Marilyn Nault Howell, Ed.D., Pioneer in Body/Mind Education. Marilyn Nault Howell was born in San Francisco and raised in Marin County, CA. She grew up with her brother exploring the natural world and later went to college for a biology degree. In 1972, Marilyn began teaching at the Brookline High School, where she built her pioneering work, developing and teaching the first Body/Mind curriculum in a public school in the country. For over 30 years, Marilyn touched the lives of hundreds of high school students, building a following of friends and admirers. Ellen Kaplovitz, then head of Brookline Highs School Within a School, says "Marilyn was the consummate teacher and a pioneer in the integration of biology, neurology, anatomy, and what we now refer to as mindfulness, before this integration was popular and accepted." Shaye Cohn, a student at Brookline High, wrote that "Marilyn was a dynamic teacher | fiery, hilarious, knowledgeable, real. She encouraged bold self-exploration and helped to illuminate her students' curiosity for the world at a time in our lives when we were stepping into adulthood." Keith Lezama, now director of Brooklines METCO program said of Marilyn, Great teachers understand that they not only teach the minds, but also the hearts and souls of their students, and that is what she did every dayEspecially as a young man growing up, she taught me how to be vulnerable, how to take risks. When you can teach a kid that it is okay to take risks, you spark a love of learning. A highlight of the curriculum were the once-a-month workshops in a spacious room in Marilyns home. There students joined in a big circle and, through thoughtfully designed body/mind exercises, deepened their understanding of themselves and their relationships with each other. In these workshops, Marilyn brought everybody into the fold, and all social tensions typical of high school gave way to a sense of belonging. As much as she loved teaching, Marilyn felt that the best part of her life was her daughter, Mara. Marilyns profound love for Mara took remarkable form when Mara became ill with cancer. The disease would eventually take Maras life at the young age of 33. Marilyns book about that experience, "Honor thy Daughter," is the ultimate story of love for ones child. Marilyn passed in her home in Brookline, MA, on July 6th, 2020. She is survived by her brother, Lowell "Skip" Nault and his wife, children, and grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to First Responders First.
Published in The Brookline Tab from Jul. 10 to Jul. 23, 2020.