The Burlington School Department has named a new Director of Special Education.
Christina Cicolini, who was made the Interim Director of Special Education for the past year, was officially appointed to the position during last week’s School Committee meeting.
“I wanted to thank Mrs. Cicolini for her work this year as Interim Director,” Superintendent Eric Conti said. “It’s a very challenging position. It really impacts all classrooms across the district and there is a lot of staff and resources dedicated to special education so I am very pleased working with Christina and strongly recommend the School Committee support her appointment to Director of Special Education.
Cicolini began her career in Woburn public schools during which time she achieved a Master’s in Special Education from Salem State. She arrived in Burlington approximately 16 years ago starting off as a middle school special education teacher. After her first year she became the elementary school team chair, working at all four schools. Wanting to get some secondary education experience she became the team chair of the department at Burlington High School and then added department head to her resume.
Cicolini told BCAT during her time as Interim Director that she enjoys working in the district.
“I love working here in Burlington,” she said. “I like working with all the faculty and staff and I feel there is a lot of collaboration. Also my own kids attend Burlington Public Schools so I understand both aspects as a parent and as an administrator and wanting the best for our children so they can be successful and to receive all the experiences they should receive. It’s not only about the reading, writing and math but all the other experiences that make education great for a student.”
She also said she was happy to be named the permanent director.
“I’m very happy to accept the position of Director of Special Education and I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue in the role,” she told the School Committee. “This past year I did a lot of listening to teachers, administrators and parents and as I listened and reviewed data I began to understand the difficulties and impact that COVID had over the past two years at every grade level. I’m hoping to support everybody in providing the best opportunities possible for our students moving forward.”
Finally, members of the committee said they were glad she was continuing in the role and that they would support her in what is a difficult job.
“Congratulations on having what I consider to be the most difficult job in the entire school system,” member Christine Monaco said. “In your position you represent a large minority of students who are really dependent on you for their futures. And when a parent goes to a meeting with you, you either make their day or make them unhappy. You’re the person they call when their non-verbal child is not treated well. You’re the person they call when their child is isolated and practicing alone on the other end of the football field because they can’t keep up with the kids who don’t have special needs. Your job has a huge emotional impact on so many families and parents and I just want you to know that we’re here to support you and I hope you do a really great job. I’m sure you’re up to the task.”