Meet Commonwealth's New Alumni/ae Association Presidents

Meet Commonwealth's New Alumni/ae Association Presidents

Our alumni/ae are integral members of the Commonwealth School community—gathering for fellowship and fun, mentoring current students for Project Week, and contributing to the vitality of the school in myriad other ways.

All alumni/ae are members of the Commonwealth School Alumni/ae Association (CWSAA). A dedicated CWSAA board plans and coordinates the association's work and events.

This year, we are pleased to announce two new CWSAA presidents: Rachel Salzman '87, P'24, and Isaac Slavitt '04. Get to know this dynamic duo below...

Rachel Salzman '87, P'24

What town do you live in?

Brookline, Massachusetts

What do you do for work? 

I am a publicist at W. W. Norton & Company, publisher of the Norton Anthologies, Norton Critical Editions, and many other wonderful books and teaching texts with which Commonwealth students and faculty may be familiar!

What are some of your hobbies? 

Whenever I can, I try to get outside and walk. I love exploring Boston and other cities on foot.

What was your favorite class at Commonwealth? 

When I was a student, Rebecca Folkman taught a French film class that was superb. Her enthusiasm for language and film was infectious. And I looked forward to all of the art classes and spent a lot of time in the studios painting and drawing.

What was a memorable Project Week experience? 

My senior year, I traveled to Florida to work at a school for the children of migrant farm workers, which was an incredible experience. 

Related: Sign up to become a project mentor.

What inspired you to take on a leadership role in CWSAA? 

The emphasis that Commonwealth places on intellectual engagement and spirited discussion is very important to me. And I love the idea that CWSAA is a forum in which we can remain engaged with the school in this way as we work to strengthen student and alumni/ae relationships.

What do you hope to accomplish as co-president for CWSAA? 

My hope is that we can establish some new pathways for current students to connect with alumni, and also find some new and interesting ways for alumni to connect with one another.

Isaac Slavitt '04

What town do you live in?

Malden, Massachusetts

What do you do for work?

I'm a data scientist, and help run a small data science and software consultancy that works mainly with nonprofits and NGOs.

What are some of your hobbies? Have you discovered anything new during quarantine?

My free time is mostly spent outside with our four- and two-year-olds, but every now and then I get a few minutes to read books, my only real hobby. During quarantine we have finally explored more of the Middlesex Fells hiking trails, which was long overdue.

What was your favorite class at Commonwealth?

Any English class with Eric Davis would easily count, and I was fortunate enough to have three separate years of them. Steven Young's "Individual, State, and Community" was another highlight—reading Mill, Rawls, and Nozick side by side generated a quality and intensity of debate that was rarely rivaled in any subsequent classes, including higher ed.

What was a memorable Project Week experience?

My freshman Project Week was spent at a recording studio down by Fenway. I was a glorified coffee fetcher, but I got to learn how all the equipment worked and met Steven Tyler, the New England Revolution soccer team, and some local TV celebrities who were there to record radio ads or redub lines.

What inspired you to take on a leadership role in CWSAA?

It has been fun being part of CWSAA for the last couple of years, particularly getting to talk to alums from different periods of time and hearing about the role Commonwealth played for them. When the association had a leadership opening, I was glad to help out.

What do you hope to accomplish as co-president for CWSAA?

I'm looking forward to experimenting with some new ideas for connecting alumni/ae of all different time periods. In addition to creating affinity groups for members with similar interests, it would be great to set up some structured and well-scoped opportunities for alumni of all years to mentor current students in their educational or career aspirations, or for early career alumni/ae to contribute to one another's professional development. I'd be grateful to hear from anyone who has seen this kind of program executed well by their college or postgraduate alumni associations.

The first CWSAA meeting of the year is on Tuesday, October 13, at 6:00 p.m. EST (via Zoom). If you are interested in joining the CWSAA board and attending meetings this year, please email Carly Renshaw.