D E PA RT I N G FAC U LT Y b y Je n n i fe r L o n g , U p p e r S c h o o l s c i e n c e t e a c h e r
Ka ren Wyo n Assistant to the Upper School Director: 1999-2016
For the past 17 years, Karen Wyon’s presence in the Upper School Office has been a beacon of light for faculty, administrators, and students alike. Karen followed a circuitous path to BB&N, beginning as a cook for a combine harvesting company that followed the wheat ripening across the Midwest, then as a librarian on a Native American Reservation in Montana, followed by a time as librarian and subsequently the Assistant to the Head of the Upper School at Beaver Country Day School. Karen knew of BB&N through her friendship with Teddy Pratt, whose father, Edwin H. Baker Pratt, was headmaster of Browne & Nichols School from 1955-1968, and was interested in seeing how another independent school worked. Since her arrival at BB&N in 1999, Karen has served as the assistant to four different Upper School directors in a job that is so multifaceted it is hard to keep all of her responsibilities straight, ranging from maintaining the Upper School calendar to organizing grades and comments to be sent to families to bringing treats for faculty meetings. When asked what she enjoys the most about her job, Karen explains, “I like the degree of intelligence of the faculty, I liked learning that there are two sides to every story and to hold off judgment until you know both of them. I like the variety of students that we have.” Beyond Karen’s official duties, she is beloved throughout our community for the myriad things she does that aren’t in her job description, as well as for her empathetic and
ever-positive nature. From bringing in treats to the faculty room, to arranging last-minute class coverage when a faculty child is sick, and even to opening up her house for the BB&N Women’s Potluck, Karen’s generous spirit has touched the entire Upper School faculty. As music teacher Joe Horning says, “Karen is one of the most perceptive people on the BB&N campus. She masters diplomacy and truth in the same moment, speaking with sensitivity and care about a pressing or wacky situation and ﬁring a knowing glance that reveals—in an instant—that she understands the full nature of the circumstances.” According to Amy Selinger, Director of College Counseling, “Karen, without fail, ﬁnds a way to check in with me, all of us. She asks about my children, my life, my interests. She always takes the time to remember that the hectic nature of life should not dictate all of our interactions.” As Karen moves into retirement, she will “miss most the faculty and their wit, wisdom, and wealth of Cambridge lore.” She will also miss our “vibrant students.” She looks forward to spending more time with her children and grandchildren, working in her incredible garden, and continuing to pursue her love of felting. Wherever she goes and whatever she does, Karen’s presence will be felt throughout the halls of BB&N’s Upper School as many of us will still walk by her office and spare a glance to see if she is at her desk for a warm smile and a word of encouragement.