For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Contact: BPS Communications Office
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BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang Selects Acting Headmaster of the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science as the Permanent Leader
The O'Bryant Alumna and Veteran BPS School Leader Will Build on Legacy of Success
The O'Bryant headmaster screening committee unanimously recommended Dr. Freeman-Wisdom as the finalist for the headmaster position to Superintendent Chang. The committee consisted of 11 members, including parents, teachers, members of the Boston Teachers Union and a student representative.
Under Dr. Freeman-Wisdom's leadership over the past year, the O'Bryant has received a $186,000 grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to enhance STEM education. Dr. Freeman-Wisdom has also secured a $5,000 grant from Saucony in the name of Jared Ward, an undergraduate professor at Brigham Young University, a 2016 Olympic marathoner and a Saucony athlete.. This grant will be used to support math instruction. In addition, she has worked to develop a fine arts program at the O'Bryant and empowered teachers to become leaders within the school community.
"I am thrilled that Superintendent Chang has chosen this dedicated educator as the next leader of the O'Bryant, a school she cares so passionately about," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "Dr. Freeman-Wisdom is deeply committed to building on the O'Bryant's legacy of providing students the academic excellence and skills to succeed not just in college but in life."
Dr. Freeman-Wisdom, who grew up in Dorchester and lives in Hyde Park, was the headmaster of the Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH) when Superintendent Chang last July asked her to take over as acting headmaster of the O'Bryant when its then headmaster, Nicole Gittens, stepped down to take on a deputy superintendent role in another district.
"As an O'Bryant alumna, Dr. Freeman-Wisdom is coming back to serve the school to which she has such a strong attachment. She brings with her a devotion to ensuring that all students succeed," Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill said. "She has proven to be a highly effective headmaster with strong interpersonal skills and an educational vision that puts students first."
Superintendent Chang described Dr. Freeman-Wisdom as a calm, steady leader with a track record of fostering teacher leadership by promoting a culture of respect and continuous learning.
"Dr. Freeman-Wisdom is a talented instructional leader who values the importance of building teams and involving others in the decision-making process in order to best improve student outcomes," Dr. Chang said. "Throughout her career, she's been unrelenting in her belief that every young person needs to have access to rigorous coursework and enrichment opportunities. She never loses sight of that."
Dr. Freeman-Wisdom has served the Boston Public Schools for 20 years. During her seven-year tenure at CASH, she focused on giving students the tools and motivation to succeed academically by improving school culture, increasing personalized learning, and providing early access to college courses. Under her leadership, CASH was nominated for the "Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move" award in 2013-2014.
While headmaster of CASH from 2009 to 2016, she helped the high school raise more than $700,000 in grants that were used to provide coaching to students at risk of dropping out and sustain vital programming for English Language learners and students with disabilities. She also developed critical partnerships that afforded students opportunities to learn science at Harvard University laboratories and take college-level courses at Bunker Hill Community College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
The work had a significant impact on student outcomes. During her seven years at CASH, the four-year graduation rate climbed by 29 percent, with it increasing by 20 percent in 2016 - her final year at CASH - when it rose to a high of 75.7 percent, from 55.5 percent in 2015.
Dr. Freeman-Wisdom said her mission at the O'Bryant will be to build on the school's longtime success and improve academic achievement for all of its students.
"I am excited to lead the school that shaped me as a thinker, learner, listener, and leader," Dr. Freeman-Wisdom said. "Through collaboration with students, families, teachers, and community members, my goal is to ensure all students experience a greater level of success than imagined. I am committed to fostering an environment where our core values of perseverance, respect, integrity, discipline, and excellence are demonstrated in the behaviors of all O'Bryant community members."
Francis Pina, president of the John D. O'Bryant and Boston Technical Alumni Association, said the O'Bryant community values the stability that Dr. Freeman-Wisdom has brought to her alma mater.
"I am overjoyed with this decision," he said. "Dr. Freeman-Wisdom is committed to forging strong relationships with students and staff, and she has brought a lot of ideas around how to build a stronger school culture and make students truly feel that she is invested in them as well as the school."
Dr. Freeman-Wisdom began her BPS career teaching Advanced Placement English at Hyde Park High School for 6 years. She also served as assistant headmaster of the school for two years before being named director of curriculum, assessment and placement at CASH.
A lifelong learner, Dr. Freeman-Wisdom last year received her doctorate from the Boston College Lynch School of Education's Professional School Administrator Program. She earned a Master's degree in educational leadership from Simmons College, where she has taught as an adjunct professor, and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Dr. Freeman-Wisdom and her husband, Richard Wisdom, are the proud parents of two BPS students: their daughter Nya, 11, is a 7th grader at Boston Latin School and their son, Richard Wisdom Jr., 17, will be graduating this year from Boston Latin Academy.
ABOUT BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS The Boston Public Schools (BPS), the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves nearly 57,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 125 schools. BPS is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families, and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career, and life.