scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Boston superintendent takes on teaching role due to staffing shortage

Boston Superintendent Brenda Cassellius.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The Great Divide is an investigative team that explores educational inequality in Boston and statewide. Sign up to receive our newsletter, and send ideas and tips to

As administrators try to keep in-person learning going amid the spike of COVID-19 cases and increasing staffing shortages, at least one district leader has put on her teacher’s hat to fill in. Superintendent Brenda Cassellius on Wednesday is teaching at the Nathan Hale School in Roxbury.

Cassellius tweeted early this morning saying “I couldn’t sleep last night I was so excited to teach fifth grade today.”

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 teachers and staff were absent within the district, according to Boston Teachers Union president Jessica Tang. Boston Public Schools leaders said they expect there will be an increase in absences during the winter period because the Omicron variant is spreading at a faster rate than Delta.


Before Cassellius entered the elementary school to teach, she spoke to the media on the importance of pivoting duties. “I jumped into gear and said I would clear my calendar,” Cassellius said.

Cassellius then gave an inside look at her classroom. She wrote, in a tweet “full class of brilliant, amazing students. So engaged. We are working on poetry and fluency.”

Allana J. Barefield can be reached at