By Ha Ta

Efrain Toledano has been the principal of Mission Hill’s Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School for six years. The most rewarding part of working here, Toledano said, is families’ engagement with the school.

“There is not a disconnection between the community and the school,” he said. “It seems very much like we’re a united front and send our children a consistent message.”

Toledano regards public schools as one of the institutions that “keep our democracy going.” His role as principal is to keep this institution strong so that young people can become “well-informed citizens who can then go on to make informed decisions in the voting booth.”

Reflecting on the community he has served for years, Toledano is concerned about gentrification, high rent, and families losing safety nets. But Toledano sees a silver lining in the situation.

“Gentrification has its good and its bad. I think at the end of the day, I work with young people and when you see young people every day, you always leave with hope.”

He also believes there is space for improvement.

“One thing that could always be improved in [Mission Hill] is all stakeholders and all parties coming together to do something that is mutually beneficial,” he said. That way, “it [wouldn’t] seem like anyone is competing interest but that everyone is supporting each other.”

Toledano shared his most vivid memory of Mission Hill with beaming pride.

“If you look at our school buildings around, all of the artwork, NPR had a top 50 free public art sites in Boston. We’re actually 46th or 47th or something. And to me, that’s a testament of the work and the community that’s come together.”

About this project 

The Scope’s student journalists spoke with community members in Mission Hill. #MissionHill100 is a collection of their stories. 

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