For Gann alumna Ayelet Pinnolis (’12), being a leader and making a difference in her community after graduation was a top priority. After watching a presentation on racism her freshman year from Jonathan Cohen (’08) who was doing City Year at the time, she realized the program had a lot to offer. The presentation stuck with her throughout high school and when the calendar turned to April 2012, applying to City Year was a natural progression.
In June 2012, she was accepted into a 10-month City Year program until she attends the University of Chicago next year.
Her opportunity to be a leader and make a difference came to fruition at the Harbor Pilot Middle School in Dorchester, MA. She currently tutors 7th graders, helping them in a myriad of ways. “I know my 21 students very, very well,” she said in a phone interview. “I can give feedback to other teachers knowing what work they have, identify behavioral problems and see their strengths and weaknesses.”

In addition to tutoring, assisting students with homework and supervising a newspaper club, she works on vocabulary and English fluency twice a week with six students, honing in on the students that need extra help.

This is not too much for Pinnolis as Gann Head of School Rabbi Marc Baker laid a sturdy foundation. The core values and culture she absorbed at Gann — exploring pluralism, having a dedicated work ethic, engaging in open-minded dialogue, investing time for public service and serving your community — helped her prepare for her work at City Year.

Pluralism in particular resonates strongly with Pinnolis. She continues to live her pluralistic journey at City Year by welcoming all students and peers regardless of their background. “I was taught to think about other people and be considerate about their needs,” she added. That open-mindedness stems from four years under the leadership of Rabbi Baker.

To honor Rabbi Baker, she dedicated her red City Year jacket and year to him and also to the students of Harbor Pilot Middle School during a ceremony in mid-September.

“I think of him [Baker] as a role model in both education and being a strong leader,” she said. “Rabbi Baker was the first principal [Head of School] I ever had that knew who I was, would care about me and knew what was going on in my life.”
It is clear Rabbi Baker’s leadership played an integral role in Pinnolis’ life as a student, and now she is providing the same to her students.
By: Craig Byer, Web & Social Media Specialist at Gann Academy

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