Somerville News Weekly’s Special Person of the Week Pauline Lampropolous


Meet this week’s “Special Person of the Week” Pauline Lampropolous

By Frank Santangelo

I can’t ever remember when I didn’t want to be a teacher. The oldest of six children and the first in our family to graduate college I attended what was then State College of Boston on a trimester program the summer I graduated from Somerville High School. While goint to school I worked at White Rose Bakery on Somerville Avenue to help me with expenses as well as babysitting. I could hardly wait to begin teaching and earning real money. My first contract was a huge $5400 and I thought it was a fortune. I substituted on semester breaks to get a feel for what my life long dream would look like.


Since I finished school in September, 1967, I thought chances were slim to none that I would get a job. I would have to substitute. That certainly did not prove to be. The first grade teacher had announced that she was going on maternity leave and now there was an opening at the Brown School first grade. I had substituted at the Brown School and loved the staff and families. That is where I made some of my lifetime friends. Ellie Blute being one of them, whom I met when they condemned the Bingham School, and someone I still hold a close friendship with.  

Mr. McDonald was principal and decided that the empty third grade had my name on it and I accepted willingly because I wanted to stay at the Brown. After 15 years there, I was shocked and heart broken when they closed my third grade and as the saying goes Last one in is the first to go and that was me.


I remember when Dan Macero, the assistant superintendent of schools, called two weeks before school began in 1983 and told me I now had two choices one an eighth grade science class or the SMILE program. Science was not my first love but small children were. So I was transferred to the East Somerville Community School with three paraprofessionals. I thought what do I do with them? My paraprofessionals were my strength because they already knew the program better than I and helped me to adjust. Just when I thought all was fine Mr. Johnston, the principal, informed me they needed my space and I would be moved to the Edgerly School. I had barely got my feet wet at the East Somerville.


Off to the Edgerly in 1984, I go and made some truly special friends that I still socialize and vacation and treasure today. The Edgerly now consisted of Early Childhood Programs, Grade 1, and the Next Wave Program and Full Circle Program who were already housed there and we all worked cooperatively together. Now I finally knew I had found my home and would be here for the rest of my career. But it was not to be.


That was when administration decided with 300 young children in the building they needed an administrator. Since I held an administrators’ certification I won the dubious honor of being a teaching assistant principal. Only with the help of my colleagues and paraprofessionals was I able to manage two classes of 25 four year olds and an administrator’s position. Thank God I was much younger then. My friends rallied around me and helped to make it work. When the decision was made to put a principal full time at the Edgerly certainly I didn’t want that responsibility.


I was then transferred to the Arthur D. Healey School to be an assistant to Bill Driscoll.

Well that’s life! I had to leave my friends and move on. I met an incredibly talented group of teachers and staff there. Now the new challenges began because the Healey was being demolished and a new school was being built so Bill and I shared the responsibilities by driving back and forth from St Polycarp’s School to the Conwell School, which were at two opposite ends of the city.

We finally moved into our modern new school, which was state of the art for that time. Shortly after getting things up and running smoothly, Bill announced that he would be retiring. I was sad to see him go because I felt we made a good team, but I would be supportive to the new principal when he/she was appointed. NOT! I had a choice to transfer as assistant principal to another school or throw my hat in the ring for one of the three principalships that were vacant .


The rest of the story is modern history. Some people had more faith in me than I did in myself.

I was appointed the principal of the West Somerville Neighborhood School on Powder House Boulevard, returning to my old neighborhood where I had attended the former Cutler School as a child. My assistant became Eileen Morsett who had grown up on the next street to my family. We had both returned to the beginnings of our education. My life had made a complete circle. It was a great forty -two years and if I could go back I wouldn’t change any of the adventures of my career.


We here at the Somerville News Weekly salute you for everything that you do to make Somerville a better place. 



2 thoughts on “Somerville News Weekly’s Special Person of the Week Pauline Lampropolous”

  1. such a good choice…Pauline is one of the best. Somerville’s children were so lucky to have her. She is an insperation to so many.

  2. Somerville Public Schools is the great place it is today because of people like Pauline and those who love Somerville

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.