BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH LHS HEAD OF SCHOOL FINALIST
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The following is biographical information about each of the three finalists for the Head of School position at Lowell High School - Ian Charles, Michael Fiato, and Sara Pragluski Walsh. The biographies are presented in alphabetical order:
Ian N. Charles began his career in education as a long-term substitute teacher in 1998 serving the Lowell Public School community in the field of special education, humanities and social studies. He worked at the Rogers, Robinson and Pyne Arts while attending the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in the evening. He was a resident of Lowell during his time within the district. His children attended the Pyne Arts School after returning from Florida where he continued his career in education at Olympia High School as a history and economics instructor. He later returned to Massachusetts where he served as a social science instructor at the Peabody Middle School in Cambridge. While working at the Peabody Middle School, Mr. Ian Charles attended Cambridge College in the evening as he pursued a career in education administration. He was hired as an interim assistant principal at the Healy Middle School in Somerville. He was given a permanent placement as the assistant principal of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School.
He was later hired in Medford to help lead the McGlynn Middle School. His exceptional work as an educational leader got the attention of the Medford Public School community and district administration. He was appointed assistant principal of Medford High school where he oversaw the successful transition of the incoming freshmen class of more than 325 students. His work got the attention from a Charter School in Dorchester where he later served as principal of Codman Academy.
Ian Nigel Charles achieved a B.A. in field of public policy and administration with a concentration in political science from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell class of ’99. Mr. Charles also holds an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell class of ’02. He also holds a Certificate of Advance Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) from Cambridge College Class of ’11 with a concentration in administrative policy and school reform. Ian N. Charles is currently a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies in the field of administrative leadership. He holds a Massachusetts certification in educational leadership for grades 5-12. He also holds a Massachusetts certification as a superintendent for grades k-12.
Michael Fiato is a passionate and visionary educator with over 20 years of experience in the field of public education. Currently, Michael serves as a Targeted Assistance Manager for the StateWide System of Support at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Michael partners with schools and districts that have schools identified as requiring assistance and intervention on the state accountability system.
Prior to joining DESE, Michael served as the Headmaster of Lawrence High School, and has extensive knowledge of school improvement, redesign, and turnaround practices at the secondary level. In his role as headmaster, Michael was instrumental in developing an early college program, and career pathways for students. This model includes an internship program 2 partnering with the public and private sector and the development of career pathways where students have opportunities to deeply explore specific industry and career related themes. Fueled by a belief that ALL students should have access to high quality academic and enrichment programming he also expanded opportunities through better funding and support for theater, music and the arts.
Prior to serving as Headmaster, Michael served as a principal of one of the six high schools at Lawrence High for eight years. During that time, his school increased the graduation rate and reduced the dropout rate, and consistently improved academic outcomes on the statewide accountability system. Over the course of his career, Michael served in a variety of roles including academic dean, athletic coach, academy administrator, principal and headmaster. Michael draws his passion for public education, equity and social justice from his roots in community organizing and youth development in the early stages of his career. He firmly believes that high schools should ensure that all students graduate with a dignified next step in the form of a post secondary plan that will propel them into success in the 21st century.
SARA PRAGLUSKI WALSH
Sara Pragluski Walsh, Ed.D currently serves as Principal of Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS). She holds a teaching license in biology and mathematics, with an intense focus on physiology. Dr. Walsh has continued to expand her professional educational career through her roles as an Associate Principal, Assistant Principal, and Principal for Springfield Public Schools.
Dr. Walsh has attained experiential professional growth through her work as a master scheduler for buildings providing increased opportunity and access for all students to enroll in advanced coursework. She has also worked with Turn Around and Sustainability Practices through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) winning awards during this time for marked improvements on specific critical markers and overall schoolwide improvement.
She has modeled her love of learning by attaining her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Supervision from American International College and holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
As a leader, Dr. Walsh is described as energized, one who both sets and models high expectations while supporting others to reach beyond their own expectations. She truly believes in and is passionate about empowering others with education and models being a life-long learner. Dr. Walsh is committed and motivated to bring an academically excellent experience to all stakeholders and her peers praise her ability to collaborate, engage, and inspire as well as successfully communicate.
The arts and extracurricular are equally important to develop excellent academic experiences which she showcases through her personal passions. Dr. Walsh has a lifelong love of the arts in which she speaks about her amazing experiences as a student in art classes, orchestra, and the marching band. She works to inspire her own children with this same love.
She credits her many successes to her amazing experience as a student in Springfield Public Schools through the diversity, supports, and opportunities. This experience led her back to both 3 teach and lead in her hometown during the initial part of her educational career. Her interests in physiology and mathematics have helped hone her athletic training in which she is a retired three-time World Class Ironman triathlete, ten-time competitor, as well as an award-winning marathon and ultramarathon runner.
Finally, Dr. Walsh looks forward to the opportunities presented every day to both be a part of the learning and lead the learning in a safe, collaborative, and inclusive manner.