Manzo David

David W. Manzo became the sixth president/executive director of Cotting School in July 2004. Prior to assuming this position, he served 20 years as president of COMPASS, a private educational and social service organization serving high-risk, inner-city children and their families.

A Waterbury, Connecticut native, Manzo received his Masters of Education degree in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Boston College, where he was named Scholar of the College. He was also named Marshall in the Order of the Cross and Crown, Boston College’s oldest honor society.

He has served on the faculty of Boston College since 1980 and teaches Values in Social Services and Health Care (fall) and Boston: An Urban Analysis (spring) for the PULSE Program.

Manzo is currently a board member for the following organizations: Children’s League of Massachusetts, COMPASS, Massachusetts Association of 766-Approved Private Schools, and Pine Street Inn. He previously served as a board member with: Haley House, Guild for Human Services, Roxbury Latin School and Victory Programs.

Manzo is the recipient of several awards, including two from Boston College – the Exemplary Service Award from the PULSE Program and the Award of Excellence in Public Service from the Alumni Association. He also received the Tennessee-based Lyndhurst Foundation’s Prize that honors individuals whose contributions in a variety of fields – including education and community service – embody “creativity, passion, and good will.”

In 2008 he co-authored Cotting School: A Pictorial History, which was published by Arcadia Publishing. He has also written a series of article on sea kayaking. His most recent chronicled his kayaking trip from Rhode Island to New York.

To the dismay of his friends in Boston, he is a life-long New York Yankees fan.


A Message to Parents and Families

Cotting is a place of contradictions and surprises. Here, sometimes things are not always as they appear to be. When people come to visit the school for the first time, they often expect to see kids who are sad and staff who are tired. They find the opposite is true. Our students are happy and our staff is energized and creative.

…I find tenaciousness in our students. They each have a fighting spirit, an ‘I can do it’ toughness that has helped each of them overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. At the same time there is tenderness as they treat others with exquisite kindness.

The world often measures success the wrong way: where you live, how many things you own, how much money you make, or how much your car costs. This is the wrong way to measure success. To assess the true measure of success you need to answer the following question: Did YOU do your BEST with the gifts that YOU were given?

Each of our students has special talents and our job is to bring those talents forward.

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A Message to New Staff Members

Together we are becoming Cotting School. Cotting School is a story of evolution. Since its founding it has grown each year. The children have changed. For example, we no longer serve students with Potts Disease or polio and the founders of the school could never have imagined that many of the children who thrive here would even have survived birth.

Cotting School is the story of adaptation and teamwork.

It is the story of remembering and building upon our rich history and our successful work with children. But it is also about becoming something MORE each year. As we move forward together, we need to be on guard so that Cotting School never becomes a static place trapped in time.

Our mission this year is to continue to work as a team in all that we do. This year we will not only have a passion for working with our students, but we will also have a passion for working as a team.

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In Dr. Thorndike's Words

In reviewing the school’s annual reports dating to 1893, I came upon Dr. Thorndike’s report to the trustees which appeared in the 1940 Annual Report of the Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children, now called Cotting School. This was Dr. Thorndike’s final report after 47 years of service to the school. It was written shortly before his death. Although Dr. Thorndike’s language is dated, he clearly captures the spirit of the school – at its founding in 1893, at the time of his report in 1940, and today. Dr. Thorndike is very self-effacing. He deflects nearly all the credit concerning the school founding to Dr. Bradford. From a careful review of the school’s documents, it is clear that both men were giants in the founding and ongoing development of the school. We are all indebted to these two men’s vision and wisdom.

Read the Report of the Trustees