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Laing selected as new METCO director

After 19 years on the job, former METCO director Mabel Reid-Wallace has decided to step down from her job. Dr. Tony Laing, the new METCO director, is scheduled to start his new job in Wayland in the beginning of August. “I’m excited [to] not only return to Boston, but also to give back to a program that has been instrumental in my foundational success,” Laing said.

Credit: Cassie Silva-Cardoso

After 19 years on the job, former METCO director Mabel Reid-Wallace has decided to step down from her job. Dr. Tony Laing, the new METCO director, is scheduled to start his new job in Wayland in the beginning of August. “I’m excited [to] not only return to Boston, but also to give back to a program that has been instrumental in my foundational success,” Laing said.

Caterina Tomassini

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Former Wayland METCO director Mabel Reid-Wallace has decided to step down after 19 years, forcing the Wayland Public Schools to search for a new director. After various interviews, three METCO students have helped Superintendent Arthur Unobskey choose the new director, Dr. Tony Laing. Laing currently works as the director of the Men of Color Initiative at the University of Wisconsin and will be moving to Wayland to start his new job in August.

Laing is a former METCO student who attended Concord-Carlisle High School but moved to Wisconsin for his job, where he is responsible for the academic success and graduation of 600 black males. He works with students who are on academic probation, helps students find tutors and manages multiple cultural and social components, including helping male students with leadership skills.

“I applied for this position because it’s a way for me to give back to a program that has been instrumental of my foundational success,” Laing said. “Being a former METCO student [at Concord-Carlisle] taught me a lot about different cultures and about entering into a space or community that is completely different from my own, and it’s given me the confidence and the ability to go to college on my own.”

Students who were on the interview committee had concrete ideas regarding what they were looking for in a new director.

“I was looking for someone that would be both nurturing to students and be diligent with the work that they’d be given,” junior METCO student and interview committee member Shawn Bernier said. “The nurturing was particularly hard to find in most of the candidates because the director would have to be able to work will all students from K-12.”

Laing commented on the interview process, saying that he took note of the insightfulness of the METCO students.

“One thing that struck me is that the students were very clear in terms of what they were looking for in a next METCO director,” Laing said. “They were looking for somebody who would advocate for their needs, be visible in their lives, and be somebody that they can confide in.”

The requirements for the new director weren’t only crucial to students, but also to Unobskey, who had the final say on the decision.

“The new director needs to be able to do a few things, one of which is develop relationships with the students in which they trust this person, in which they feel like this person gives them insights on what to do to be successful, and also develop relationships with the parents because particularly it’s very important for parents to trust us and that we are going to do what’s best for their children,” Unobskey said.

Because Laing is currently positioned in Wisconsin, his interviews were done over video chat. This factor challenged students like Bernier but didn’t affect the final decision.

“I was very hesitant with him at first because out of all of the candidates, he was the only one that had to interview through Google Hangouts rather than in person,” Bernier said. “However, he responded the most organically to our questions and with the most compelling answers.”

Unobskey is certain about his decision to hire Laing and believes that he will serve the METCO program well in the years to come.

“We feel like he is someone who will help us to rethink,” Unobskey said. “I think [Laing] will uncover some things that are important for us. I think he’s going to be a lot of fun to work with and I think he’s going to come up with some ideas we haven’t thought of.”

Bernier has similar opinions on Laing, emphasizing his passion for the program.

“He naturally became one of my favorites despite the technology disadvantage,” Bernier said. “He spoke passionately and from a place of experience that allowed me to put trust into him. He also expressed a certain vibe that I believe will fit with the Wayland culture.”

Laing is excited about his new position and can’t wait to grow closer with the rest of Wayland METCO program.

“I’m excited [to] not only return to Boston but also to give back to a program that has been instrumental in my foundational success,” Laing said.

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About the Writer
Caterina Tomassini, Staff Reporter

Caterina Tomassini, class of 2021, is a second-year reporter for WSPN. She enjoys playing volleyball for the school team and her club team. In addition,...

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