After Heather Northrop’s departure to Burlington High, Malden High had an open position that needed to be filled. Jean Ewald Charles stepped up, and MHS welcomed him as the new Brunelli House Principal.
Charles grew up in Haiti, but came to the US at the age of 18. From there, he attended High School in Brooklyn and attended Alfred University. He then transferred into Columbia University, and from there he went to medical school, although he “decided to leave that to go into teaching” and received his masters from Framingham State University. He ended up teaching physics and biology at a high school in Churchpoint, Louisiana.
Charles was not always planning on being a teacher. However, during his college years, one of his teachers got him into teaching biology, working in Brooklyn with “inner city kids, whom people often marginalize and don’t think are successful.” He taught one girl named Amanda who he is “never going to forget”; she passed the High School Regent Exam (the New York equivalent of the MCAS) at the age of 10 with an 86. Being able to work with her made him feel as though he could “do something in education and work with kids.”
During the hiring process, Boyle House Principal Stephanie Sibley stated that they actually reached out to him; she’s known Charles for a long time; they “worked in Boston Public Schools years ago” and she’s “always had the utmost respect and admiration for him.”
The hiring pool was very small, around five people, and Sibley stated that they wanted a more “diverse applicant pool” so they reached out to him. Charles was the “standout candidate” due to the fact that he brought a “science lens” and a lens for “working with English-language learners” to the administrative team. Sibley added that “because he worked at Salemwood for the last couple of years, it was a win having someone who already knew a lot of the kids.”
Principal Christopher Mastrangelo stated that when Jason Payeur was hired as Jenkins House Principal, “Charles actually came in and interviewed for that position.” Even so, he ended up working at the Salemwood School until now.
Mastrangelo feels as though being an immigrant who moved here makes Charles “relatable to a lot of our students, not just from Haiti but from any country.” Above all else, Mastrangelo said that he is “so calm and kind in his approach to students” and his interactions are outstanding “because he cares.” Mastrangelo added that Charles is “brilliant” as he speaks four languages and was on track to becoming a doctor.
Charles stated that so far, he is loving Malden High. “There’s a great population of students here, and the diversity is amazing”; he said that it’s almost as if there’s “something I’m looking for up in the sky, and I’ve found that here.”
Charles also said that he loves the structure of the school, and the accessibility to high learning. He believes that it is important that kids have “access to AP classes, honors classes” and that all of the students get the same opportunities. “There are some classes that you walk in, and you see that the discussions that are taking place are getting students ready for college,” stated Charles.
During his first few weeks, he stated that a student would routinely check in on him to see how he was doing. Charles expressed that“it brought tears to my eyes a little bit, because she cared so much.” Charles observes that the student body is “so nice, genuinely nice and respectful,” making MHS a great place to work.