REAL Coalition


The REAL Coalition provides leadership and guidance on eliminating barriers to racial equity and supporting the advancement of all learners in the Needham Public Schools. As Ambassadors for REAL, the Coalition is committed to engaging the staff, students, families, and community members in conversations and actions that promote equitable practices for all in our community.

The members of the REAL Coalition have a sense of urgency to address issues raised in the District's 2018 Equity Audit Report and to answer these essential questions:
-How do we engage and educate the community, staff, students and parents on the importance of developing and supporting educational practices that provide equity and excellence for all students?
-What do we need to do in order to have an interdisciplinary approach to race and equity that becomes part of the fabric of who we are as a school system?
-How do we create a safe environment for having difficult conversations?

Below is an accounting of the timeframe and key steps taken by the REAL Coalition in response to the Equity Audit findings and in support of all learners.

December 2017-January 2018:
REAL Coalition convenes to gain understanding of Equity Audit initial findings from consultant's presentation to School Committee, and Coalition establishes next steps.

February 2018:
REAL Coalition coordinates professional development for district to increase awareness and prepare staff to respond to findings of the audit.

March 2018:
Superintendent and REAL Coalition members hold meetings for district staff to react to March 2018 publication of full Equity Audit Report.

March-May 2018:
REAL Coalition sub-committees formed to develop goals across 6 areas identified in the Equity Audit Report. (See links on left to areas being worked on "In Support of Equity")

June 2018:
REAL Coalition expands to include representatives of the student body, teachers, parents, and School Committee; finalizes goals and establishes next steps with this expanded group. (See REAL Coalition members listed on right-hand side of page.)

September 2018-June 2019 and beyond:
REAL Coalition meets several times per year to address challenges, check in on district progress toward prioritized goals, and deepen members' understanding of issues related to race, equity, and access as a leadership group. We hold ourselves accountable through district and school improvement plans and we continue to report to the School Committee and the community on progress.

REAL Coalition Members:

Includes the REAL Steering Committee
supported by representative students,
educators, and community members 

Steering Committee

Dan Gutekanst, Superintendent
Mary Lammi, Asst. Superintendent
Alex McNeil, Asst. Superintendent
Carmen Williams, Asst. Superintendent
Joanne Allen-Willoughby, METCO
James Ash, NHS Guidance
Alison Coubrough-Argentieri, NHS
Steve Plasko, NHS
Jamie Singelais, ELL
Chris Dancy, High Rock
Brooke Kessel, Middle Schools
Karen Bourn, Eliot
Diane Simmons, Strategic Planning


Adonai Baptista (class of 2025)
Ananya Sharma (class of 2025)
Betina Mendes (class of 2024)
Boyoung Paik (class of 2024)
Campbell Keyes (class of 2024)
Ida Miles (class of 2023)
Lia Santiago (class of 2023)
Lloyd Akai-Dennis (class of 2023)
Noah Goldstein (class of 2023)


Andy Garlick
Brittani LaPorte
Bryce Worthy
Deborah Seri
Elise Morgan
Elizabeth Brown
Elyssa Schneider
Gabe Swanger
Gabriella Gonzalez
Greg Bayse
Jen Regrut
Joni Magee
Julia Manna
Karen Hwang
Kathleen Hubbard
Maria Espinoza-Sandler
Mary Bashir
Monica Carrillo
Pierre Jean
Rafael Martinez
Tammara Ceaser

Parents / Community Members

Anna Giraldo Kerr, Parent, Pollard
Beth Pinals, Equity Consultant
Beth Seidman, Parent, Newman
Erika Buckley, Parent, METCO
Jenn Scheck-Kahn, Parent (SEPAC)
Jennifer Howard Schroeder (NHRC)
Lauren Schuller, Parent, Eliot
Liz Lee, Parent, School Committee
Natalie Ho, Parent
Rebecca Waber, Parent (SEPAC)
Tina Burgos (NHRC)
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