Kathy Luneau Simons, MS '79 co-directs the MIT Center for Work, Family and Personal Life, with a focus on work/life and child care initiatives. As a leader in the emerging work/life field, she co-founded and served as president of the College and University Work/Family Association (CUWFA), a national organization. Her professional experience includes early childhood teaching and directing, employer-based work/life programs and policies, and recently, coordinating the design of a state-of-the-art childcare facility in the Stata Center at MIT.
After earning her undergraduate degree in psychology, Simons started her career in early education at the John Winthrop School in Boston, where she supervised student teachers from Wheelock. Under the tutelage of Hildred Dodge Simons MS '75, her future mother-in-law and an honorary degree recipient at Wheelock's 2007 Commencement, Simons experienced an education model of close partnership with parents that was "enormously influential" throughout her career.
Before long, Simons began taking graduate-level classes at Wheelock, "I was so hungry for information and support as a new teacher," she explained. Simons said, "Wheelock helped me develop a perspective on child development and learning and establish my values."
Later, Simons shifted from teaching to organizing work/life initiatives because she "became convinced that childcare was just the tip of the iceberg for working families." After many years in the field, Simons remains motivated by the "ongoing contact with parents and kids. I hear their stories and I help problem solve the things that get in the way. There's nothing more important."