Falmouth Interim Principal Lands Permanent Position At Lawrence
By: ELIZABETH W. SAITO, May 13, 2014
Lawrence School interim principal Mary W. Gans will be staying put.
Superintendent Bonny L. Gifford announced on May 7 that Ms. Gans was selected from a “pool of several strong applicants” for the principal position.
Ms. Gans has been the interim principal since August of last year, when previous principal Nancy R. Taylor left to become the district’s director of pupil personnel services.
Speaking in her office yesterday, Ms. Gans said that her goals as principal will be raising academic standards and promoting a positive school culture.
“Even though Lawrence is a Level 1 school, there’s always room for improvement,” Ms. Gans said. She hopes to lower achievement gaps for low-income, special education and minority students.
“And I want students and faculty to enjoy coming to school, make it a positive experience,” she said.
A survey of staff members showed that Ms. Gans “has the support of the Lawrence School community,” Dr. Gifford wrote in a press release.
Ms. Gans, 50, had worked as a lawyer for most of her career, first as a medical malpractice defense lawyer at a Boston firm, and then in private practice doing school and special education law.
But Ms. Gans said she always really wanted to work in education. Out of college, she said, she was accepted to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, but her father, a superintendent, urged her to go to law school, which she did.
Ms. Gans married and had three daughters. In 1999 she moved with her family from Weston to Falmouth.
“For years I said I wished I went to graduate school for education,” she said. Her husband encouraged her that it was not too late to change paths.
And so in 2007 she enrolled in a master’s of education program at Bridgewater State University. “I was working full time as a lawyer, had three kids, and crammed the master’s in,” she said.
In 2011, she became a guidance counselor at Lawrence School, which houses grades 7 and 8. The next year she was promoted to assistant principal, and from there to interim principal.
Did Ms. Gans make more money as a lawyer? “Oh, yeah—but I love the school environment, and I love this age. Working with adolescents is my passion.”
Ms. Gans said she is glad that while practicing education law she decided not to take clients from Falmouth. At the time, all her children attended the Falmouth schools, and she did not want to put herself in an “adversarial position” with the district. This was also a bonus when applying for the guidance counselor job, she said.
“Luckily, I didn’t take Falmouth cases,” Ms. Gans said.