The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Teachers who have taught for 20+ years

Thousands of students have walked through the halls and campus on the way to the classes of teachers Marcie Miller, Danielle Rabina and Steve Lantos.

Every September, the first day of school marks the entry of new teachers to the high school. Yet, every year, there is another group of teachers, a group who knows the building better than most. Over their tenures here, these teachers have come to appreciate the diversity, opportunity and creativity within the walls of the school.

Social studies teacher Marcie Miller has been teaching for 24 years. Originally from a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, Miller attended Skidmore College and came to Boston to earn a dual master’s degree in history and education at Boston College. For Miller, the high school is more than just a place of work.

“I feel like I’ve grown up here. I was here when I was 23 [and] I’m now 48. I grew up here, with the colleagues that are still here,” Miller said. “I was in my twenties, and then I was in my thirties, and then I got married and had kids. I’ve grown up, in a way, at work.”

Chemistry teacher Steve Lantos has been teaching for 39 years. He also graduated from the high school in 1980 and went on to attend Michigan University, where he studied neurobiology. In 1984, Lantos returned to Brookline, began teaching and never looked back.

“A friend of mine, who I also went to college with [and] who was from Brookline, said, ‘Hey, you should go by the high school and get a job [as a] substitute teacher.’ That was when I first came here in 1984, and I loved it,” Lantos said. “The conversations that you have with kids are powerful and it’s what got me into teaching. It’s [about] the conversation you’re meant to have as an educator, and mine is with teenagers.”

Aside from his four years at Michigan University, Lantos has spent much of his educational and professional life teaching. Lantos recalled some humorous interactions he experienced after returning to the high school in the fall of 1984, just four years after he had graduated.

“I remember going into the cafeteria sometime that fall and I knew all the teachers there. I remember some English teacher came up to me and said, ‘This is for teachers only,’” Lantos said. “It was a teacher’s lounge, and I thought, ‘Oh, I should probably grow a beard.’”

Over his time here, Lantos has watched the community grow and evolve, while also observing the many ways in which it has stayed refreshingly the same.

“It really is a diverse place, and I mean diverse in every sense: different religions and different ethnicities. We used to have over 60 flags hanging in the cafeteria representing students’ different nationalities in as many languages,” Lantos said. “Even then, easily one-third or more of the student body spoke English as a second language. You only realize it when you leave here that this high school is really a microcosm of our larger society.”

Math teacher Danielle Rabina began teaching in 1989. She grew up in New York and attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she majored in civil engineering. After college, she moved to Boston and began working as a software engineer. That same year, Rabina decided to make the shift to teaching.

Rabina said that one of the things she appreciates most about the high school is the degree of curricular freedom that teachers are granted.

“Teachers are trusted to do what works for their students in their classroom, and we have a lot more freedom than many schools offer in terms of how to structure our lessons,” Rabina said. “We are encouraged to think outside the box and try new things. I like to be a little wacky, so that works for me.”

While this model of curricular freedom is often exercised by individual teachers in their respective classrooms, Miller said it also allows teachers to collaborate with one another when adapting curricula and creating new courses.

“I love that we can start new initiatives and run with them when we want to, instead of having to fit into a very strict curricular mold,” Miller said. “We’ve added courses like American Studies that combine different subjects so that we can do things that make sense across departments. There are so many opportunities, especially for the history department, to collaborate with other departments.”

The high school has maintained many of its foundational practices over the course of these teachers’ tenures. However, Rabina said there are always ways in which the high school has profoundly grown.

“We’ve taken some really great steps with making our “Days of” some incredibly valuable experiences. It’s been really cool to see the growth of those over two decades and the inclusion of more important topics,” Rabina said. “We have given more opportunities for student voices. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I’ve seen a lot of progress.”

In a school as large as the high school, one of the integral pieces of these teachers’ experiences has been the relationships they have cultivated with co-workers and students.

“Somehow the high school attracts really cool people to work with, both students and staff. Even though I’ve seen people come and go over the years, I’m always learning from people around me,” Rabina said. “That is awesome, [and] I feel super lucky for that.”

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