Shore employees past and present, parents, grandparents, trustees, and friends celebrated milestones on Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night, May 2, 2019. Head of School Clair Ward led the proceedings as teachers and staff members were honored. Also recognized at the event were outgoing and incoming Board members.
The evening in the Trustey Family Theatre began with the annual meeting of the Shore Corporation, during which the President of the Board of Trustees, Rayna Lesser Hannaway, called for the election of new trustees and recognized those completing their terms at the end of the year. Joined by the Chair of the Board’s Committee on Trustees, Elizabeth Skates, Hannaway welcomed Amy Marks, Elia Tessicini, Stacylee Kruuse, and Barbara Iler to Shore’s Board. She next expressed gratitude for the work of parent volunteers, led by Parents Association Chair Kristin Goedkoop, and four outgoing trustees: Jenn Borggaard, Jim Hamilton, Will Shields, and Duncan Wilkinson. To conclude the meeting of the Corporation, Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, Denise Marks, presented an overview of the school’s strong financial position.
It was then Clair Ward’s turn to take the stage. She began by congratulating fifth grade teacher Louis Frank on receiving his masters in English Literature from the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English. “Our school puts a great emphasis on the connection between ongoing professional growth and the student experience,” Ward said.
After acknowledging Shore teaching assistants, Ward praised the valuable contributions of five-year faculty and staff members: Betsey Holland, S.A.I.L teacher; Jody Johnson, the departing Director of Advancement; Tracy Keith, Pre-K 1 teacher; and Riley Lucey, art teacher. Congratulating Johnson on her tenure as Director of Advancement, Ward said, “Jody, we are so grateful for all that you have done to coordinate volunteers and secure additional resources for Shore. The Advancement Office does the work that makes the vibrancy of Shore possible. In addition to closing up Shore’s most recent capital campaign and shepherding nearly $2 million in additional giving, under Jody’s leadership the annual fundraising efforts brought Shore close to $4.5M cumulatively.”
Ward also invited attendees to bid farewell to Sean Melia, Dean of Students and Upper School English teacher. “Sean has been a champion of our Advisory program,” she acknowledged, “and taken a leadership role in installing and implementing Shore’s House System.”
Next, Ward recognized employees celebrating their 10-year anniversaries at Shore. “What makes middle school students adore their teachers,” Ward said, “is when they sense the teacher can see something in them that they haven’t yet seen themselves. Such is the gift of Sarah Carlin.” Ward went on, “Hundreds of Shore students have felt the power of Sarah’s passion for theater, her professionalism, her high—yet achievable—standards, and her ability to bring out the best in middle school actors who are still finding themselves.”
Ward next celebrated Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management Daphne Faldi for her 10 years of service. “Daphne began her time at Shore as a young child running around the sports fields as her mother coached games,” Ward reminded listeners. “She went on to become a student, an alumna, an employee, a parent, and soon the parent of an alumnus. This is the true meaning of the Shore circle of life.” Faldi wants every member of the Shore community to feel as though they belong, said Ward, working tirelessly to find the best school fit for each and every child. “She wants everyone to feel about Shore the way she feels about Shore.”
Maintenance team member Peter Green was also recognized on his 10-year anniversary at Shore. According to Ward, “He brings a spunk to his work that folks notice whether walking through halls, catching up with him at morning coffee in the servery, or helping to greet and park cars during larger Shore events. Peter is an icon with adults and students alike.”
Ward moved on to celebrate second grade teacher Laura Thompson for 15 years of service. “Considered by both her peers and administrators to be a master teacher, Laura is also a renaissance woman,” Ward said. “Track coach, choreographer, tap teacher, and House captain are among her many roles outside of the classroom. … The real differentiator ,though, is the student culture that Laura is able to create in the classroom. It is one in which children feel as though they have true agency and voice, without feeling unsteady. Laura has tremendous respect for her students, and it shows in the way she treats them in every single moment.”
At 20 years of service, reading specialist Jenn Mulligan was next to be congratulated. “Jen is a fantastic educator, who is dedicated to the children she teaches,” Ward acknowledged. “Always willing to go the extra mile in meeting children where they are, Jenn fills each minute of the day coaching and encouraging her young charges. When you have the good fortune to see Jenn at work, you see someone who is kind, positive, nurturing and compassionate. While these traits should be ubiquitous for any teacher, Jenn Mulligan is often spending her days with our most vulnerable learners so these traits are particularly crucial.”
Ward recognized math teacher Kent Vienot on his 25-year anniversary at Shore. “It is easy to speak about Kent’s passion for mathematics, but what equals this is his drive to care for and nurture sixth graders,” said Ward. “Kent knows how to carefully balance nurturing math minds with educating independent thinkers and doers.” Ward continued, “And in spite of having been at it for 25 years, he has found a way to remain relevant—something that is not always easy for a veteran teacher. You are truly our math hero.”
John Beal, Manager of Buildings and Grounds, was celebrated for 30 years of service to Shore. “For us, that means 30 years of someone who is friendly, hardworking, and committed to Shore. For John, that means 30 years of early morning snow plowing, boiler babysitting, and countless trips to and from his home up north,” said Ward. Noting that Shore’s facilities have grown threefold since Beal first arrived, Ward continued, “John never asks for praise and will get in the trenches with his team; he is above no job or task and this commands respect from his long time team members.”
Kindergarten teacher Deb Parkhurst also received congratulations for her 30 years at Shore. “While many schools can boast a veteran staff,” said Ward, “what is conspicuous about Shore is that our veteran teachers are as enchanted by childhood as the children are. This describes Deb to a tee. From fairy houses to leprechaun traps, Deb dives all the way in to the experiences of her children. Deb naturally infuses what kids might call ‘magic’ into so much of her instruction. Using her students’ unending curiosity and wonder, she is able to make the most of little moments so that children remember their kindergarten year forever and ever. Deb recognizes that childhood is precious and fleeting, and she takes every opportunity to ensure that children’s days are filled with belly laughs, whimsy, and fun.”
Ward concluded the evening by recognizing two retiring employees: Assistant to the Head of School JoAnn Amatucci and English teacher Walter Morris.
“JoAnn is a true professional,” began Ward, “juggling the demands of the work we do together, the work of the Board of Trustees, and keeping the lead administrative team on track for the sake of the School. She attends to each and every detail while she simultaneously monitors the morale, health, and wellness of our community. Tremendously kind and caring, JoAnn has a sixth sense about places our team and I need to focus next.”
Ward invited former Head of School Larry Griffin to join her on stage to pay tribute to Amatucci, and she continued, “JoAnn, on behalf of Shore Country Day School, I want to thank you for your 20 years of service marked by your fierce loyalty and professionalism. You leave enormous shoes to fill, but we are all the better for you having been here. On behalf of two very grateful Heads of School and our entire school community, I want to thank you for your kindness, your directness, your well-placed bossiness, your guidance, and above all, your protection. Please know that your presence will be here for many years to come.”
Ward next congratulated English teacher Walter Morris on his 26 years of service to Shore. “Walter has been a role model both his students and his colleagues. Consider these famous quotes: ‘If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.’ ‘All that we are is the result of what we have thought.’ And ‘Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.’ Any of these could be said by or about Walter Morris. As it turns out, they are attributed to Buddha. How appropriate, given that Walter Morris is like Shore’s very own Siddhartha. Drop by drop, Walter has filled many middle school water pots, and in so doing has passed the goodness of thought on to countless young minds.”
Ward went on to share the thoughts of several students about their teacher. “‘When Mr. Morris works with you he always gives it his full time…in other words, he does it fully…he sticks with you until he is sure you have it on your own.’ ‘Mr. Morris cares about the emotional well being of every student.’ And ‘His room has signs that say everyone is safe. He is a fair person overall; he always has justice on his mind.’ Walter, we think it is important that you never forget the imprint you have made on Shore or on the countless numbers of young writers and readers you have guided. You are our Buddha: humble, wise, enlightened, and inspirational.”