Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Announces New School Director

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School has announced that, after a nationwide search, the school's new director will be Dr. Sue Das.

"Dr. Sue Das is the right person at the right time for Steiner, as we go through a vitally important transition in our school's history," said Chris Lee, president of the Steiner School Board of Trustees and a member of the school director search committee. "She brings extraordinary knowledge as an educator, deep experience as an administrator, and wisdom from her rich and meaningful life story. Combine all this with her fresh perspective, quiet confidence and compassion for children, and we will have a very strong leader to help guide our future."

An experienced global educator, Dr. Das has broad teaching, literacy, and leadership experience in primary, secondary, and higher educational settings. Skilled in curriculum alignment and development, and holistic assessment frameworks, she is an international presenter in literacy topics.

A native of Calcutta, India, Dr. Das brings to her position at the Steiner School a deep commitment to equity and social justice in teaching and learning. She has worked as a board member and a volunteer to create international literacy initiatives for non-profits, including Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.


Dr. Das earned her Ph.D in language, literacy and learning from Fordham University in New York and holds master of arts degrees in both teaching (N-6) and reading (K-12) from Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., as well as a master of arts degree in English from the University of Calcutta and a bachelor of arts degree in English from Saint Xavier's College in Calcutta, India. Dr. Das holds a certificate of advanced educational leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and has completed educational leadership training at the Vanderbilt University Peabody School of Education, The Children's School, Fairfield University, and Kingswood Oxford School. Most recently, Dr. Das was a fellow at the National Association of Independent School's Aspiring Heads Institute.

Dr. Das comes to the Steiner School from the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., an independent, college preparatory day school providing character-based education for boys in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. At Brunswick, Dr. Das has served as a teacher and administrator since 1998 and currently serves as the co-director of the Brunswick Faculty Institute, an in-house professional development program. Throughout her career, she has championed linguistics, literacy, early childhood, special education, action research and STEAM, for which she received her teaching certification in 2015. Dr. Das's teaching experience includes gifted, remedial, and other elementary education programs for children from pre-K through grade 8, as well as adjunct professorships in language and literacy at Queens College of Education, Manhattanville College of Education, and Iona College of Education.

Commenting on her appointment as Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Director, Dr. Das writes, "In my own life, I strive to be a global citizen and have been blessed with truly remarkable teachers. These authentic relationships and experiences, coupled with my own sense of calling in my work, have brought me to this unique haven that is the Steiner School. I have seldom seen the absolute and pure joy, excitement, commitment and passion for education that I've seen at Steiner. As the Director, I am looking forward to being part of the Steiner School fabric — to grow and learn alongside the community, as well as continue the work of educating the 'whole child' in the 21st century."

The Steiner School will host a "meet the director" event on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. All current and prospective families and interested members of the community are invited to meet Dr. Das to learn more about her vision for the school. Dr. Das will formally begin her role as school director on July 1, 2019.

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It's World Breastfeeding Week

By Kate Hylan

This week, Aug. 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, a global campaign to support, raise awareness and engage in conversations about breastfeeding.

At Community Health Programs and Barrington OB/GYN, we strive to help our patients feel informed and supported in their breastfeeding journeys. We have a team of lactation consultants, certified nurse-midwives, doctors, and nurse practitioners who are ready, willing and able to answer any breastfeeding questions and help our patients succeed in reaching their goals. In fact, many of us have breastfed (or are breastfeeding) our own babies and/or supported partners; so we can speak from both clinical and personal experience.

We understand that breastfeeding exclusively is not an option for some moms. We are also here to support these moms in ensuring babies' nutrition.

Breastfeeding is one of the most important actions a family can take in order to provide a baby with the best start possible in life. It is recommended to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of baby's life and to continue breastfeeding until at least the child's first birthday. Breastmilk includes cells, hormones and antibodies to help protect babies. This mixture is unique and ever-changing with a baby’s growing needs throughout their early life.

Babies who are breastfed are at lower risk of many childhood illnesses and diseases including asthma, obesity, ear infections, childhood leukemia, type 2 diabetes, eczema, lower respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

For mom, breastfeeding can help to decrease postpartum blood loss, promote maternal-infant bonding and decrease risks of type 2 diabetes and ovarian cancer. Plus, breastfeeding can burn as much as 500 calories a day, promoting healthy, sustained weight loss! In addition, formula costs on average $1,500 and $1,800 per year, so it is can be a big money saver.

Breastfeeding has enumerable benefits for both mother and baby, but it truly does take a family effort to be successful. For moms, breastfeeding is a full-time job! A year of breastfeeding calculates as almost the exact same hours as working a 40 hour workweek, with three weeks' vacation – both nearly 2,000 hours a year.

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