Educator Emeritus 

For over 50 years, SWS has aimed to employ educators who share a vision for what education can and should be. In many cases, those educators spent the majority of their professional careers in their positions and maintain strong and meaningful relationships with thousands of alumni to this day.

Please Note: This section is under construction! If you're a former SWS educator (or you know where we can find one!), please reach out to Zac Broken Rope at!

Ellen Kaplovitz, SWS Program Coordinator (1978-2007)

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From September 1978 to June 2007, I served as the SWS Coordinator/Counselor, providing democratic administrative leadership, educational support, and guidance.


SWS was a way of life and a family for me. My goal and greatest joy was to ensure that staff and students shared responsibility for planning and carrying out the SWS educational goals and practices: learning for the sake of learning, having close relationships with students and staff, finding their voice. Providing guidance and educational direction meant that I had and I still feel personal connections with the staff, students, program and ideals. I also value being the parent of two SWS alums.


Since leaving SWS, I have continued my interests in family, friendship and education, especially though yoga study, photography and travel.

Abby Erdmann, English (1977-2016)


The summer before I started teaching at SWS in 1977, Ralph Mosher of BU gave me funds to develop a course whose issues related to democracy and SWS. I designed "Individuals and Institutions", a course that included field trips to elementary schools and a local prison to teach students key questions about institutions. I taught that course every year for the next 42 years. In the second half of my SWS life, I developed "Creative Nonfiction" because the ”real” writing students were asked to do for their college applications wasn’t taught in school. Students wrote and rewrote—a paper a week. When asked to write their college essay, they then knew how to be themselves and to write in their own voice. In my last 15 years, I developed and taught "Identity, Race and Literaturewhen I realized that the white students were race illiterate and all students needed to read literature centered on black and brown characters. I loved teaching SWS English, partnering with great colleagues, seeing writers emerge who had never known they were writers, seeing arrogance melt into gratitude and humility, watching tense classes become communities. I knew my students deeply and they me, especially when I began to write and share the very personal papers I assigned. Significantly, many of my closest friends are SWS alums.


I treasured two of my committees—Students of Color, a safe place for BIPOC students to share their experiences, and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (PYMWYMI), both started by students. Empty Bowls was a giant art and music night when we transformed the fourth floor into an art gallery, raising thousands of dollars for The Bard Prison Initiative or Haley House. Doing social justice work with my students  mattered—and still matters—to me. I started Brookline for Racial Justice and Equity (BRJE) after I retired with three alums to combat structural racism in Brookline. I would love hearing from my former students. Write to me at, the email I have always had. Some things do not change; some do...