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Author: Milton Academy

Melissa Roja Lawlor Named Upper School Director of Equity and Inclusion

In her new position as Upper School director of equity and inclusion, Melissa Lawlor wants all students at Milton to feel they can be their true selves. Her own journey—both personal and professional—is what brought Lawlor to this juncture in her life. Growing up, she attended an independent high school in California, and, for more than 16 years, she has served as a teacher, coach, and dorm parent at independent schools in both New York and New Hampshire. What drives her, she says, is her own experience in high school struggling to assert her identity as one of only a few students of color. “I had wonderful teachers who saw me, but institutionally it was difficult,” she says. “I felt really disconnected from my Filipino identity, and I love that part of me. But I hid it for so long in high school. So much of what I do in this office is think about ‘What do folks need to be able to embrace pieces of themselves that they feel initially they should hide at a predominantly white school?’ That’s really become the focus of my life’s work.” Lawlor arrived at Milton in July after 11 years at Brewster Academy, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where she built a DEIJ program from the ground up. Brewster, she says, was successful in attracting students of color, but had few plans in place to support them. As director of the program, Lawlor piloted the school’s first equity and inclusion program, created a faculty professional development program, developed a curriculum that included issues around identity, and established a support system for students of color. Last summer, Lawlor, with her husband, Matt, who...

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Lisa Donohue ’83, Board of Trustees President, 2015-2022

LISA DONOHUE ’83, Milton’s outgoing Board of Trustees president, has served during a period of significant growth in Milton’s history. Since 2015, Donohue has played an integral role in the implementation of Milton’s strategic plan, providing critical advice and assistance. This included supporting Milton’s capital campaign, Dare: The Campaign for Milton. The campaign helped double Milton’s endowment, expand and diversify its student body and faculty, and implement the campus master plan. A former marketing executive, Donohue served in several chief executive roles at Publicis Groupe, the world’s largest communications company, including CEO of Publicis Spine, a technology and data platform; Global Brand President of Starcom Worldwide; and CEO of Starcom USA. She now serves on several corporate boards, including Gap Inc. and NRG Energy. “Lisa has done an amazing job as Board president,” says Head of School Todd Bland, who has worked with Donohue since his appointment in 2009. “She has been my consummate supporter and, at the same time, has always pushed me to make sure I work in a way that is ultimately doing the best for Milton’s students, faculty, and staff. As a partner, she’s done an exceptional job at that balance, which is not always easy. She was the perfect leader for Milton, because she’s always thinking about how to move the institution forward, acknowledging with gratitude how many strengths we have, but always thinking about ways we can be better. That’s a balancing act that she strikes very, very...

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Senior Shiloh Liu’s Honors Bio Lab is Published

In her junior year, CHEN-CHIH (SHILOH) LIU ’22 stayed remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning from her home in Taiwan. Still, she was a full participant in her Honors Biology course, completing lab assignments in her kitchen. And now, one of her experiments has made her a published scientist. Liu’s article, “How ethanol concentration affects catalase catalysis of hydrogen peroxide,” was recently published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI), an online scientific publication for students in college, high school, and middle school. Liu worked throughout the summer—meeting with her Honors Biology teacher, Michael Edgar, via Zoom several times and receiving feedback from the JEI team of graduate students who helped her refine the...

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New Director of Restorative Practices

After holding various spiritual and community development roles at Milton for 16 years, Suzanne DeBuhr has moved into a new position as an Administrative Council member: director of restorative practices. DeBuhr, who is also a faculty member in the History and Social Sciences Department, took the role—a new position at Milton—midway through the 2020–2021 academic year. Milton began considering restorative practices in 2017, after students staged a walkout to protest the school’s handling of racist social media posts. The initiative, by Dean of Students José Ruiz and former Associate Director of Admission SARAH WOOTEN ’04, helped in identifying the need for the new role. “In the early stages, we’re figuring out how to educate the community about what this work is going to look like, which is an evolving and organic thing,” DeBuhr says. “Restorative justice addresses [the incident], but it’s also effective for looking at the whole and trying to understand what led to the incident. It’s not just about resolving one occurrence but going into the past, going into the relationship, and thinking about what repair needs to be done.” Aside from the longer-term work of preparing to expand restorative practices at Milton, DeBuhr partners with the school’s Department of Equity, Inclusion, and Justice, where she works to investigate, mediate, and help resolve bias incidents at both the student and adult levels. A restorative system is one that focuses on the repair of harm in a conflict between parties, rather than punishment directed toward the person who caused...

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Pregame Huddle

Members of Milton’s boys’ varsity basketball team take a moment before the game with Loomis Chaffee in January. Their shirts honor varsity hockey player Jake Thibeault ’22, who was injured last fall. Photo by Webb...

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