LAWRENCE — Michael Qualter was inspired to become a teacher by his football and basketball coaches in high school.
“Coach is another word for teaching whether on the court or on the field,” said Qualter, headmaster at Lawrence High School. “I got into education because of coaching as a way to give back. I wanted to teach students to make the right decision for themselves, the community and the country.”
After close to 40 years educating city students, Qualter, 60, is retiring at the end of the month. Michael Fiato, principal of the Humanities and Leadership Development High School, one of the six academies at Lawrence High, has been named interim headmaster of the school.
There are 3,150 students and 285 staff members at the school.
“I have mixed emotions about leaving, after reflecting on these years, I think of the caring, dedicated and hard working people that I’ve worked with,” he said yesterday. “I’ll miss the friendships I’ve made and being with the kids on a daily basis. That’s something that keeps me moving and keeps a smile on my face.”
Born and raised in Lawrence, Qualter graduated in 1971 from Central Catholic High School. He has a bachelor’s in social studies from Salem State College and a master in education and administration also from Salem State.
Qualter played football at Central Catholic for four years and was team captain as a senior. He also played basketball. He started coaching high school football during his junior year at Salem State, which he continued doing for 28 years. He also coached indoor and outdoor track for 26 years.
He started his career in 1975 at Central Catholic. He has taught social studies, English and physical education. In addition to Central Catholic, he taught at the Kane and Bruce schools and was in-house suspension teacher at Arlington School.