that work better, as well as bright, curious students who made me feel welcome in their classroom (even though I was a stranger teaching them unfamiliar material!). My first impression of Commonwealth has only strengthened with time, now that those expert, passionate teachers are my colleagues and I teach those curious students every day. Everyone here—students and faculty alike—is engaged in the process of learning as a process of discovery, not just the memorization of the "right" answers and facts. I joined admissions because I'd love to share this wonderful community with students and families who would appreciate it as much as I do!