Summer is coming to an end, but Verano (Spanish for summer) is headed to the Hurley K-8 School.
Bethy Verano, formerly the assistant headmaster of Boston Latin School, has taken the reins from outgoing Principal Marjorie Soto to lead the tight-knit, dual-language neighborhood school.
The Hurley has quickly become one of the favorite schools of the South End and the downtown neighborhoods, and flourished in Spanish and English under Soto – who left this summer to become part of new Supt. Brenda Cassellius’s leadership team.
Verano came to the United States, and Boston, from Colombia when she was 12, starting at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain. There, she said, an astute teacher helped her and her mother understand the complicated structure of BPS, and how to apply for a test for the exam schools. Trying to learn English and re-establish herself as strong student in a new country, Verano said she has the perspective of an administrator and a student trying to learn a new language.
“I would say the dual-language aspect is the reason I decided to try my hand at being a principal for this school,” she said. “Dual-language schools made a big difference for me getting acclimated to Boston and the U.S. dual-language schools have come a long way from when I came in. I think it’s great for all communities, whether learning English or Spanish. It helps to understand the culture and the language. It’s so much of what we need today.”
Verano graduated from John D. O’Bryant High School, and after college, worked for the Bell Foundation for more than 10 years, specifically with elementary school kids and parents. From there, she was recruited to work at Madison Park High School and helped to straighten out some things there for about three years. It was there where she was encouraged to apply for the position at BLS. That position, she said, involved supporting all of the clubs and activities, yet also serving as the discipline officer for the school.
Now, she said she feels like she’s coming back home to the younger kids.
Her perspective having been a BPS student, and also as a BPS student trying to learn English after immigrating to the U.S., will give her a very unique perspective, she said.
“I think for me in working with students, it’s been helpful to have that perspective,” she said. “I know what it is to be in a classroom where you understand the English, but don’t know the words to respond. I spent my first year at O’Bryant really not speaking. It gives me a little bit of understanding with what students might be going through.”
Verano has been visiting with parents and looks forward to getting to know families and children better. She said she has already heard that getting better communication up and running will be important.
“One thing I’ve heard loud and clear is the need for information,” she said. “Parents want to know what’s going on in the building and what’s new at the school.”
The Hurley K-8 begins its new school term today, Sept. 5, along with the rest of Boston Public Schools.