New Somerville High School Headmaster Talks About Upcoming Year
John Oteri, Somerville High School's new headmaster, talked about the upcoming school year. Nearly 20 percent of the school's staff are new, and there are some new programs, too, he said.
When Somerville High School students begin the school year on Sept. 5, they'll notice a number of new faces at the school.
To begin with, they'll have a new headmaster. John Oteri isn't exactly a new face, having served as an assistant principal since 2007 and, before that, as a social studies teacher since 1999, but this is his first fall as headmaster.
"It's been great; it's been a wild ride," Oteri said of his first two months on the job. He officially took over from former headmaster, Tony Ciccariello, on July 1.
"Everyone's very enthusiastic," he said of starting the new school year.
His first two months have been busy. "We've done a tremendous amount of hiring here," he said.
In fact, Somerville High School will have 26 people who are new to the school or assuming new roles at the school, Oteri said. Of those, the majority, 21, "are brand new faces to the Somerville School District," he said. There are a handful of new aides and para-professionals, too. In all, nearly 20 percent of the staff will be new to the school or in new roles, he said.
Oteri said the experience of hiring so many educators has been "really special and really exciting."
Oteri said he looks forward to being a visible, approachable and accessible headmaster. "I'm certainly going to be active and permanent in their lives," he said of how students will fair under his leadership. He's emphasized to his teaching staff that, "You are going to be teaching my kids."
Mandarin, music and dental
One of the big new programs is Mandarin, Oteri said.
The school has also added some music classes, and it's starting a dental assistant program this year—working to develop the curriculum so that students can officially join the program next year.
Educating the whole student
Oteri said the high school will continue to focus on educating the "whole student," referring to the emotional, social and academic wellbeing of students.
He also pointed to programs like the schools "Let's Get Ready" SAT preparation program and the health professionals program as things the school will continue.
"The trajectory the high school and the city is on is a good one," he said.