Bob Vitalo, Head of School at The Berkeley Carroll School and Oliver Trustee

What is your relationship to Oliver Scholars? 
I have been the Head of School at Berkeley Carroll for 12 years, and over those years it has been my honor to observe many Oliver Scholars as they made their way through our Upper School, graduated, and went off to college. Two years ago, I was asked to join the Board as a representative from a partner school. Being in this role has given me great insight into the wonderful work that the entire Staff does on behalf of helping Oliver meet its mission, and I have so enjoyed getting to know the other Board members — they are committed and passionate about the work we do.

What are some leadership lessons you have learned over your career or your time on the Board?
Over the years, I have learned that it is sometimes necessary to take bold steps. Making that brave decision can sometimes feel lonely but when you have done your homework and know the right thing to do, it is important to have faith in your judgement and press forward. In my career, I have been rewarded by stepping out as a leader and I have also seen evidence of this as part of Oliver’s Board. The Board has taken the courageous step of expanding the program to middle school students. Yes, there is much to do to complete the transition, but the great news is that many more children will benefit from our efforts.

What experience has shaped you most in life?
Having great, stimulating teachers in high school made me want to be a teacher and launched me in the direction of spending my entire professional career in schools. Seeing what an impact teachers can have on individuals changed me forever.

Where do you see Oliver Scholars in five years?
It is so exciting to think about the future for Oliver. I see the organization growing in professionalism and extending its reach even further in New York City. The model that the Staff is putting in place is an example for other programs that seek to serve Black and Latino students. There is the increasing potential for Oliver to change even more lives; it is so exciting!