NORFOLK — Superintendents Paul Zinni, David Raiche, Allan Cameron and Ingrid Allardi, and King Philip Assistant Superintendent Susan Gilson, are pleased to announce that Director of Wellness Dot Pearl has been named the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (MIAA) Wellness Coordinator of the Year.
MIAA’s Wellness Coordinator of the Year award recognizes an individual who goes above and beyond to promote wellness in their school community, is a positive role model, and whose students benefit as a result of his/her efforts to keep young people safe and substance free.
Director Pearl has concurrently served as the Regional Director of Wellness for the King Philip, Plainville, Norfolk and Wrentham school districts since 2019.
Throughout the past year, Director Pearl has worked tirelessly to ensure that students, staff and families throughout the region have had access to necessary resources during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She worked with cafeteria staff to distribute food to families in need at the start of the pandemic through the USDA Summer Food Service Program sponsored by the Hockomock Area YMCA, and often went the extra mile for families in the process.
Director Pearl has also helped staff during this high-stress period as she began offering live and virtual yoga sessions and brought in medical professionals for training on stress reduction and wellness.
“Dot’s work during this time of need has been exemplary and there is no one more deserving of this award,” Superintendent Zinni said. “We are lucky to have her and appreciate all the effort she puts into her work. Dot clearly wants the best for the students and her colleagues, and she has gone above and beyond to provide them with numerous wellness opportunities and support.”
In addition to her continued efforts during the pandemic, Director Pearl has also expanded mental health resources for the King Philip, Plainville, Norfolk and Wrentham school districts. She has fostered important change within the districts including improving the success of students returning from hospitalization, improving suicide prevention and increasing support for students managing depression. She also co-wrote a grant which awarded the Healthy KP Coalition $625,000 to benefit students in the Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham communities. The Healthy KP Coalition is made up of members from the Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham communities committed to helping prevent substance use by youth in these three communities.
Director Pearl has most recently partnered with INTERFACE Referral Service of William James College to provide students in all four districts with access to outside providers for mental health services.
“Dot has demonstrated exemplary leadership that has involved planning, implementing, and sustaining wellness program changes that have influenced highly
successful outcomes for students not only in our district, but within Plainville, Norfolk and Wrentham as well,” Assistant Superintendent Gilson said. “The way in which she approaches her job with outstanding energy, training, passion, and thoughtful, persistent drive is truly remarkable. We are extremely lucky to have her working alongside us.”
Director Pearl was selected for this award by the MIAA Partners in Prevention, a department of the MIAA that works in many fields including, but not limited to, mental health, substance abuse, concussion safety and gender equity.
Director Pearl will be honored by MIAA at an upcoming virtual presentation on Tuesday, March 9 at 9 a.m. The presentation will coincide with the start of MIAA’s Wellness Summit, which will be conducted in six webinar sessions over the course of three days.