Ed Bosso is no stranger to special education. Before taking over as Perkins School for the Blind’s superintendent and executive director of educational programs, he spent 30 years immersed in deaf education, holding multiple leadership positions. Here, he discusses his lifelong work to improve education for all – and his role at Perkins overseeing on-campus educational programs, as well as students supported by Perkins’ educators in public schools
What drew you to a career in special education?
I don’t look at our students as any different than any other population, and that perspective allows me not to lower expectations, not to think of them as “special.” We’re all human beings and we all have gifts and talents – they just manifest themselves in different ways. I think our goal in this field, and what I’ve always loved to do, is to find those talents and help the students let them flourish.
What brought me to special education is that too often these students don’t get what they deserve. Systems prevent it, and I just refuse to accept that. It’s a social justice war in some ways, to change people’s way of thinking about people with disabilities. I think part of our work is to be ambassadors and to show people what our students can do and the gifts that they have.
How did you feel about leaving deaf education?
I started out in special education before I moved into deaf education, and I’ve had every possible job in that field – from working in the dorms to being an interpreter to working in mainstream programs and schools for the deaf. I had a 30-year career and coming to Perkins made me feel like I was at the beginning of my career again. I’m really invigorated to be here, I’m excited to be a part of this campus.
What excites you most about working at Perkins?
There is a tremendous amount of talent on this campus – the expertise is immense.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I am about building relationships and using those relationships to move forward. That requires getting to know people, getting connected, finding out what we share in common and building on shared beliefs. My job is to align things so that we’re all moving toward one common goal – the highest quality education for all students.