Student-MadeApr 29, 2021

updated Apr 29, 2021

A few minutes with ... Ms. Boland

MHS through and through

By Chelsie Li ’21

Kim Boland ’94 is a Horizons Teacher at MHS, as well as Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, and a coach. Kim grew up in Pittsfield and attended Miss Hall’s for high school. After she graduated, she came back and worked in Admissions. She has worked at MHS for about 22 years. Horizons Media Team member Chelsie Li ’21 recently caught up with Kim for this conversation.

• How did you come to Miss Hall’s?

I am from Pittsfield. When I was in eighth grade, the high school I was planning to attend was going to consolidate because of financial reasons, so I started to look at the local Catholic high school. Then I saw a newspaper advertisement about Miss Hall’s, and they offered a full scholarship for local students to attend, so I applied for the scholarship, and this was how I became a student at Miss Hall’s in 1991. I graduated in 1994.

Because I loved this school so much, and because of what the School did for me, I always knew I wanted to come back at some point to give back and be a faculty member. I graduated from college, and I studied abroad in Germany for a year. When I came to my five-year reunion, the School was looking for an admission counselor, so I applied for the job, and I got it. I started working here in 1999!

• What’s the difference between the first year you came here and this year? How has the School changed?

Whether in 1991, when I first studied at Miss Hall’s, or in 1999, when I first started working here, what has certainly changed are the facilities and the campus itself. We did not have the gym, Library, Linn Hall, or anything like that when I was a student.

What hasn’t changed is the magic feeling of Miss Hall’s that I felt on the first day I walked in for my interview when I was thirteen years old. The magic of Miss Hall’s is the reason why I first attended the School, and it made me certain I would want to work here. It is a very special place for me.

• What is something that has left the biggest impression on you since coming to Miss Hall’s?

What impresses me the most is the phenomenal diversity of people. When I was a student, we had kids from all over the world, as we do now, and that was when I really fell in love with the idea of languages, learning about different cultures, and travel. It prompted me to really be a student of the world. This struck me so much during my student years and helped form what I wanted to study in college and what I really wanted to do as a career.

Our students also impress me. I find them to be tremendous; I learn so much from them every year. I love working with them, helping them, supporting them, cheering them on… it’s awesome!

I benefited so much from attending an all-girl school. I learned so much more about who I was, what I stood for, my values, and my voice, because I was in a place where girls were centered and were always the leaders.

• Can you share a fun story?

Anything to do with Blue/Gold is my favorite! When I was first working here, we had a faculty and staff tug-of-war at a Blue/Gold event. The tug-of-war was really tight, back and forth, but finally, my team (Blue team) won, and we pulled so hard that we all fell down. It was really fun, because we were all laying over each other, and the students were cheering us on; it was a great event. Go Blue!

• What advice would you give to a new teacher?

Aside from having their curriculum set, it is important to try as much as possible to join other events, because that is where you can really form strong relationships outside of the classroom that will help you to have even greater bonds with your students in the classroom. Joining weekend events and attending concerts and games can help immerse you in the culture of the School. Creating these connections will undoubtedly help you be a more successful teacher.

• How did you decide to go into teaching or coaching?

I technically never thought I would be a teacher, and I see myself as more as a coach. When I first started at Miss Hall’s, I was in Admissions, and I did that for eleven years. Then, I switched over to Horizons and started teaching. I love what I’m doing now — teaching ninth-graders in the DEI curriculum and helping the Seniors find their way. I enjoy working with the seniors, because each student is very individual, so I can help them to find different internships and achieve their goals.

• What hobbies or interests do you have outside of school?

I do a lot of work locally with different organizations. I’m on a couple of committees through the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and those are related to LGBTQ issues. I have been very active over the years with the Special Olympics, which is a sports organization for children with disabilities.

•  What are some differences between co-ed schools and all-girl schools?

First of all,  I want to say that I recognize that gender and gender identity fall along a spectrum. I love that our school is talking about this and how we can ensure that our campus and school culture is more gender inclusive.

I benefited so much from attending an all-girl school. I learned so much more about who I was, what I stood for, my values, and my voice, because I was in a place where girls were centered and were always the leaders.

I believe that all-girls’ schools are revolutionary. Schools weren’t set up for girls way back in the day. Here, we have a school which was founded by Mira Hall to educate girls, and it’s always about education and not about being a finishing school or learning how to be a good lady. I think girls in girls’ schools are pushed in areas that are traditionally for boys, like STEM areas. On the flip side, all-boys schools encourage boys in the humanities and the arts, which were originally reserved just for girls a long time ago.

• What advice do you have for students and/or graduates?

My advice to seniors is that sometimes it takes time to adapt to the new environment and make friends in your next school or community. Don’t rush — you will find your friends. It might take a little time, and, in the meantime, stay in touch with the ones that you made at Miss Hall’s.