New England is the birthplace of Welcoming Schools. A committed group of educators, parents and administrators developed the program in the greater Boston area. It is also the site of one of the original pilot districts for Welcoming Schools, New Bedford, MA. The director of Welcoming Schools, Kim Westheimer, is based in Boston and has many years of experience leading safe schools initiatives in the Bay State and nationally. Contact Kim to learn more about Welcoming Schools' work in New England!
Region: New England
Location: Boston, MA
Community and Program Development
Research and Evaluation
Social and Emotional Learning
Equity and anti-bias education
Kim Westheimer has been involved with Welcoming Schools since 2007 and has directed the program since 2010. In 2007 she became a consultant for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) and was charged with helping launch Welcoming Schools. Informed by years of working with state and federal education programs, Kim developed a three-year pilot and evaluation of Welcoming Schools and managed the pilot implementation. Today, as the director, she continues to focus on program development, including co-producing our new film professional development tool, “What Do You Know? Six to twelve year olds talk about gays and lesbians;” managing the amazing team of Welcoming Schools experts featured on this site; developing partnerships and collaborations; working with very talented and engaged National Advisory Council; and still working with schools every chance she gets.
Kim came to Welcoming Schools with a background in education, social work, and child and community development. More recently, she worked for the Massachusetts Department of Education (MA DOE) where she directed the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students and worked with schools to implement Safe and Drug Free Schools and Comprehensive School Health Programs. She also co-wrote a book with Jeff Perrotti about their experiences at the MA Department of Education, titled When the Drama Club is Not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students (Beacon Press 2001). In addition to her work with Welcoming Schools, Kim is an adjunct professor at Wheelock College in Boston. She has received aware
Kim lives in Boston, MA with her partner (now wife) of nearly 30 years. She cherishes spending time with the children in her life, doing activities ranging from white water rafting to baking cakes modeled after her goddaughter’s favorite TV show, “The Cake Boss.”
One thing that excites me about Welcoming Schools is…
“…there are so many wonderful things about this work that I can’t possibly narrow it down to one. But I love engaging the full community in implementing welcoming schools. All members of the community – educators, parents, administrators and students – have something to contribute and they so often inspire me. I also adore the children’s books we recommend for Welcoming Schools.”