Luuri’s Leadership a Big Plus at Stall Brook School
Jan 29, 2019 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
Stall Brook Principal Emily Luuri
written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Staff Writer
Being a team player is a top-notch attribute that’s always a plus in education, and it’s that quality that makes Emily Luuri a good fit as Stall Brook Elementary School’s principal.
The school was without a principal last August, when Brenda Maurao left to take on a curriculum role in Framingham. So, when that unexpected vacancy occurred, Luuri, who was Stall Brook’s special education team chairperson, agreed to become interim principal at the 11th hour—four days before students reported for classes.
Luuri’s role at Stall Brook obviously changed dramatically, but a framed quotation on one of the shelves in her office is very telling about the 32-year-old native of Milford: “Every day is another opportunity to change your life.”
“The theme of that message is for students, and it’s also a good reminder for me,” Luuri said.
When she stepped away from her special-education post and became principal, Luuri no doubt was adhering to the message in that framed quotation, but she was also acutely aware that her new role made her Stall Brook’s third principal in three years. The thought that continual change might be wearisome and difficult for students, the faculty, and the non-teaching staff was a concern.
“I try to keep things as status quo as possible,” Luuri said, “but change is inevitable, so I try to make adjusting as smooth as possible.”
A decision to remove Luuri’s interim designation could come as early as April. If that’s the case, Luuri said she’d gladly accept continuing as principal. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere at the school and everything associated with the Stall Brook community,” she emphasized. “My goals are to keep listening and to learn about the children, the parents, the teachers, the non-teaching staff and the organizations that comprise the Stall Brook community.”
Luuri also wants to maintain the forward progress of the district’s goals, specifically in ELA (English Language Arts) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). “Staying academically proficient in ELA is very important,” she said, “and SEL helps children to work collaboratively, to form relationships and to regulate their emotions.”
Luuri’s special-education background should be a major plus in implementing her philosophy of learning. “It’s not about memorizing facts,” she noted. “It’s about teaching a child how to think and to problem-solve. I believe that all children can learn and it’s our job to figure out how to support each student.”
Luuri’s welcoming nature and objective style are assets that create a comfort zone, not only for students but also for the personnel at the school. Stall Brook has 288 students, 30 teachers, 4 support personnel (such as psychologist and speech and language pathologist), 10 non-educator positions and 13 teaching assistants/techs.
“I believe the attributes needed to be a good principal include being able to work with others effectively, being organized, having patience and being passionate about the position,” Luuri said. “I’d like to think I’m objective and also a team player. Seeing other points of view is positive, and I want others to succeed and be able to adjust to a variety of situations.”
School Superintendent Peter Marano is impressed with Luuri’s work at the halfway mark of the school calendar. “Emily has been doing an excellent job,” he said. “She really stepped up to help out Stall Brook in providing very good leadership during a difficult time. She’s made great decisions and is working very hard with the staff to continue to improve the school for our students.”
Luuri personifies an ability to adjust and to lead. At Milford High, she starred in field hockey as a midfielder and was a captain in her senior year. She also coached field hockey at her alma mater, first as a volunteer, then as the Scarlet Hawks’ varsity coach for four seasons.
Starting her college career at Springfield College, Luuri later transferred to Framingham State, where she majored in psychology. After getting her bachelor’s degree, she earned a master’s in school psychology at Worcester State, where she also added a certificate of advanced graduate study to her resume. Luuri currently is working on a PhD in educational leadership at Lesley University.
Luuri was a psychologist at the Ashland Middle School before returning to Milford, where she worked at Woodland Elementary School as a psychologist and later as special education team chairperson.
Calling her father (Richard Abbondanza) her role model because “he stressed that hard work and dedication get results,” Luuri and her husband (Jared) live in Uxbridge with Maddie, their seven-year-old Labrador Retriever. Her interests include writing, mountain biking and keeping tabs on Milford High’s field hockey teams.
Another framed quotation in her office is a testament to Luuri’s passion for the position she holds: “Do what makes you happy.”
There’s no doubt that Emily Luuri enjoys working with children, and it’s obvious that she also enjoys her role as principal. “I love the concept that our team at Stall Brook is laying the ground work for life-long learning,” she said.