Burr School PTO

171 Pine Street

Auburndale, MA 02466


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Working together for our kids
and for a strong community

We are moms, dads, aunties, litos, babas and more from every part of the world, brought together by a shared commitment to the children in our community. We are fortunate to be able to weave this rich tapestry of cultures, languages and ethnicities to enrich our children's education and experiences at Burr.

Fundraising is a big part of what we do. Through our annual giving program, The Wolf Fund, and various events throughout the year, we raise money to bring cutting-edge technologies and curriculum-aligned programs to Burr School. Every child in every grade benefits from the Burr PTO.


Our Mission

 The mission of the PTO is to strengthen Burr School’s capacity to provide quality education to all our children by:

  • Serving as a communication link between parents, the school and the broader community

  • Raising funds to support the education of our children

  • Providing supplemental educational programs within the school and

  • Building community among Burr families and faculty.

Where does the money go?

The Burr PTO infuses more than $50,000 into our school each year, and these funds help to provide the technology needed in today’s classrooms, as well as the programs, services, and community events that help make Burr the wonderful place that it is.  The Wolf Fund campaign is one of two primary source of funds for the PTO’s annual budget, and every penny raised through Burr Wolf Fund goes directly to the school.  The remainder of the annual budget is raised through our spring online auction, as well as other events with community building and/or academic support elements, such as the Book Fair, as well as indirect fundraisers like Amazon Smile (see home page).

The PTO fully funds the Creative Arts and Sciences program at Burr, an unfunded mandate from Newton Public Schools, which gives Burr students the opportunity to write and illustrate stories and poems with published authors, design and build mini water distribution systems, dance with Chinese ribbon dancers, hold creatures from the depths of the ocean in their hands, and more.  These programs are chosen with the teachers and tie-in with the grade-level curriculum, enhancing and enriching the academic experience.

Meet Our Board

The PTO Board is comprised of Burr parent volunteers, who meet throughout the year to oversee numerous community events and fundraisers, manage the PTO budget and perform other essential PTO functions. 

Cristal Balis


Cristal is in her second year as co-president and in her third year on the PTO board, previously serving as the community coordinator. Her previous volunteer commitments at Burr have included co-chairing Halloween Family Fun Night and the International Potluck, as well as redesigning the PTO website and email communications. Cristal's background is mostly in PR and marketing, but she also holds a Master’s in Education and taught elementary school in Chicago Public Schools. She and her wife, Jill, are parents to one of the many sets of twins in third grade. 

Krissy Munroe


Kristine is currently enjoying her third year on the PTO board, previously serving as the communications coordinator before becoming co-president.  She has a background in online communications and she's been living in West Newton since 2005.  Kristine lives with her husband, Matt, and third grader Isaac.  You can usually see her walking Isaac to school every morning on Webster Street, moving at a verrrry slow pace.  

Spencer Poole


Spencer is in his first year as co-president.  He has previously volunteered for many events at Burr as well as being a room parent. Spencer is currently an Instructional Designer at New Balance Athletics and he co-owns a small tourism company called the Mass Brew Bus with his brother.  Prior to that, he worked as a real estate broker in Newton and a pre-school teacher at The Foundation for Children with AIDS.  He is the father of Burr students Morgan (3rd grade), Urban (1st grade) and Atlas a 4 year old who will be entering Burr in the fall of 2019 and husband to Molly Scanlon.  Spencer has traveled the globe extensively and really enjoys being a part of the diverse Burr community.

Jeremy Lew


Jeremy Lew is the father of Burr students Anna (4th grade) and Beatrice (2nd grade) and husband to Aimee Lambert.  He grew up in Needham, and does software architecture and consulting for a living.  Previously, Jeremy served as the treasurer for the Parents Advisory Council at Family Access Early Education.

Renee Krikorian


Renee is in her second year on the PTO board, and is mom to two third graders at Burr, Henry and Scarlett, as well as a kindergartener, Eliza. Renee is currently a pediatric occupational therapist working in a local public school system. Prior to her work as a school-based OT, Renee worked for two years in an early intervention program, and for 10 years in a private clinic specializing in sensory processing disorder. When her twins were in preschool, Renee served on the Board of Directors for Bowen Cooperative Nursery School in Newtonville where she was responsible for enrollment of their five day program. 

Ruchi Bhasin

Communications Coordinator

Serving her second term on the board, Ruchi is a mother to one current Burr student, Riva (a 1st grader), and a recent Burr grad, her sixth-grade daughter, Aria. Ruchi holds a Bachelor in Arts with a major in Sociology and an associate's degree in Teacher Aide, and would like to teach preschool kids in future. Presently, Ruchi is enjoying spending time with her family, watching her children grow and loves to volunteer at Burr. Her previous volunteer commitments have included Hospitality, May Fair, the Understanding Our Differences Program, helping out in the library and being a room parent for both Burr and Riva's preschool. Ruchi is looking forward to learning more about Burr, as well as helping promote academic and social progress for the school. 

Tamika Olszewski

Community Co-Coordinator

Tamika, who is in her second year on the board, practiced law in Baltimore for several years prior to moving to Newton with her husband and children in 2013. Tamika is the mother of twins, Morgan and Dean, who are currently in second grade at Burr. Tamika is co-founder of Burr FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) and also sits on the school council. 

Tamika's volunteer commitments have included Creative Arts and Sciences, Halloween Family Fun Night, Burr's International Potluck, being a room parent and volunteering the school library. She is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusivity and will champion these issues both at Burr and across the larger Newton community. 

Leah Schwartz

Educational Support Coordinator

Leah is in her second year on the board and is excited to support such important PTO educational initiatives as Creative Arts & Sciences and the STEM Fair.  She is a proud mom to David Karp, who is a third-grader at Burr and a kindergartener, Ilana. Leah and her family have lived in Newton since 2005 and moved from West Newton to Auburndale last year.  


Since joining the Burr community this past fall, Leah has served as room parent to Ms. Field’s class and has also volunteered at the Burr library.   Leah has worked as a marketing and financial analyst for Washington Post, The Boston Globe and Nokia.  Leah is a firm believer in the crucial role of the PTO as a partner to faculty, staff & the parent community to ensure that Burr continues to be a great place for our children to grow and learn.  She also brews a mean cup of coffee!

Laura Sexton

Fundraising Coordinator

Laura has arguably the most important job on the  Burr PTO board—helping the school raise more than $50,000 for its annual budget. Through her oversight of the Wolf Fund, the Online Auction and various other fundraising initiatives throughout the year, Laura helps the Burr community thrive. This is her third year on the PTO Board. 

Interested in taking on a leadership role on the PTO? Please don't hesitate to reach out!