4th & 5th Grade

Kris Hughes, 4th Grade Math

I had many smart, caring, funny teachers from kindergarten through college who instilled in me a love of learning and made school a place I loved to be. If you had asked my nine-year-old-fourth-grade-self what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have confidently declared, “An art teacher!”. Fast-forward twelve years and I had graduated from the College of William and Mary (VA) with a double-major in Fine Arts and and Elementary Education, which was, for me, the best of both worlds.

I taught kindergarten in Virginia for three years, and then came back home to Massachusetts to teach second grade. After taking some time off to start my family, I began teaching fourth grade at the Bates in 2009. I have met so many amazing students and families here and I just adore my colleagues. The Bates is such a special school!  In addition, it is such a joy to be able to focus on mathematics instruction and see my students persevere through challenging problems and get excited about math.
I also adore my family of five. My husband and I grew up together and have lived in Roslindale for seventeen years.  We are the proud parents of two boys, ages 11 and 14, and proud foster parents of a 16-year-old boy. All three boys are BPS students, too. When I’m not teaching, I’m on homework patrol at home (Ha!) and enjoy cheering on my boys at sporting events, playing outside on gorgeous days, and cuddling with my two cats.
Kris Hughes, 4th Grade Math Teacher
Homeroom 206

Jennifer Milton, 4th Grade ELA

I started at the Bates as a student teacher while earning my Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Lesley University in Cambridge. I’ve had the privilege of working at the Bates for 10 years now. I began my teaching career in 2003 after leaving a career in public relations. I was between jobs at the age of 31 years old and I asked myself some honest questions about what I really wanted to do: Where would I feel most fulfilled and rewarded? I thought to myself, “If I were to volunteer anywhere, doing anything, in what area would I do that service?” The answer was very clear that it was in education working with kids. I was lucky to have had a few great teachers who inspired my love of reading and writing and found my strengths as a student and cultivated those in a way that built confidence and self-esteem. I wanted to do the same for others.

The decision to change careers in my early thirties and become an educator has turned out to be one of the most positive, rewarding, and enlightening paths I have taken in my life. This path has taken me to Japan where I lived and taught for a year outside of Tokyo. Living and adjusting to a completely different culture on my own was an incredible and eye-opening experience. Now, as a Boston Public School teacher, I have learned and continue to learn, so much from my diverse group of students. I feel that this experience has contributed to my evolution not only as a teacher but as an individual. I also feel extremely lucky to work with such talented, hard-working, and supportive colleagues. The Bates truly feels like a family.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching ELA. As a student, I loved stories: Hearing them, writing them, and talking about them. In my undergraduate studies in college, the love of literature continued. Now as a teacher, when I see students engaged and excited about what they are reading and I get to see them participate in interesting and enthusiastic conversations about character, plot, point of view, etc., it energizes me as an educator. I am always impressed at the high-level in which 4th graders can tackle a text that interests them.

I was born and raised in Danville, Illinois with my older sister and younger brother. After finishing high school, my love of skiing and the outdoors prompted me to move to Colorado to pursue my undergraduate degree. I attended Colorado State University where I received my B.A. in English with a minor in Journalism. I still enjoy skiing and try to get back out west when I can. I also enjoy yoga, kayaking, traveling, cooking, and reading a great book.

Jennifer Milton, 4th Grade ELA Teacher
Homeroom 205

Danielle Withrow, 4th Grade Social Studies/Writing

Working with and teaching children is a deep-rooted passion of mine. I previously worked in the Information Technology (IT) sector for 8 years before beginning my career as an elementary teacher. The recent career change has proven to be more than rewarding! I am dedicated to teaching in BPS and helping to foster tomorrow’s decision makers and future leaders.

I grew up in Dorchester, MA and moved to Milton, MA where I attended middle and high school. I went to Bentley University located in Waltham, MA where I earned a degree in Business Management. I graduated from UMass Boston with a Masters in Education and subsequently began my teaching career in the city of Boston.

When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy traveling the globe, learning about new cultures, and spending time with family and friends. The daughter of Jamaican-American parents, I grew up spending many summers with family on the island of Jamaica. My childhood experiences gave me a greater appreciation of where I come from and it opened a world of curiosity for learning about different cultures. This year, I will be teaching Grade 4 Humanities. I am happy to be joining the Bates community!

Danielle Withrow, 4th Grade Humanities Teacher
Homeroom 207

Mary Guthrie
Mary Guthrie, 5th Grade Math

I am absolutely thrilled that I am the fifth grade Math teacher at the Bates. I believe my role as an educator is to foster confidence in my students and instill of love of learning.  I accept my role to be one of awesome responsibility, as it carries an opportunity to inspire these young minds to make this world a better place.

Although born and raised in the Boston area, I was lucky enough to spend ten years living in the mountains of Colorado after earning a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Clark University.  While in Colorado, I spent some years teaching Pre-K, followed by several years staying home with my two young children.   Eager to resume my teaching career, be close to family and once again be close to the ocean, I returned to Boston.  I have been teaching in Boston Public Schools for three years.  This will be my second year as a fifth grade homeroom teacher.

As I mentioned before, I am a proud mother to two amazing children.  Both my children attend Boston Public Schools.  While teaching and taking care of my kiddos are my top loves, I also enjoy travel, hiking and running.   I am beyond excited to be one the newest members of the Bates community!

Mary Jane Guthrie, 5th Grade Math Teacher
Homeroom 203

Joel Clark, 5th Grade Math

A teacher cannot give his knowledge. What he can give is faith: faith in his students’ ability to learn; faith in his students’ ability to lead, and they will reward him with faith in themselves.

The Bates is my home. It has been for the past 18 years. This is a special place. My name is Joel Clark. I am the fifth grade ELA teacher and I am inspired daily by my interactions with students, families, and staff.

Sometimes you have to go a long way, out of your way, to come back a short distance. And I certainly took the long route on my way to the Bates. Initially, I attended Berklee College of Music. I majored in songwriting and I play guitar. Later in life, after starting a family, I returned to my studies and graduated Summa Cum Laude from UMass with a degree in English Literature and Education and a Minor in African-American studies. I’m so proud to have gotten good grades while also becoming a champion diaper changer! After coming to the Bates, I went on to get my Master’s Degree in Education and I haven’t stopped learning.

I am now a single father of two teenagers, Frank and Emma. There have been challenges in life but they have all served to give me a unique insight to the needs of children and their families. After all is said and done, I wouldn’t change a thing because all that way led me to the Bates. And the Bates is where faith in children blossoms.

Joel Clark, 5th Grade ELA Teacher
Homeroom 204


Lori Jerrier, 4th/5th Grade Inclusion Specialist

My name is Lori Jerrier and I am delighted to be a part of the Bates Community.  This is my first year at the Bates, but my sixth in Boston Public Schools.  I started my teaching career in Western Massachusetts (where I grew up) and have lived in the Boston area for over 20 years.

I enjoy working with 4th and 5th graders for a variety of reasons.  They are starting to engage in more abstract thinking and increasingly complex work.  In addition, the students are identifying their own learning styles and advocating for themselves.  I especially like that they understand my corny jokes!

One of the things I prioritize as an educator, is creating a community.  It is essential that every person entering our room feels welcomed and appreciated.  With a supportive environment, we are all willing to take risks and learn from our mistakes.  Each one of us has strengths to share with our classmates and our school community.

I have two wonderful children that bring constant joy to my life.  My son is a sophomore at a college in California and my daughter is a senior in high school.  I spend many hours cheering on my daughter’s teams and look forward to volleyball, basketball, and softball events.

Reading is one of my most absolute favorite things to do.  I can often be found on my porch enjoying a good book.  Once the weather gets chilly, I will go outside with a blanket to keep me cozy.  I also like heading to the beach to read (of course!) or dine by the water.

I look forward to bringing my love of reading and learning to the Bates.  We have a wonderful year ahead of us!

Lori Jerrier, 4th/5th Grade Inclusion Specialist