Angel Charles is unanimous choice for Director of Student Services

By Felicity Zhang  CCHS ‘25, Junior Editor-in-Chief and Community Liaison for The Voice student newspaper
March 23, 2023

On March 7, the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District held a public interview with Angel Charles, the current principal of Thoreau Elementary School. The unanimous choice for the Director of Student Services by the search committee, she shared insight into her past experiences in special education and her visions for progress on a district-wide level. The interview was conducted by superintendent Dr. Laurie Hunter, who compiled questions from the community.

During the interview, Charles explained that although her experience in education is abundant, education was not the career path she had initially anticipated. As an undergraduate, she majored in political science and had dreams of going to law school and becoming a district attorney. But after serving in City Year, she decided on a career in education.

She studied at Boston College and the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars and taught for years at a Boston bilingual school. 

When her family moved to the MetroWest area, Charles got a job as principal at the Thoreau School where she has served for about eight years. Charles calls it a “labor of love” and explains that she views her work as a privilege. She created an integrated preschool, where,“the student population we were serving were making us better and we didn’t want to lose them,” she said. 

Subsequently, she and co-workers instituted a co-teaching model with all teachers, including specialists being tri-certified in special education, their subject area, and English Language (EL). Charles cites this feat as “incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding.” Eventually they added a middle school component.

Looking ahead at her new district-wide position, Charles notes the importance of collaboration and communication. She envisions professional development to connect with the faculty and staff. 

“We’re ripe for more alignment,” she said. 

Charles cited professional development, over-the-shoulder coaching, and collaboration with staff from another building. 

“Conflict can arise when there’s the absence of clarity around expectations, so I think being very transparent and effectively communicating the vision, the goals, the responsibilities is essential,” she said. 

“We’re all working in the same direction for us to feel successful as educators and therefore to ensure that our students are working towards their highest potential,” she said.

Charles also discussed Child Find or identifying students with dyslexia, structured versus balanced literacy and the various types of instruction necessary to foster students who are passionate and proficient lifelong readers. 

She shared that at Thoreau, she has witnessed many success stories of children breaking through, such as finally getting to hear a non-speaking student’s voice for the first time.

“It blew me away,” she said.