New METCO director announced

Margaret Credle Thomas of Hyde Park has accepted the position of METCO director for the school district, the superintendent's office of the Arlington public schools announced Tuesday, Juily 10. Longtime director Stephen Pereira retired last month after for 32 years in Arlington.

Credle Thomas comes to Arlington with broad experience in the METCO program. Her previous positions include METCO specialist for the Wayland public schools, assistant METCO director for the Lexington public schools and interim METCO birector for the Brookline public schools.

The Metropolitan Council for Education Opportunity, or METCO, is a grant program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Founded in 1966, it is a voluntary program intended to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity and reduce racial isolation by permitting students in certain cities to attend public school in other communities who have agreed to participate. Over 3,000 students take part annually. During the 2010-2011 school year, Boston and Springfield sent pupils to 37 school districts across the state.

Credle Thomas also has a strong background in antiracist education, having served as an Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (EMI) facilitator for the last 10 years. EMI works to increase cultural sensitivity and instructive skill among educators by providing graduate level courses for teachers and administrators in multicultural and antiracist education and effective teaching. EMI is part of the Education Collaborative for Greater Boston Inc., or EDCO, a voluntary collaborative of urban and suburban school districts dedicated to enhancing equity, intercultural understanding, and equal opportunity in education.

"We are pleased that Ms. Credle Thomas will be joining the district team to oversee this important program," said Dr. Kathleen Bodie, Superintendent of Schools in a news release. "METCO is the largest and oldest not-for-profit integration/desegregation program in America, and Arlington is proud to be part of this effort."

Credle Thomas received her undergraduate degree from UMass./Boston and a master of science in social work from Simmons College. Her background also includes serving as a school social worker/adjustment counselor and as an adjunct professor at Wheelock College and the Urban College of Boston. 

This story was published Tuesday, July 10, 2012.