Naomi Nason Skoler, Lesley ’63, and her family have been active members of the Lesley community for five decades.
Giving back to Lesley comes naturally to Naomi Nason Skoler LC’63. She has been actively involved with her alma mater for five decades; her husband, Moe Skoler, serves as a Trustee; and her daughter-in-law, Jennifer, is a 2005 graduate of the School of the Education.
As a Lesley College graduate, Alumni Council member, Corporator, Alumni Trustee, and member of the University’s Centennial Steering Committee, Naomi was in the driver’s seat to help steer the course of Lesley and see the University develop new programs and grow exponentially. She and Moe credit the leadership of President Moore and the vision of President McKenna with so many of Lesley’s extraordinary accomplishments, and they are delighted that a Lesley education today retains the “intimate, caring feeling” that was so prevalent when Naomi was an undergraduate.
Through her life-long involvement with Lesley her goal has always been the same – to help ensure that future generations of Lesley students have access to the same quality education that she experienced and that changed her life. Naomi and Moe are passionate about education and feel it is their responsibility to help students achieve their educational goals. The Skoler Family Scholarship is awarded to one or two entering students at Lesley with an interest in teaching who continue to receive the scholarship annually until they graduate.
Lesley sophomore Annie Lopresti is grateful for the Skolers’ generosity and how they keep in touch with her to hear about her progress during the school year. A former Skoler Scholar, Beth Harrington ’07 says “they helped me tremendously throughout my time at Lesley. On a personal level, both Naomi and Moe were very supportive when I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted my life to go in. They mentored me and helped me realize that education is an important field and one where I too can give back to the community.”
Naomi looks back on her college years as a wonderful experience that shaped who she is today. When asked about her dedication to her alma mater she explains, “I sincerely believe that I have received more than I have given.” “Lesley College’s nurturing environment well prepared me for my long and rewarding career as a public school teacher.” “I am grateful for the friendships that I have made in the Lesley community, both with those who volunteer and those who work at the University.”
Thanks to her Lesley education, Naomi taught in elementary and middle schools for 35 years, mostly in the Boston Public Schools. She recalls fondly the challenges and rewards of teaching and making a positive impact on her students’ lives. Naomi is proud that her daughter-in-law, Jennifer, is also a Lesley graduate of the School of Education who has also taught in the Boston Public Schools. She describes her as a “fabulous” classroom teacher and explains that when she first heard her son, Michael, was dating a Lesley graduate student, she knew she would be a “keeper!” Jennifer is now focusing on raising her two children. In speaking about her Lesley education she says, “I am very grateful for my time at Lesley which has given me so much professionally and personally. I credit Lesley with providing me with a strong foundation in education and opening doors to allow me to apply what I have learned.”
When it came time for Naomi to retire from teaching in 2005, she shortly realized that there was no substitute for this important work. She came back to Lesley and was offered an adjunct faculty position as a teacher supervisor, and since then she has been working with several students each semester. She currently supervises six graduate students and three undergraduates, meeting with them regularly and travelling to their classrooms to observe their teaching skills first-hand. Naomi says, with a glint in her eye, that no matter where the school or what condition it is in, “it’s incredible, when I walk through the door of a school I feel like I’m home.”
Naomi and Moe Skoler have been giving back to Lesley in appreciation for the education she received for nearly 50 years. “From the day I accompanied Naomi to a presentation by a panel of Lesley students many years ago, I realized how special a place this university is,” recalls Moe Skoler. “Now, as I begin my second term on the Board of Trustees I know first-hand the impact of Lesley’s mission as it provides a vibrant academic community and as it prepares its students to join the work force and to make a difference in the world.” Naomi adds, “As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
In addition to their leadership as members of the governing board, active volunteers and generous scholarship benefactors, Naomi and Moe have been members of the Edith Lesley Wolfard Society planned giving program since it was inaugurated in 1998. They encourage all alumni to get involved and be as generous as possible, either through a planned gift, a scholarship gift, or an unrestricted gift to the Annual Fund. They explain that “not everyone can contribute at the same level, but all alumni can make a difference at Lesley by making an Annual Fund gift, no matter what amount. Every dollar given to Lesley makes a difference in students’ lives, and that’s why every graduate should consider giving back.”
Lesley’s Vice President for Advancement, Dr. Colm Renehan SOM’92, commented that “it is a great pleasure to work with volunteers and donors like Naomi and her husband, Moe. The entire University community joins me in thanking them for their leadership support.”
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