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Kinder departs Somerville school system

Posted by Marcia Dick  August 22, 2011 10:05 AM

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About Us - Our Schools, Our City local cable TV show.png

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Gretchen Kinder appears on the local eduction channel's "Our Schools, Our City" with Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi.


Somerville's 4,800 or so students will return to class Sept. 7 without one of their central administration champions: Gretchen Kinder, public information officer, grant writer, and research and development coordinator.

Kinder is joining Raising a Reader Massachusetts as its director of development and strategic growth, she said in an interview. The organization promotes early literacy through families reading together.

Kinder joined the Somerville schools five-plus years ago "because of an interest in supporting kids and families through education," she said. The new job will "allow me to continue along that path," toward her eventual goal of becoming executive director of a nonprofit.

Though the multipronged nature of Kinder's Somerville job has caused raised eyebrows at times, Kinder saw the roles as all of one piece. "Good fund-raising, good grant-writing requires good PR," she said. "Private funders, they have to know what we're doing."

Considering her accomplishments, "[I] feel like we've done some really great work about improving our communication" with constituents, Kinder said: the team now understands the importance of getting the word out. She regrets that she won't be able to see "the completion of the next phase of the website" — which is redoing the navigation based on user feedback.

Additionally, Kinder pointed to the US Department of Agriculture's recognition for the schools' healthy food options and to a new partnership with Cradles to Crayons. The latter will provide "shoes and coats and art supplies" to "every single student" in the K-6 grades at the Argenziano, East Somerville, and Winter Hill schools on opening day, she said, 1,500 in all.

The district also has a back-to-school supply drive planned with Whole Foods in Cambridge to benefit the Kennedy elementary school, while Cross Country Automotive Services of Medford is donating supplies to needy children at that school.

In all, the change is bittersweet: "I've loved almost every day of my job," she said. "It's the right move for me professionally but I feel we are ... doing really incredible work for kids."

The district is currently reviewing resumes for the position.

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