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Fall 2013

Today at Breck

SETTING THE STAGE A home for research in every grade PG. 18


Fall 2014


Breck Teachers Talk About Teaching / PG. 18


I support the Breck Annual Fund because… As a retired teacher, I truly appreciate the wonderful education my grandchildren are receiving at Breck. Carolyn Hillebrand Grandmother of Carter ’14 and Cassidy Roland ’18

My Breck education (1st-12th grades) was one of the most influential factors in creating the person I am today. Andrea Specht ’88

It supports all the amazing resources our kids benefit from each and every day — arts, music, field trips, specialists, special lecturers and speakers. Maura and David Mitchell Parents of Alison ’23 and Colin Mitchell ’25

Read more stories and submit your own at


Fall 2014

Today at Breck

FEATURES 16 / Welcome to Breck! The Breck Parents Association’s New Family Host program helps new parents become part of the community.

14 / Happy Homecoming Photos that capture the warmth and fun of Homecoming Weekend 2014

18 / What Makes a Great Teacher? COVER STORY We surveyed the Breck faculty about the qualities of great teachers


and how they learned their craft. No surprise: we learned a lot. You will, too, and wait till you see our special quiz that lets you match the Breck teacher with the fun fact.

30 / Alumni in Teaching There are many Breck alumni who have made a career in teaching, and we’ve got stories to share from a few.


On the cover: Kevin Cannon ’98 gives us a whimsical illustration of great teachers—Breck style.



Today at Breck Fall 2014 Today at Breck is a publication of Breck School, 123 Ottawa Avenue North, Golden Valley, MN 55422 email: communications@



4 / 20 Questions

38 / Alumni News

We asked, and they answered: Seyade

Awards, strategic planning and more

Tadele ’17, Merrill Harris and Colin

40 / Class Notes

Brooks ’97

7 / 123


Activities, accomplishments, awards,


from fall at Breck.


7 / Who Knew?

Jill Field

Brenda Janisch-Hoban

WRITERS Michelle Geo Olmstead

PHOTOGRAPHERS John Bellaimey, Noah Foster ’16, Chelen Johnson, Lauren Kiesel, Karyl Rice, Sara Rubinstein, Rick Webb, Hoo Yin Wong



Edward Kim

Meredith Cook VanDuyne


announcements: here are some items

Fun facts, both current and historical (no, there won’t be a quiz!)

12 / Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…

Alumni share recent news.

46 / Sports News We’ve got all the highlights of the spring season for the Mustangs.

48 / In Their Own Words This year’s Chapel theme is perspective and perception. Can you identify these views?

Commissions, horses, parades: a glimpse into Breck’s military school past


Bolger Vision Beyond Print


Breck is an Episcopal, coeducational, college-preparatory day school enrolling students of diverse backgrounds in grades preschool through twelve. Breck’s Mission is to:

Prepare each student for a college whose culture is compatible with the individual’s needs, interests and abilities. Help develop each student’s unique talents and potential to excel by nurturing independence and self-worth. Instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility.

Breck School is committed to environmental stewardship. This publication is printed on paper manufactured with electricity in the form of renewable energy (wind, hydro, biogas) and a minimum of 30% postconsumer recovered fiber.

/3 When I was beginning my career in education at Delbarton, a monk advised, “Treat the tools of your teaching as if they were vessels of the altar,” and I’ve often reflected on his counsel. Being a teacher is, in fact, a sacred responsibility. I have been fortunate to be the student of many great teachers, and I have the honor of working with many here at Breck. I think they have many qualities in common. They educate the whole person, paying attention to their students’ body, soul, spirit and relational skills as well as their minds. They remove their own egos from the equation, understanding that the most important person in the room is the student they’re talking to at any given moment. They know that growth comes from the creation of tension in the classroom and so their classes foster debate, discussion and dialogue representing different points of view. They know that a little ceremony can promote a higher level of meaning — making a worksheet more than just a list of problems but an invitation to understand something big. They know that magic moments — the light bulbs of inspiration — can come from the most ordinary things. They recognize that learning can take place anywhere: in the classroom, of course, but also in the hallways, on the playing fields, on a bus ride to a service site. They aren’t ever bored. Great teachers live in the moment and are always excited by the newness of every class period, every student and every lesson plan. They celebrate a sense of belonging. School spirit isn’t just “rah rah” (although that has its place). For a great teacher, school is a place where he or she is meant to be. They listen. Not content to be a “sage on the stage,” a great teacher knows when to talk and when to encourage students to talk. They set a tone that inspires their students to go well beyond expectations. I hope that reading this issue’s celebration of Breck’s great teachers gives you the opportunity to remember some of your own.


Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Questions 4/

Seyade Tadele ’17: BRECK SOPHOMORE 1

What’s your favorite


What advice would you give


Three people, living or dead,

time of year?

to yourself 10 years ago?

you’d have over to dinner?

I love spring because the weather is

Don’t worry about the other kids.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Green

just starting to warm up, and all the

It’s okay to be a little strange.

and Albert Einstein. If I spent even just

plants are in bloom. 2

What’s the most thrilling/


What do you remember from


adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

The gingerbread man hunt with Mrs.

Cliff jumping in Yellowstone



What’s your favorite


What is the most important

Breck lunch?

room in your home?

Either Italian dunkers or ravioli

Mine. My family refers to it as my


Who is your personal hero

(and why)?

“hibernation cave.” 10

What’s your favorite place on

Shawn Spencer: he may be fictional,

the Breck campus?

but he demonstrates that it’s okay to

I love the track because many good

act like a five-year-old even at age 30.

memories took place there. 11


Dream Job? I want to become a mechanical engineer because I loved physics with Mr. Wright last year.


Best decision?

Choosing to learn Chinese in fifth grade

Favorite treat: salty or sweet?

Sweet! Especially Dairy Queen Blizzards! 12

If you had a theme song,

what would it be? “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King 13

Favorite line from a movie?

“I’m ten years old. My life is half over

half an hour with them, I might gain a fraction of their wisdom. 15

Best trophy/award you

ever won? The scholarship award at the end of freshman year 16

If you could read anyone’s

mind, whose would it be? Margaret Wong: She seems to know something that no one else does. 17

If you could travel anywhere,

where would you go? Ethiopia. It’s where my family’s from, but I’ve never been. 18

Pet peeve?

People who chew their food loudly 19

Unfulfilled wish?

I really want to travel to all seven continents. 20

What keeps you up at night?

and I don’t even know if I’m black

Thinking about all the homework

with white stripes or white with

that I probably haven’t done yet

black stripes!” -Marty the Zebra from Madagascar

Questions /5


What’s one of the last


What is the most important


Favorite website?

books you read?

room in your home?

Twitter — It has become a great

Phil Jackson, The Last Season

Family room, a great place to relax

resource for teachers. Check out

after a long day



What’s the most thrilling/


adventurous thing you’ve ever done? I once had quite an adventure surfing in Mexico. 3

What’s your favorite

Breck lunch? Can’t beat taco day or the spicy chicken sandwiches. 4

Who is your personal

hero (and why)?


What’s your favorite place on the Breck campus? Athletic fields, where I can watch/coach our students in a different environment and see them succeed

Three people, living or dead,

you’d have over to dinner? Herb Brooks, Jimmy Fallon, my grandparents 16

If you could read anyone’s

mind, whose would it be? Mr. Ohm: He always knows something about something. 17

If you could travel anywhere,

My parents, who sacrificed a lot for

where would you go?

me and always pushed me to achieve

Scotland, to play at St. Andrews

better. I am a lucky person to have them in my life. 5

Dream job?

I feel I have the best job(s) at Breck, but I have always wanted to work in the front office for a professional sports team. 6

Best decision?

Earning my master’s from the University of Minnesota 7

What advice would you give

to yourself 10 years ago? Keep doing what you’re doing. Have fun but study just a little bit more!


Favorite comfort food?

Lake Harriet Pizza 11

Favorite treat: salty or sweet?


Pet peeve?

Traffic!! 19

Unfulfilled wish?

Sweet, especially homemade

Hole-in-one or a Gopher Football

chocolate chip cookies

Rose Bowl


If you had a theme song,


What keeps you up at night?

what would it be?

The heartaches of being a Minnesota

Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”

sports fan


Favorite line from a

movie/show? “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” from Friday Night Lights

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

Questions 6/


What music are you


What do you remember


Three people, living or dead,

listening to lately?

from kindergarten?

you’d have over to dinner?

Classical or kids’ music when I’m

Appreciation and fond memories of

Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin

driving; LCD Soundsystem or the Rad

Mrs. McCann, Mrs. Elam, Mrs. Bartow,

or Samuel Adams (a brewer and a

soundtrack when I run

Mrs. Woods and Mrs. Cuningham

patriot as Mr. Rosenfield would


What’s one of the last


What is the most important

books you read?

room in your home?

The Partner Track by Helen Wan

The kitchen, which overlooks where


What’s your favorite time

of year?

our kids like to play 11

What’s your favorite place

Autumn: back-to-school, the World

on the Breck campus?

Series, Halloween and great weather

Definitely the Chapel. It provided


What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Driving the back roads of Australia trying to get to Mount Kosciuszko 5

Favorite Breck lunch?

Sloppy Joes, waffle fries, skim milk and a chocolate chip cookie 6

Dream job?

General Manager of an MLB team 7

at Breck — and that hasn’t changed. 12

Favorite comfort food?

A Korean dish called dolsot bibimbap which is rice, vegetables, chili pepper paste and an egg all cooked together in a very hot stone bowl 13

Favorite treat: salty or sweet?

Sweet, especially chocolate

What advice would you give to

yourself 10 years ago? When you make the wrong choice in a difficult situation, you’re still a good person. Just try your best to make the correct one next time.

er, Markell, who probably would have dominated the conversation. 16


Favorite website? Farnam Street. It has great insights on culture, history, philosophy, etc.

Best trophy/award you

ever won? The Minnesota State Championship football trophy. Many of us had been playing together since seventh grade, so it was especially rewarding. 17

If you could read anyone’s mind,

whose would it be? The Dalai Lama. Big hitter, the Lama 18

If you could travel anywhere,

where would you go? South Korea to meet my wife’s relatives, visit her ancestors’ resting place and learn more about the culture 19

Best decision?

Marrying my wife, Minna 8

constant comfort during my 15 years

remind us), and my great-grandmoth-

Pet peeve?

Of my own: not being on time. Other people: an unacknowledged “hello.” 20

What keeps you up at night?

Sometimes I dream that I didn’t do any of Mr. Peterson’s homework and the final is tomorrow. This isn’t a joke.


Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

Front row (left to right): Sara Eum, Jenn Youn, Stacy Yuan, Antonia Lee, Demi Zhang, Sarah Hu Second Row: Maxwell Miao, Siyuan Ma, James Yang, William Liang, Charles Wang Third Row: Jáchym Solecky, Rustam Kosherbay, Sung Wan Huh, Sung Rim Huh


Breck is delighted to welcome a large number of international students in 2014-15: Jeungwon (Sara) Eum ’16, Yong in, South Korea Xinruo (Sarah) Hu ’15, Beijing, China

The Tree of World Religions, by John

Bellaimey. Available at the Breck

bookstore or via the website

Sung Rim Huh ’15, Seoul, South Korea Sung Wan Huh ’17, Seoul, South Korea Rustam Kosherbay ’15, Almaty, Kazakhstan Tsz Lum (Antonia) Lee ’15, Hong Kong, China Jiahao (William) Liang ’16, Beijing, China Siyuan Ma ’18, Shanghai, China

Ronald Reagan: The Life and Legacy,

with Tim Rosenfield as historical

consultant and on-camera inter-

Jáchym Solecky ’16, Prague, Czech Republic

viewee. Produced by the American

Yunong (Charles) Wang ’15, Chongqing, China

Video Project and distributed by Mill

Creek Entertainment. Available on

Jinhui (James) Yang ’15, Shanghai, China

Zhuang (Maxwell) Miao ’15, Beijing, China

Youngmin (Jennifer) Youn ’15, Seoul, South Korea Yuan (Stacy) Yuan ’17, Shanghai, China Hongrong (Demi) Zhang ’15, Chongqing, China We appreciate their presence in our community, along with the generosity of the families who are serving as their hosts.

Who Knew?

1 Number of times quadruplets have delivered senior speeches on the same day

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North


Left to right: Laura Berdine, Julie Dalle, Laura Erickson-Burrus ’01, Madison Styrbicki ’09, Helen Westerfield, Colleen Crenshaw, David O’Connell, Sarah Strong, Michele Morgan, Emily Brisse, Susan Graham, Andrea O’Connell, Matt Scherer

BRECK WELCOMES NEW FACULTY, STAFF The 2014-15 school year has begun with some new faculty and staff members, including the following: Ian Bachman-Sanders

Lauren Erickson-Burrus ’01

David O’Connell

Middle School History,

Lower School Teacher Assistant

Middle School English

After-School Study

Susan Graham

Phil Rushin

Laura Berdine

Associate Director of College

Assistant Engineer

Upper School Math

Emily Brisse

Alan Jaffe

Upper School English

Ice Arena Attendant

Michael Burgoyne

Ashley Keil

Bus Driver

Lower School Teacher Assistant

Laura Burrows

Michele Morgan

Middle School Math

Middle School Chaplain (during

Colleen Crenshaw Upper School Science Assistant Julie Dalle Upper School History Doug Danielson Custodian

Who Knew?


Alexis Kent’s sabbatical) Danielle Nehring

Matt Scherer Network Coordinator Sarah Strong Middle School English Madison Styrbicki ’09 Middle School Math Helen Westerfield Performing Arts

Department Head

Associate Accountant Andrea O’Connell Associate Director of College Counseling

615 Bus riders at the start of the school year (representing 64% of the students in grades P-10)

New roles for some familiar faces John Bellaimey Also teaching Upper School French Katie Scherer Also teaching Upper School English Peter Saunders Also teaching Upper School English Matt Mendes


Also teaching Middle School English/History We also welcome back Beckie Alexander (Middle School Science) from her sabbatical and send best wishes to Barbara Jacobs-Smith (Lower School) and Alexis Kent (Middle School Chaplain) as they begin theirs.

TEACHERS ON SABBATICAL PROVIDE REGULAR UPDATES Lower School teacher Barbara Jacobs-Smith and Middle School Chaplain Alexis Kent, currently on sabbatical, have been providing regular electronic updates on their travels,


studies and adventures.

Breck seniors Jacob Levy and Mark Murray have been

program she has used in her Breck classroom, BirdSleuth

named semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship

International. She has been published on the BirdSleuth

competition, and Mark Murray has also been named a

website ( and has also begun a blog,

semifinalist in the National Achievement competition,

which you can find at bjssabbatical/

which recognizes outstanding Black American high school

Kent, who is traveling around the globe to experience

students. Nine seniors have achieved National Merit

festivals and celebrations in the world’s major religions, has

commended status: Maria Bell, Julia Florey, Carlie Gus-

been writing regular updates in her blog, Alexisonsabbatical.

tafson, Peter Kiesel, Sofie Kim, Julian Laird-Raylor, Layla

com. She began with a journey to Morocco for Eid. Next up

Moehring, Victoria Olson and Emily Sponsel, and three

was Jerusalem for Sukkot. She is especially excited to have

more have been named outstanding National Achievement

the opportunity to experience the celebrations with families

participants: Donovan Ennevor, Mohammed Lawal and

and children the ages of her Middle School students, which

Jaila Tolbert.

will greatly enhance her ability to bring those experiences

Jacobs-Smith, who is working this fall at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, has been writing curriculum for a

back to Breck next fall.

Walter Cronkite The legendary newsman came to Breck in 1961 for a celebration of our 75th anniversary

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North


Tribune article about the

Hold Steady’s concert at the

Over the summer, a Star

Minnesota Zoo gave a big shout-out to Math Department 10 /

Head Brad Peterson. At the concert, the band’s frontman, Craig Finn ’89, started talking about teachers. He then said, “And one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had is actually in the audience,” pointing to and naming a very surprised Peterson.

ALSO NOTED Visual Arts Department Head Michal Sagar was written up in MinnPost for her work with a Saudi Arabian-born artist to help bridge the gap between Jews and Muslims through art. Eighth grader Lana Trautman was national champion at the 2014 Arabian Youth National Championship Show in the 13 and under Arabian Country English Pleasure category. The show was held in July in Albuquerque.


The 2014 Mustang baseball team won a silver all-state

There are eight Siemens Competition semifinalists from

academic award. Lucas Audette, Jorgen Salveson and

Minnesota this year, and six of them are from Breck.

Lucas Wille were all recognized for individual academic

Congratulations to Brennan Clark, Prashant Godishala,


Evelyn McChesney, Madeline McCue, Karsten Salveson and

Congratulations to preschool teacher Kelly McCool on the birth of Lillian Louise Rebhorn, born on August 20.

Eve Zelickson for their achievement in the nation’s premier research competition.

Reconnecting on our campus home Join us Sunday, January 11 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm

for our open house

perpetually learning one campus p-12 in Golden Valley

Who Knew?

1,017 Lunches served in the tent for Homecoming 2014

/ 11

10 Today at Breck

Fall 2014

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…


12 /


Military training at Breck began as an optional activity but became mandatory in 1943. It lasted

until 1959.


Breck’s program was an ROTC 55C program, which meant that the school rather than the Army

supplied its staff.


The main activities were close-order drilling, with the marching annually reviewed by local Army

officers from Fort Snelling and elsewhere.



While students competed for ribbons, the most coveted recognition was rank. For commissioned

Commandant Lorand Andahazy was a Hungarian-

rank, a student needed an academic average of 78 or better,

born war hero who won silver and bronze stars in

a military grade of 80 or better and a leadership rating of

the U.S. Army and earlier starred at the Ballet Russe de

“excellent.” For noncommissioned rank, it was an academic

Monte Carlo. (A reviewer from Fort Snelling once comment-

average of 75 or better, a military grade of 75 or better and a

ed, “You’ve got the precision fine, but they march like a bunch

leadership rating of “good.”

of ballet dancers.”)


Former Headmaster Chester DesRochers, who had great passions for horses and riding, directed the

building of the first stables on the Como Avenue campus. By 1941, there were 25 horses living on the grounds.



A boy with too many demerits could be required to spend Saturday mornings marching on the blacktop

or athletic field — even in the dead of winter.


Demerits, in some cases, could be negotiable. When the late C. Carroll “Spike” Hicks ’47 received 32

Phillippe Verbrugghen (above right), Breck’s

demerits for “laughing too loud in class,” commandant Harry

very popular riding instructor, who joined the staff

Smith took pity and reduced the levy to 3.

in 1942, was the son of noted Minneapolis Symphony conductor Henri Verbrugghen.


At the annual Military Ball, uniformed Breck students and their dates passed under an arch of

drawn sabers.

13 / 13

Homecoming 2014

Today at Breck

14 /

Fall 2014

/ 15 2014 Homecoming King Kwaku Bodom and Queen Jaila Tolbert

Legacies: Breck alumni and their current student children

16 /

New Family Host Program Helps Warm. Welcoming. Open. Inclusive. At Breck, we’ve long

most wonderful volunteers,” they say, “and we’ve had great

prided ourselves at making new community members feel

support from the administration.”

embraced. Despite the best of intentions, however, it doesn’t always work for new families. And when the Breck Parents Association leadership started discussing ways to address the problem last year, a new effort was launched. It’s called the New Family Host program, and it’s been designed to provide new families with a friendly face, some parental guidance and, most important, a source of information about the basics. Let’s just add that we’re not talking about curriculum or the hours of the school day here. We’re talking about some of the things that really make a difference for a new family — like knowing what kind of tights go under a Lower School uniform, the etiquette of Upper School dances, advice on

New family hosts are assigned to new families over the summer, bridging what can be a gap between the admissions process and the start of school. Hosts make contact with monthly phone calls and make sure new families know they can call at any time with questions. “People seem very touched to be contacted by phone,” observes Paster. “Still, we’re conscious of wanting them to feel supported, not overwhelmed. We’re always looking for the sweet spot.” Says new parent Tala Bynum, “It’s nice to know that someone’s thinking of you, especially during the drought of official information over the summer. And there are always

when to get here for the Halloween parade or the lowdown


on Middle School after-school study.

Bynum’s new family host, Martha Stutsman, says that

Program co-chairs Amy Paster and Elizabeth Wilcox say the

reaching out to parents can have a good effect on their

response has been overwhelmingly positive. “We have the

children as well. “When you’re in this role you can have your

children help welcome new students in their class, too. I

Bynum says that having another parent to talk to over the

really believe that genuine warmth is one of Breck’s greatest

summer helped give her insights into what to expect in the

strengths. So when you embrace new students you are by

fall. “We came to Breck from a school in Colorado where we

happy extension embracing the whole family.”

knew everyone and suddenly we knew no one,” she ex-

The program is meant to complement other initiatives such as the Parent Mentors. While it tries not to duplicate efforts, the chairs say, “We’re just adding one more layer of commu-

plains. “So not only did Martha give us important information, she also set a tone for the whole community before the school year even began.”

nication and one more opportunity to connect, parent-to-

Paster and Wilcox plan ongoing evaluation of the program


but are so far more than encouraged. “Like any program, it’s

Stutsman says her experience with the program has let her make overtures and then take the relationship as far as it will naturally extend. For some families, it’s meant a sort of

only as good as its volunteers,” observes Paster. “And our volunteers have been amazing. They’ve gone above and beyond in so many unexpected ways.”

buddy system for activities such as parent meetings and

They’re thinking about creating a new family handbook

community-building events. With others, it’s led to strong

that gathers “inside information” in a convenient place and

friendships among the students. “When I call, people will

helping volunteers think about hosting informal events over

call back,” she observes. “And, really, can our children ever

the summer. Says Wilcox, “Who knows where this will lead?

have too much support?”

When we took it on, we thought it was just a little

/ 17

project. Now look at it!” JF

Families Feel Welcome at Breck

Students like these ninth graders have a built-in friend network. Now there are efforts to make new parents feel welcome too.

Illustration by Kevin Cannon ’98. Photos by Sara Rubinstein

Today at Breck Fall 2014

18 /

What Makes a Teacher Great?


When we set out to write an article about great teaching, our first thought was to look for the latest pedagogical research


in textbooks, journal articles and the websites of education

Clearly, great teachers are committed to their students. “You

departments at leading colleges and universities. And then it

teach students first and then the subject,” says English

dawned on us: why look any farther than our own backyard?

Department Head Frank Eustis. “Connect with each student

So we sent a short questionnaire to Breck teachers, asking four simple things: • What are the characteristics of a good teacher? • How did you learn to teach? • What’s the most rewarding thing about being a teacher? • What’s a fun fact about you that you’d be willing to share with the Breck community?

individually and become a partner in that student’s growth,” says international studies director and Chinese instructor Margaret Wong. “You have to know kids individually,” says Middle School Director Sky Fauver, “and understand their age, developmental needs and readiness to learn. And you’ll know how you’re doing. Kids are the first to recognize it when they feel a teacher doesn’t understand them.” Lower School teacher Carrie Jensen believes that the best teacher–student relationships come from shared experience. “I’ve always enjoyed the teachers who were willing to share

AND, JUST LIKE THE BRECK FACULTY, THE RESULTS WERE AMAZING. When it comes to the characteristics of a great teacher, we saw some of the same words in many of the responses. Some of those frequently mentioned words are captured in Kevin Cannon ‘98’s illustration at left.

stories from their lives, were interested in their students’ stories, and focused on building new stories together,” she says. Her second-grade colleague Ty Thayer ’90 puts it this way: “I believe that a good teacher works to get to know each student as an individual. Personal connections allow a teacher to design a lesson that will challenge, inspire and foster a learner.”

/ 19

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

What Makes

Art instructor Carol Grams says that it’s a fairly simple

Flexibility in the classroom can also mean taking advantage

equation: “Good teachers must love their students and love

of opportunities to teach more than just the basics of a lesson

their subject. If they do, their passion about getting the two

plan. Says Wong, “As a teacher of French, and later of Chinese,

to connect can overcome almost anything.”

I learned that to get beyond ‘Hello’ and ‘Please close the

And citing the pedagogical authority whose writings about teaching have inspired him, Upper School Director Tom 20 /

Taylor explains, “John Dewey says that teaching is about the creation of an environment — not any particular lesson or

window’ you can only teach language through teaching the culture at the same time. I am fortunate to have had so many rich life experiences, so that my personal stories fascinate students and inspire them to learn the language.” Curiosity, warmth, sense of humor, patience, passion, approachability, creating an environment where it’s okay for both students and teachers to take risks and fail — all characteristics Breck teachers believe are important. Of course, there’s also mastery of and love for the subject matter, genuine affection for young people and the desire to keep learning as an adult. It’s a complicated mixture of qualities — which is why great teachers are such an important asset to any school. So perhaps the last word on the characteristics of a good teacher goes to Upper School history instructor Tim Rosenfield, who says this: “I’ll define ‘good’ as ‘effective.’ In whom love for one’s subject and for one’s students are/is indivisible. One who seeks to know the students in the same way the teacher wishes the students to know the subject. One who

Alice Wright test. You have to make students understand that you’re going to know and care about them by setting high standards and

treats and prepares the classroom as an environment of shared discovery. An effective teacher is a pyromaniac — igniting and fanning the flame of curiosity, imagination and rigorous effort. The rest is commentary.”

never letting them be anonymous in your class.”



Among the Breck faculty, there are several teachers whose

Many of the teachers we surveyed listed flexibility as one of a teacher’s greatest needs, pointing out that what works in one class period might not work in the next. Great teachers put in the time to figure out what each student, each class and each grade needs to succeed. “A good teacher is able to present material in multiple ways to teach different kinds of learners,” says Middle School Media Generalist Sue Bydlon. “Good teachers come in many shapes, sizes and proclivities to be sure,” says Visual Arts Department Head Michal Sagar. “I’m partial to intelligence, passion, curiosity, flexibility and humor.”

professional experience started when they were very young. Lisa Hunninghake, who teaches third grade and is a Breck Master Teacher, started a “school” for the children in her neighborhood when she was growing up. “I would expect my younger students to learn whatever I was currently learning at school,” she explains. “If I was multiplying, so were my students.” Lower School Dean and teacher Cathy Preissing played school with her brothers. Lower School teacher Sara Thorne says she played teacher all the time and even babysat for free, and explains, “Obviously, my graduate and undergraduate work is where I learned content, but it is through my life experiences both as a child and an adult that I feel I have learned the most about teaching.”

a Teacher Great? Upper School English instructor Meg Carlsen says, “In grade

how to teach by teaching. I made a lot of mistakes and still

school I was often the kid in the classroom helping the other

do,” and Lower School teacher Marcy Wegner says, “Some of it

kids in the room understand the material. In college I would

was intuitive, but mostly I believe you just need to get in

organize study groups and create study guides for the

there and try! I learn from my mistakes just like my students.”

material.” Middle School teacher Mary Jane Curran says she’s been “teaching since I was a young person: working with neighborhood kids, coaching, religious education, etc.” Lower School teacher Kim Schafer relates, “I’m pretty sure I was born to teach but I learned a lot from my teachers — the good

Drama instructor and Master Teacher Tom Hegg says, “I am learning on the fly. Kids and colleagues are my teachers,” Lower School Chaplain Nan Zosel says she learned by “diving in,” and Upper School Media Generalist Kristin Markert puts

and the not so good.” And Fauver says, “I spent every summer at my family’s camp from the time I was very young, surrounded by great teachers who spent summers there too. I started coaching at 16, in part because I realized that was the best way to keep going back to camp as an adult.”

LEARNING FROM THEIR PARENTS Wong is a teacher who credits a parent — in her case her father, who assigned homework for her and her siblings over school vacations and via weekly correspondence when she came to the United States for boarding school — for inspiring her to become a teacher herself. Many other Breck faculty members come from teaching

Ty Thayer ’90

families as well. Lower School teacher Sherri Rogers recalls, “I learned to teach when I was four. My parents were both educators and I inherited their genes. They also designed a

it this way: “Teaching is an art and a science. To learn how,

classroom for me in our basement so I could teach all the

you study the literature and the methods of good teachers.

neighborhood children. I guess I was a natural and a self-

Then you practice.”

taught teacher.”

Some learned by teaching non-academic subjects first.

And for some it was, seemingly, destiny. Middle and Upper

Middle School teacher Jay Rainville-Squier says, “I first

School teacher Katie Scherer says, “I mostly learned the

started teaching as a martial arts instructor during seventh

gratification that comes from teaching from my mom, who

grade. I took over the karate studio during high school. From

was coincidentally an eighth-grade English teacher. I tried

the first lesson I taught in seventh grade, I was hooked.”

really hard to do something different from my mom, but

Upper School English teacher Memry Roessler says she

here I am, following her lead.”

learned from “having children under foot.” Upper School

LEARNING BY DOING Most of the Breck teachers who answered our question about how they learned to teach provided some variation on the

Dean Chris Ohm reflects, “I began coaching when I was 14. I had to deal with younger kids and parents at that time. I have taken every interaction and moment in education as a learning experience.”

theme of trial-and-error. Three who focused on the latter part

For another Breck Master Teacher, Upper School Spanish

of the equation are Middle School teacher Dan Ratliff, who

instructor Carol Harrison, self-knowledge played an impor-

says, “years and years of doing it not super well.” Lower

tant role. “I learned by teaching but also learning to be

School Resource Instructor Jackie Keepers says, “I learned

myself,” she says.

/ 21

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

What Makes

Strings instructor Claudette Laureano had this thoughtful

who have helped shape me into the teacher I am today.”

response: “I learned to teach simply by teaching. At about 16,

Art instructor Kat Corrigan takes a more humorous approach:

I began giving lessons to less experienced violinists and

“I learned so much from watching great teachers. Their

figured out that in order for me to teach someone how to do

ability to draw intelligent responses from classmates I

something I had to not only demonstrate it but be able to

thought rather dense made me more aware of the power

explain clearly what I wanted. Playing the violin did not

of really seeing someone.”

come easily to me, and there were holes in my own musical 22 /

education, which made me more aware of what every good

For the Lower School’s Jensen, her first influential mentors came on her first (non-Breck) teaching positions. She says, “My first two teaching jobs were as an assistant teacher working with a mentor teacher — a wonderful way to start out in this challenging field.” And Upper School science instructor and Breck alumna Deb Mixon ’87 reflects, “I had some great role models in my own education at Breck! I was also in a fabulous program at the University of Minnesota that was at the forefront of how to teach science effectively. I am still learning how to teach by regularly talking with colleagues, my own children and friends.”

LEARNING FROM STUDENTS…AND THEIR OWN STUDENT EXPERIENCES Upper School math teacher Mary Gentry observes that the roles are often reversed. “Initially I learned from my own

Evan Jones ’86

teachers and coaches, then from sitting in on colleagues’ classes and keeping up with educators’ blogs,” she says. “But

musician must know in order to succeed. I did not realize it at

I’m perpetually learning from my students.” Asked for a few

the time but I was learning how to analyze and break down

examples, she cites a student who brought her a helpful

large problems into smaller steps. It’s that old line about how

infographic, another who taught her how to make a fractal

you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.”

poem, and several who have introduced her to new music and “addicting” websites.

LEARNING FROM COLLEAGUES Mentors have been instrumental for a number of Breck teachers. Upper School science teacher and coach Brian Wright puts it simply when he says, “I am surrounded by the best teachers in the business.” His science department colleague Chelen Johnson observes, “Like many of my students, I learn best by modeling others — borrowing parts from many people to put together the whole package. And at Breck I get to work with so many intelligent people with talents they’re willing to share.” Lower School instructor Kerry Marshall agrees. “I have the best mentors,” she says. “I have been fortunate enough to have worked with very experienced, knowledgeable teachers

Corrigan says, “I love when students get excited about something we’ve just talked about in class and they bring me real-life examples from their own experience.” And Upper School math instructor Brad Kohl replies, “My mom is my role model for patience, compassion and taking the time to treat people in the way that’s right for them. The rest I learn from my students. Not only are they the experts on themselves, they’re also great teachers for those who take the time to listen.” Like the rest of us, great teachers also have been influenced by their own time as students. Upper School English teacher Dallas Crow says, “I was very aware of what my own teachers did that was effective and what was not. I despised the

a Teacher Great? teachers who I felt were wasting my time, and I never

Middle and Upper School religion teacher and Breck alumnus

wanted to be like that. Also, my parents are pastors, and I

Rob Johnson ’90 says, “Although this is not the reason I do it,

think I picked up a lot from how they conscientiously they

every once in a while a student will tell me about an impact

communicated with others.”

that occurred to them, through me. That’s a nice feeling.” And

New Breck teacher and alumna Madison Styrbicki ’09 says she learned to teach by “remembering what I liked about my own teachers who had the biggest impact on me, then

Lower School Director Peg Bailey, who was an elementary teacher for ten years before she became an administrator, says, “Teaching is a privilege. It humbles you if you allow it to.

/ 23

mixing and matching their styles to create my own.” And Middle School Spanish teacher Veronica Guevara remarks, “I learned from teachers who taught me to love the subjects that they loved — who always brought out something fresh from their students.”

LIGHT BULB MOMENTS: WHEN TEACHERS GET THEIR REWARDS Many of the teachers we surveyed talked about the “aha moments” that provide such satisfaction. One of those responses is from Lower School teacher Barbara JacobsSmith, who says the most rewarding time is “when it all works: that a child understands something that up until a moment ago she did not.” And Upper School science teacher Bruce Davis also points

Marie Murphy

out that every year is a fresh start toward creating more of those moments when he says, “Watching the light go on when a student finally gets it is soooooo cool! You can really see it. At the beginning of the new year you start all over and that allows you to realize how much students learned the year before.”

THE FEELING OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN STUDENTS’ LIVES Several teachers note that their chosen career puts them in the wonderful position of being a positive influence in young people’s lives. Lower School teacher Tara VanDeWynkel says, “There is nothing more rewarding than serving others. As a teacher you serve others on a daily basis.” Mixon observes, “I have had several students come into class at the beginning of the year remarking that they don’t like science or aren’t good at it. When those students come back at the end of the year and tell you that they really enjoyed the class and learned a lot, you know you have made a difference.”

But if you’re open every day to the things that kids can teach you, you can honestly make a huge difference for a child and, one by one, for the world.”

SUPPORTING THEIR OWN INTELLECTUAL INTERESTS A career as an educator often keeps teachers focused on their own learning as well as their students’. Middle School history teacher and Breck alumna Sarah Flotten ’85 says what makes teaching rewarding is “not only the amazing relationship with students and colleagues, but also the chance to follow my passion of connecting the past to the present.” Rainville-Squier adds, “Teaching is mutually beneficial. I love that the nature of teaching means that not only will my students learn each and every day, but so will I.” And French teacher and Community Service Manager Frederique Schmidt points out that her role at Breck puts her in an

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

What Makes

24 /

enviable position to learn every day. She says, “I find deep

cliché, watching my students grow and change over the

meaning in supporting Breck’s community engagement and

course of a year is quite amazing.” Her Lower School colleague

service learning programs. I’m always meeting amazing

Mia Hermann reflects, “I love that I am part of something big-

people from the greater community, and I know that Breck’s

ger than my students’ first-grade life. Each year is a step

involvement in the community has a real impact, perhaps

toward helping him or her reach future hopes and dreams.”

most significantly by helping inform students’ choices and

And preschool teacher Joyce McCann loves “making connec-

actions after they leave Breck. I’m lucky that my work is both

tions with students that are sustained through Upper School

fun and meaningful. I don’t have a lot of friends who can say

and beyond.”

the same thing about their jobs.”

Lower School teacher, Peg Hegg is thrilled with the opportu-

Eustis is also grateful for education’s lighter side: “Teaching

nity to “watch them grow up before my eyes. I cry at every

keeps me learning; it helps me keep growing as a person. And

graduation.” And Thorne says it can be an unexpected

being with teenagers makes me laugh a lot.”

delight: “Recently it has been rewarding to attend weddings of my former students and meet some of them for lunch.

HAPPINESS IS ONE OF THE BEST REWARDS Like Eustis, many teachers appreciate the most pleasant

This is a reward that I never even considered when I entered this profession.”

aspects of their work. Library/Media Department Head and

Scherer is just as aware of the changes from Middle to Upper

Breck alumna Emily Jones ’94 says what she loves about

School. She says, “At Breck, I love that I get to see kids grow

teaching is its variety. “Unexpected happy surprises happen

from eighth graders into seniors. Talking with well-adjusted,

often!” she observes.

confident Upper School students who were once in my class

Preissing enjoys “the kids! Their enthusiasm for learning, their kind hearts, and the amazing ideas they share at even

is a great reminder of the great work we do in the Middle School as we try to help kids find their voices.”

the youngest ages. My favorite question to ask is, ‘What

Fortunately, the Upper School teaching experience doesn’t

makes you say that?’ I love it when a child shares his or her

stop with graduation. Wright puts it this way: “The things

thinking and how his or her mind works.”

that are most rewarding to me have changed over the last

Lower School teacher Abby Kordosky states that she enjoys “every day coming into the classroom and seeing the excitement for school on each child’s face!” Wegner regularly loves “the funny things kindergartners say every day.” And Amundson, whose response seems to prove the adage that Middle School teachers are sometimes just Middle

ten+ years. I remember the first time I was able to help a student understand a concept. It’s hard to describe the thrill of that feeling. As I have put in my time, I now feel a sense of pride when I hear how my former students are leading successful, productive lives. That I had even a small part in that is incredibly rewarding.”

for her is “the joy that students bring every day. There are


very few bad days when you are with Middle Schoolers. They

Catching up with so many great teachers, we couldn’t help

are life and energy.”

but think about the future and wonder how the school will


assure that those who follow in their footsteps will carry on

Schoolers themselves, says what makes teaching rewarding

Another recurring theme from teachers in every division was the reward that comes from working on a P-12 campus where there is frequent contact with past students, whether they’ve moved on to a new division or life beyond Breck. Lower School teachers have daily opportunities to watch their students grow. Says Marshall, “Although it sounds

the tradition. So what does Breck look for during the hiring process for new teachers, and how does the school go about it? Director of Human Resources Mary Healy says Breck is always actively recruiting — staying ahead of the need at times — in a variety of ways. She and other administrators attend career fairs and conferences and advertise openings on Breck’s and

a Teacher Great? other websites. Most important, though, are contacts that

Bailey says she looks for teachers who are “bright, whose

come through referrals or teachers who have seen people

egos aren’t bigger than themselves and are open to learning

from Breck at a conference and want to know more about

more. We listen closely when they talk about themselves,

the school.

their strengths and where they want to grow. You can get a

“I don’t feel like a salesperson,” Healy explains, “because for the right people the school sells itself. When they learn

general feeling pretty quickly about a young person who knows she or he wants to be surrounded by good mentors.”

more about what we do and the way we do it, people get

“We make sure candidates have a chance to meet with

really excited.”

students informally and not just in a teaching situation,”

Strong candidates are invited to Breck and often teach sample classes. “Watching someone teach can make a huge difference, especially when candidates seem similar on

says Fauver. “It’s pretty telling right away. Middle School kids can be a real challenge. You know when you have a natural on your hands.”

paper,” says Taylor. He adds, “And it works the same way for

Says Healy, “And once we get candidates here to campus,

them, because a school in the abstract and Breck are not the

you can just tell that they get it. Even people who arrive with

same thing. Faculty members have to commit to being part

some hesitation leave convinced that Breck is a place that

of the life of the school, so they need to get a feel for us at the

really delivers on its promise.”

same time we’re evaluating them.”

Five of our current Master Teachers, left to right: Alice Wright, Lisa Hunninghake, Tom Hegg, Sarah Flotten ’85 and Karen Pape. Not pictured: Carol Harrison and Jacob Miller.

/ 25

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

REWARDING GREAT TEACHERS: THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT In addition to competitive salaries and benefit packages, Breck maintains a very active professional development program to keep great teachers challenged, engaged — and here. Says Head of School Edward Kim, “There’s no question that our investment in faculty development enhances the experiences of our students. The best teachers are learners, themselves. That’s why it’s so important to provide them with the chance to model good learning for their students.” Breck’s professional development program includes year-long sabbaticals, grants for summer study and travel, grants for mid-year visits to other schools and reimbursement for coursework. Proposals are reviewed first by a committee of faculty and administration called Faculty Advisory, with final decisions made by Kim.

26 /

In addition, teachers are eligible for honors and awards including the endowed Faculty Chair program and Jean Wigley Awards for excellence in teaching, all of which provide stipends for study and, in some cases, travel.

BRECK FACULTY CHAIR RECIPIENTS The Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Breck Faculty Chair

The Cloverfields Foundation Breck Faculty Chair


Michal Sagar, Upper School (2007-2010)

Carrie Lennox, Middle School

Mary Gentry, Upper School (2010-2013)

Frank Eustis, Upper School

A.J. Colianni, Upper School (2013-2016)

2005-06 Lynn Day, Lower School

Caroline Carlson, Middle School (2005-2008) Robin Fondow, Middle School (2008-2011) Dan Ratliff, Middle School (2011-2014)

The Breck Middle School Faculty Chair

Katie Scherer, Middle School (2014-2017)

Mary Jane Curran, Middle School (2007-2010)

The Lee and Penny Anderson Family Breck Faculty Chair

Byron Rice, Middle School (2010-2013) Rick Miller, Middle School (2013-2016)

Jane Bartow, Lower School (2005-2008) Bobbie Tonkin, Lower School (2008-2011) Ty Thayer, Lower School (2011-2014) Joyce McCann, Lower School (2014-2017)

The Wallace and Mary Lee Dayton Family Breck Faculty Chair Gloria Smith, Lower School (2006-2009) Peggy Fifield, Lower School (2009-2012) Dr. Jacob Miller, Upper School (2012-2015)

The Ralph and Peggy Burnet Family Breck Faculty Chair Margaret Wong, Upper School (2006-2009) Lois Fruen, Upper School (2009-2012) Carol Grams, Lower School (2012-2015)

Claudia Sanhueza, Lower School

JEAN WIGLEY AWARD WINNERS 2001-02 Bobbie Tonkin, Lower School Caroline Carlson, Middle School Jil Franke, Upper School 2002-03 Carol Grams, Lower School Mary Jane Curran, Middle School Carol Harrison, Upper School 2003-04 Cathy Preissing, Lower School Robin Fondow, Middle School Tom Hegg, Upper School

Rick Miller, Middle School Jake Miller, Upper School 2006-07 Kathy Quick, Lower School Claudette Laureano, Middle School Mary Gentry, Upper School 2007-08 Joyce McCann, Lower School Derek Yang, Middle School Warren Hall, Upper School 2008-09 Maura Roby, Lower School Evan Jones ’86, Middle School Tim Rosenfield, Upper School 2009-10 Lisa Hunninghake, Lower School 2010-11 Brad Kohl, Upper School 2011-12 Alexis Kent, Middle School 2012-13 Lisa (Lokke) Heurung, Lower School 2013-14 Dallas Crow, Upper School

/ 27

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW BRECK TEACHERS? Match the teacher with the fun fact.

28 /

1. Was in the front row of Vanilla Ice’s concert in eighth grade and knows all the words to “Ice, Ice Baby.” 2. Spent seven days on the Snake River in ninth grade, only getting off for meals and at night. 3. Plays the cello. 4. Loves to jam down to soca music. 5. Is the youngest of eight children, most of whom are lawyers. 6. Worked as a commercial fisherwoman on a lobster boat in the Florida Keys. 7. Sang at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, DC. 8. Learned how to swim in high school by joining the swim team and won the most-improved medal by the end of the first year. 9. Teaches preschool in the same classroom in which she attended preschool. 10. Got into trouble for doodling during math class. 11. Was born in Bermuda. 12. Has teaching in the gene pool (father before he became a lawyer, mother, sister and daughter). 13. Teaches in a classroom with a hidden doorbell. 14. Has a twin sister who isn’t a teacher. 15. Shined shoes at a summer job in Green Bay and made change for Vince Lombardi. 16. Belongs to a women’s stilting cooperative, Chicks-on-Sticks. 17. Is happy but maybe a little jealous of his teacher son’s school facilities. 18. Took second place in the Prairie Home Companion loon call competition (but lost to a nine-year-old). 19. Married an amazing woman. 20. Received a Citizen’s Law Enforcement Medal for stopping a felony home robbery. 21. Quit hockey to competitively dance until fourth grade. 22. Wouldn’t change one thing in his/her life if he/she won the lottery today. 23. Swore he/she wouldn’t be a teacher at the start of college (to avoid doing homework for the rest of his/her life). 24. Has “mad dance skills.” 25. Went to Girl Scout Camp at Mt. St. Helens. 26. Grew up on a farm and financed college mostly by walking beans, detasseling corn, picking up rocks and baling hay. 27. Has ancestors who went to church with George and Martha Washington. 28. Says teaching makes him/her happy and still gets excited after 38 years in the profession. 29. Lived in abutting neighborhoods, went to the same college and lived a town apart from her parents and now teaches next door to Karen Pape (but didn’t meet her until she/he came to Breck). 30. Used to manage a Mexican restaurant in West Berlin. 31. Wants to be an architect when he/she grows up. 32. Is a Breck alum whose brother-in-law, sister-in-law and father-in-law went to Breck (and when other alumni read her name tag often think she’s married to her brother-in-law). 33. Says the whole day is better whenever he/she can bike the 1.7 miles from his/her house to Breck. 34. Was actually born in Louisiana, not Texas. 35. Lives in a National Park. 36. Has 11 siblings. 37. Has traveled to four continents and ridden on horses, donkeys, rafts, elephants, bikes, trucks, trains , cars, planes, helicopters and motorcycles. 38. Has been to the Great Wall of China and loves to travel to other countries.


39. Says his/her reading habits were formed in childhood by comic books and Mad Magazine. 40. Is in love with poetry and words, enjoying their imagery, power and ability to bring laughter and be great medicine. 41. Has a cat named Flunch. 42. Moved to Hawaii by him/herself and stayed four months before running out of money and coming home. 43. Originally a pre-med major at college and captain of the pom pom squad in high school. 44. Is dyslexic, diagnosed in the second grade. 45. Is part of a family that has hosted 11 international students in their home over the past four years. 46. Has a mother who was a candidate for vice president of the United States in 1980. 47. Was a ski instructor for ten years. 48. Was ranked tenth in the nation for weapons in karate. 49. Has a brother who taught on the River Road campus and had her/his first student teaching experience there too. 50. Has been teaching for 44 years. 51. Loves traveling and has been to 26 different countries. 52. Loves every season of the year and could never live anywhere without seasonal changes. 53. Was recently reminded by her own former teacher that she had announced that she wanted to be a teacher when she was in her sixth-grade class. 54. Every job has been in either a bookstore or a library. 55. Ran his/her sixth marathon on October 5. 56. Almost flunked kindergarten. 57. Didn’t realize he/she wanted to teach until going through the college course catalog to randomly highlight interesting courses and realizing they were all for teachers. 58. Has a classroom with more than 50 owls (so far). 59. Was in a rock band called the Tuff Bunnies that once played First Avenue. 60. Is learning Ojibwe from kindergartners with her/his service group. 61. Won a talent competition playing Beethoven’s Symphony Pathetique on the piano. 62. Was a member of her high school dance team and later served ten years as their varsity coach. 63. Was a foreign exchange student in France during her/his senior year of high school. 64. Loves the movie “Pitch Perfect” and founded an a cappella group in college. 65. Takes care of foster cats and dogs looking for homes through Pet Project Rescue. 66. Has two parents and two stepparents who are all Presbyterian ministers. 67. Won her/his fourth-grade spelling bee with the word “island.” 68. Was the town operator on the one phone in a Costa Rican village.

1. Katie Scherer 2. Sue Bydlon 3. Laura Berdine 4. Matthew Mendes 5. Alice Wright 6. Sherri Rogers 7. Chelen Johnson 8. Mia Hermann 9. Abby Kordosky 10. Carol Grams 11. Cathy Preissing 12. Michal Sagar 13. Ty Thayer 14. Paula Nelson 15. Robin Fondow

16. Kat Corrigan 17. Tom Hegg 18. Evan Jones 19. Byron Rice 20. Chris Ohm 21. Madison Styrbicki 22. Claudette Laureano 23. Mary Jane Curran 24. Nan Zosel 25. Marcy Wegner 26. Sara Thorne 27. Elizabeth Powers 28. Barbara Jacobs-Smith

29. Kim Schafer 30. Veronica Guevara 31. Frederique Schmidt 32. Deb Mixon 33. Kristin Markert 34. Carol Harrison 35. Brad Kohl 36. Carey Sirianni 37. Jackie Keepers 38. Joyce McCann 39. Tim Rosenfield 40. Virginia Amundson 41. Meg Carlsen

42. Laura Burrows 43. Dulcenee Walsh 44. Risa Cohen 45. Rob Johnson 46. Brad Peterson 47. Charlie Grossman 48. Jay Rainville-Squier 49. Peg Hegg 50. Bruce Davis 51. Marie Murphy 52. Tara VanDeWynkel 53. Sarah Flotten 54. Emily Jones 55. Leah Malec 56. Margaret Wong

57. Carrie Jensen 58. Lisa Hunninghake 59. Frank Eustis 60. John Bellaimey 61. Mary Gentry 62. Kerry Marshall 63. Dallas Crow 64. Brian Wright 65. Jenny Bennett 66. Tom Taylor 67. Peg Bailey 68. Sky Fauver

/ 29

Today at Breck

Fall 2014



etually learning:perpetually learning:pe

Borman ’07: Maggie Borman ’07: Maggie Borman ’07: Maggie Borman ’07: Maggi What is your job?

lots of students on different levels, not enough resources….

Currently I am a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, pursuing a masters in learning and teaching. For the past three years I was teaching third grade at the Best Academy in North Minneapolis.

This was the first time I really understood the achievement

What do you like about it?

in my career choice. It forced me to leave my comfort zone

I enjoy being a student again, but I miss teaching! I loved the feeling when a student learns something new or uses a big vocabulary word correctly. My favorite part of our day was the shout out circle before dismissal. Students would volunteer to share something positive a classmate did or said that day. I was always impressed by how thoughtful they were. Most days so many kids would want to share that we ran out of time! Even on the toughest days, this time always amazed and recharged me.

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? My best advice is to start volunteering in schools. If you don’t have the opportunity now, definitely do so during college. Teaching is not an easy job — it was eye opening for me to volunteer in an urban school during undergrad. Long hours,

gap because it was sitting right in front of me. My two years in this classroom committed me to the notion that all kids deserve the best. I decided the best way for me to attack that problem was from the classroom.

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare? I think the service program at Breck was very instrumental and see just how different life was just a few miles from school. However I also saw that I could make a difference, even as a teenager. In college I knew I wanted to continue my volunteer work, which led me to that kindergarten class. Without the service program, I could be on a totally different path!

Applause May 1, 2015

/ 31

perpetually erpetually learning:perpetually learning:perpetually learning learning

Jack Cavanaugh ’91: Jack Cavanaugh ’91: Jack Cavanaugh ’91: Jack Cavanaugh ’91 What is your job?

them and that you care about their success in and out of

I currently am a third-grade

school. Get to know them outside of the classroom. Go to

teacher at Aquila Elementary

their performances, their swim meets, their hockey and

in St. Louis Park.

soccer games. If they know that you believe in them, they

What do you like about it?

may surprise you.

The one thing I really enjoy

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare?

about my job is that every day I

Before working at Aquila I had the opportunity to work as a

walk through the classroom

substitute teacher at Breck. On my first day teaching at Breck

door, I can expect that this day

I was placed in the room next to where I was a fourth grader

will most likely not be the same as the previous day. My

back in the early ’80s. And the teacher that was in that room

students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and

next to me was my own teacher in fourth grade, Mrs. Quick. I

experiences and have different needs making them all

remembered Mrs. Quick (she will always be Mrs. Quick to

unique. I have the opportunity to try different approaches to

me) and what kind of teacher she was and that made me

make them into lifelong learners, and each day those

reflect on why today I remember her. She made me think

approaches can be successful and not so successful. After

about how important it is to dedicate yourself to this

those non-successful days, I can come back the next day and

profession. She made me think how I would prepare to

try something different. But truly the best thing about

become a “good” teacher. I also believe that all my teachers

teaching is when a student I thought that I did not reach

at Breck helped me prepare by teaching me in their own

comes back to visit and shares how well they are doing in

style. Some of my teachers, Mr. Little and Mr. Fondow,

school and, in not so many words, says that they appreciate

showed me that using humor is a great way to connect with

everything I did for them.

students. Former Breck teachers Mr. Stern and Mr. York

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? The best piece of advice I would give is to become invested in your students. Know that they are more than just points of data on a spreadsheet. They need to know that you believe in

showed me how it is important to have high expectations of every student. Mrs. Franke showed me how important it is to be caring to your students, and Ms. Johnson has shown me the impact that a teacher can have on students long after they leave the halls of their school.

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

ogswell ’90: Heather Cogswell ’90: Heather Cogswell ’90: Heather Cogswell ’90: He What is your job?

college, I taught seventh–twelfth grade choir in the Forest

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career?

Lake School district for two years. Following that I taught

For students interested in

first–fifth grade classroom music in the Edina Public Schools.

teaching, I guess the first thing I

An opportunity to perform a great deal presented itself and I

would do is not sugarcoat it.

left teaching to pursue my performance career. Starting a

Teaching is really hard! It can be

family made almost constant performing and traveling

exhausting, exasperating and

impossible, so I left that behind. I am currently working as a

can drive you to tears. It can also

director of music at Parkview United Church of Christ in

be the most rewarding, fun,

White Bear Lake, where I plan the music program, direct the

challenging, joy filled thing that

My undergrad degrees are in vocal performance and music education. My masters is in music education. Following

32 /

choir and serve as organist. I also have been teaching some

you do. You have to go into it being dead serious about the

early childhood music to children aged birth–five and their

young lives that you are going to touch each and every day.

parents. So, I’ve basically taught music in some form or another to children from birth to about 88 years of age!

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare?

What do you like about it?

The good teachers and the bad teachers that you have during

What I like the best about it is bringing the joy of music to

all of your educational years certainly influence the kind of

people! We have a completely erroneous belief in our society

teacher that you become. I was fortunate to have many good

that only “talented” people can participate in musical

teachers during my years at Breck. Because of their mastery

activities when all of the research and practical hands on

of their subject, their passion for teaching, their love of

evidence shows that music is a learned skill. Just like reading,

working with young people, their respect towards young

writing, athletics, etc., we are all born with the ability to be

people and their kindness, Tom Hegg and Tim Rosenfield

musical. I have never seen a baby or young child that didn’t

were and are what I call “master teachers” and I certainly

react to music. It is simply something that needs to be

hope that I was able to positively influence some of my

taught. Not everyone will reach the same level of proficiency

students the way they positively influenced me.

in music just as not everyone will reach the same level of proficiency in reading, math, science or athletics. However, we can all actively create music. I love showing all ages of people that this is completely within their grasp.

asley ’98: Aliceyn Heasley ’98: Aliceyn Heasley ’98: Aliceyn Heasley ’98: Aliceyn Hea What is your job? At my school, I have had two roles: a NEST Teacher and NEST Coach. NEST is a special program that was started about 13 years ago in New York City Public Schools. The program’s goal is to provide better support for students who have High Functioning Autism or Aspergers. I have been lucky enough to be a part of this program since almost the beginning and I have seen it grow over the past decade. I started in the specialized NEST Integrated Collaborated Teaching classes and taught a combination of first and second grades for eight years. Last year, I left the classroom position to directly support our NEST students throughout the day. This year, not only am I helping our NEST students

Aliceyn Heasley ’98: Aliceyn Heasley ’98: Aliceyn Heasley ’98: continued Aliceyn but I am also a coach to the NEST teachers, and I help them

passionate about, and you will be amazed how you can bring

strengthen their teaching practices.

those areas of expertise into your classroom.

What do you like about it?

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially

In my new position, I get to work with so many more

influential in helping you prepare?

students than I did when I was in a classroom.

Being a biddy in fourth grade showed me how much I like

But the absolute best part is seeing how much progress the

working with younger kids. I was always so excited when it

students made over the course of the year. I love it when

was our class’s turn.

students call themselves a reader or writer.

I also think the Wednesday community involvement was

What advice would you give a Breck student interested in a teaching career?

very eye-opening. One year, I worked at an Early Head Start

I majored in anthropology as an undergraduate, and I believe that experience in another field has made me a more well-rounded teacher. I would advise interested students to focus on more than teaching in your undergraduate work. I

Program, and it was a lot of fun creating different art

/ 33

activities for the students. I think my time there and the other community service places I volunteered at through Breck’s community service program influenced me to work in a school with underprivileged students.

would take those years to explore other areas that you are

Adam Hegg ’97: Adam Hegg ’97: Adam Hegg ’97: Adam Hegg ’97: Adam Hegg ’9 add value to students and to make their high school experience as good as possible. The fact that I get to run a program where students find joy through hard work is such a gift. The collaboration that we are allowed to create makes a true connection between students and gives me an opportunity to best serve them.

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? Teaching is incredibly rewarding. It is not rewarding in the way that another job may be. For example it doesn’t reward “hard work” with 1:1 rewards. Rather the opportunity to provide the best possible experience to students and to enrich their lives is a reward. I spent a couple years giving my experience primacy over my students. Once I started to truly understand that I am at school for the students I became a better instructor and my students benefit better from my work. Pay attention to the way your instructors interact with students, and you will notice that this is how these interactions work.

What is your job? I am the director of theatre for Wayzata High School and I

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare?

also teach in the communications (English) department.

Breck helped me prepare by showing me precisely the ways

What do you like about it?

expectation and respect.

The students. That is not to say it isn’t hard. I feel as though this is a service profession. Being able to be here and to daily

in which a student/teacher relationship is based on high

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

’91: Lia Melrose ’91: Lia Melrose ’91: Lia Melrose ’91: Lia Melrose ’91: Lia Melrose ’91: What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? Go for it! Pay attention to your teachers as they are your best example of excellence in their field. Breck students have amazing teachers who make the job look easy and being in their classrooms is a step-by-step guide for how good teaching is delivered. I’ll also say this: there are thousands of ways to earn better money than being a teacher. However, no other job will allow you to personally transform lives like 34 /

What is your job?

being a teacher can.

I teach high school math to students who are, or have been, in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare?

What do you like about it?

Mr. Magnuson is the main reason I love math. It was in his

I really enjoy sharing my love of math with my students, but I could have done that at any school. My students are particularly special to me because most of them grew up with negative adult (their parents, no parents, the police, the court system, teachers, family members, etc.) interactions. Every day is a chance for me to show my students that there are adults who care about them, who want them to succeed, who can be depended on. They are amazing kids, and it’s

seventh- or eighth-grade class when everything math clicked in my head. Without him, I’d probably be a cake decorator. Ms. Merrill was the first teacher who understood why I was terrible at social studies and knew what I needed to be successful. That was my first conscious moment when I realized that there are different ways kids process information best, and great teachers know to reach every single one of them.

nice to be a part of their success.

o ’05: Katie Pinto ’05: Katie Pinto ’05: Katie Pinto ’05: Katie Pinto ’05: Katie Pinto ’05: What is your job?

race to get as much experience in the classroom as I could.

I am teaching third grade

The more experience you have, the more comfortable and

at Creek Valley Elemen-

confident you will be. Kids really pick up on that. I would also

tary School in Edina.

advise a future teacher to never forget why it is you really

What do you like about it? My favorite thing about

want to be a teacher. Like any profession, it is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and forget the bigger-picture hopes and dreams you have for your students.

moment students have

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare?

when they grasp

I decided to teach because I felt so lucky to grow up loving

something they did not

learning, and it’s upsetting to me that most kids don’t have

previously understand. It

that same experience. By really helping kids feel like they

teaching is the “a-ha!”

is so fun to see how quickly students this age absorb new

belong to a community and by honing in on what interests

information and how excited they are about learning. That

them, I hope to help them find that same love for learning

excitement is more important to me than whatever we are

that I was lucky enough to find at Breck.

specifically covering that day.

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? The more experience you can get, the better! I came to teaching after trying out a different career first, and it was a


Annalisa Tester ’10: Annalisa Tester ’10: Annalisa Tester ’10: Annalisa Tester ’10: An What is your job?

doubt that I will continue to use them as resources as my

I am currently enrolled in the

career develops.

Collaborative Internship Program

However, the best advice I received from my favorite college

between Lesley University and

professor, Adam Howard, was to always be a student despite

Buckingham Browne and Nichols

your title of “teacher” or educator. Adam made me realize the

School in Cambridge, MA. I am a

importance of continuing to learn about topics that interest

full-time fifth-grade assistant

you outside the classroom, to remember what it is like to be

teacher in a prep school very

a student learning something new, and to remember the

similar to Breck, and am in

feeling of falling in love with learning. I think this is great

graduate school at Lesley Univer-

advice for those interested in a teaching career: find some-

sity earning a masters in elementary education and a MA

thing you truly love learning about and continue your study

licensure K-6. I will complete my degree next spring.

of it and it will impact and improve your ability to be a

What do you like about it?

successful teacher. During college, I led backpacking trips

While I had offers to teach as a full time-teacher with my own classroom, I chose the Collaborative program because it best suited my desire to work with mentor teachers and gain as much information as I could both about myself as an educator and the students I want to work with, before becoming a lead teacher with my own classroom. As a 22year-old, I am open with my professors at Lesley and my mentors at BB&N about how I want to develop professionally, and am able to transition from a student to teacher with the support that is necessary to be successful. Taking classes concurrently gives me the opportunity to put theory into practice on a daily basis, see what works and what doesn’t, and reflect on and make changes to my own teaching

one summer for eleven- and twelve-year-olds, studied multicultural issues in Denmark, and was a successful college athlete. None of these experiences was in a “traditional” classroom setting, but I learned about the developmental stages of eleven- and twelve-year-olds, cultural traditions and creating a culturally inclusive classroom, and how early educational experiences stay with college-aged kids and adults. I am so grateful for all of the experiences that have shown me that a classroom extends far beyond four walls and a single teacher.

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare? So many! I am constantly thinking back to my experiences


and classes at Breck, whether it is learning about a style of

Of course, the highlight of every day is watching my

teaching math, a favorite book from Lower School, or the

relationships with the students grow, seeing their excite-

relationships I hope to have with my students that mimic

ment over planting radishes in science or reading their

those I had with my own Breck teachers. Mrs. (Alice) Wright

“hopes and dreams” during Writers Workshop! The exhaus-

instilled in me a love of learning in first grade that carried

tion at the end of the day is so worthwhile and is a reminder

through to the dynamic duo of Mr. (Evan) Jones and Mr.

that the community I am surrounded by is focused solely on

(Rick) Miller in Middle School and to the countless teachers

creating the best learning environment for the students and

in Upper School who impacted my own educational path.

a supportive one for faculty.

I channel my inner Ms. Roessler when asking the difficult

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? Stay connected to past teachers and professors, and reach out to Breck alums. Throughout college, I tried to stay in touch with previous teachers when returning home to MN on breaks or through e-mail. I also would e-mail or get in touch with alums who were working in organizations or fields of education that I was interested in. Additionally, I used my college professors at Colby for help in finding summer jobs and making post-grad plans, and have no

questions of my students, Mr. Crow’s humor in creating an open dialogue with students outside of class, Ms. J’s incredible organization, and Ms. Gentry’s unmatched energy. Simply put, I am a teacher today because of the outstanding and dedicated teachers I had throughout my twelve years at Breck, and the support of my family and faculty at Colby.

/ 35

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

ght’01: Erik Wright’01: Erik Wright’01: Erik Wright’01: Erik Wright’01: Erik Wright’01: because by the end of the school year I finally feel like I know each child inside and out. I feel like I am ready to get to the next level of their learning but it is time to say goodbye.

What advice would you give a current student interested in a teaching career? Follow your heart. Teaching is a vocation of love. If you feel you would truly enjoy and love working day in and day out with children, go for it. Once you become an educator, it is extremely important to keep everything in proper perspective. Teaching and working with children is an extremely

36 /

rewarding and important job. At the same time, we as teachers have a tendency to put great pressure on ourselves to be the best we can be for our students. While it is important to strive for excellence, we always need to remember to take care of ourselves because in the end by taking care of

What is your job? I am a first-grade bilingual (Spanish/English) teacher. I work

ourselves we are better able to care for others — making us better educators.

pre-K to eighth) in a dual immersion school. Our student

Anyone (or anything) at Breck especially influential in helping you prepare?

population is made up of students with diverse language

Breck helped me foster a deep level of care and commitment

backgrounds. Our students come from native Spanish, native

to others in my community. Breck does a wonderful job of

English and native bilingual (Spanish/English) speaking

creating a caring, loving and inclusive community. Being a

backgrounds. A handful of students speak a language other

part of this community in my formative years helped me

than English or Spanish at home. Our goal as a school is for

grow into the caring, community-focused man and teacher I

all students to develop into bilingual, bi-literate and multi-

am today.

at Inter-American, a Chicago Public Magnet School (grades

cultural individuals.

There were many great people and teachers who influenced my life during my time at Breck, but I can say with certainty

What do you like about it? I love the day-to-day interactions with children. It fascinates me how each age/developmental level and individual student thinks and learns. Currently, I work with six- and seven-year-olds (first graders). It never ceases to amaze me the things they are capable of doing and learning, and it is so neat to see how uniquely different each child is. Specific to the bilingual student population I work with, I enjoy seeing children developing two languages. It is so cool to see them help each other out.

the most influential member of the Breck community on my life is my mother Mrs. Alice Wright. Of course she has an advantage over others because she is my mother; however, when I look at her work as a member of the Breck community, I am left speechless. The time, energy, work, dedication and love she has poured into the Breck community over many years are invaluable. Her example, support and love have helped shape me into the person I am today. Her work at Breck, while exemplary to me, is also amazing in the sense that her level of commitment and dedication to the school is not unique. Educators and people like her were the heart and

I love the flow and process of a school year with my students.

soul of the Breck community when I was a student, and I am

We come together in the fall full of excitement, joy and high

certain this continues to be the case. This is why Breck is

expectations. From there, we get to know each other, and

such a special place and a community I am proud to always

form a close, respectful community. Throughout the year we

be able to say I am a part of it.

become more like a family than a class. It is so hard to say goodbye at the end of the school year for many reasons. As a teacher, one important reason it is hard to say goodbye is

/ 37

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

38 /

DICK BURRY, PH.D., ’64 IS OUR NEWEST DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS On the Thursday of Homecoming week, scientist Dick Burry ’64 greeted classmates, met students, toured the school and addressed the Upper School at Chapel. He was introduced by his classmate Dick Myers ’64. A man whose academic and personal interests have aligned with his interest in the visual and knowing how things work, histochemist Dick Burry has been a university professor, an industry consultant, an award-winning photographer and someone whose life and career have been testaments to the goal of perpetual learning. His Breck experience was marked by profound change. The school he entered in 1958 was an all-boys military academy, and the school from which he graduated was a coeducational day school. “Fifty years ago, the world was a different place, and so was Breck,” he observes. Burry says teachers, including the Rev. Ernest Campbell, Charles Krenz (who composed the alma mater we still sing), Orwin Rustad and Bradford Lamson, were influential in helping him through his time at Breck, where he worked hard

signaling that could lead to regeneration following a traumatic injury.

academically to deal with a learning disability and socially to

He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including

fit in with his classmates. Overcoming dyslexia, he says, is

the highest award of the American Histochemical Society

how he truly learned how to learn — a passion he helped

and an excellence in teaching award from Ohio State. A

instill in generations of medical and postgraduate college

well-traveled presenter at conferences worldwide, Burry is


also a well-published author of numerous books, papers and

He earned his bachelors degree from Beloit College, his Ph.D.

journal articles.

from the University of Colorado and had a postdoctoral

Of his selection as a Distinguished Alumnus, Burry says he’s

fellowship at the University of Tennessee Center for Health

flattered, appreciative and, honestly, a bit surprised. “We all

Sciences. At The Ohio State University, from which he

have our passions,” he says, “and we don’t pursue them in

recently retired from full-time teaching, he has been a

order to get recognition. But I’m especially grateful to have

professor in the departments of cell biology, neurology and

the opportunity to reconnect with some of my Breck class-

anatomy; anatomy; and neuroscience. He is currently

mates and get to see what the school is like today.”

involved in research involving spinal cords, examining the



We are delighted to report that Breck alumni are well

In another Homecoming week event, the Breck School

represented on the Breck faculty this year. Alumni, who were

Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed several accomplished new

presented with a special balloon bouquet during Homecom-


ing week, include the following:

After a welcome by Michael Proman ’99, chair of the Athletic

Lauren Erickson Burrus ’06, Lower School

Hall of Fame committee, and remarks by Head of School

teaching assistant

Edward Kim, presentations went to the following;

Sarah Flotten ’85, Middle School history

Christy Robinson Boese ’94, who participated in swimming,

Rob Johnson ’90, Upper School religion, Middle School Project Adventure Emily Jones ’94, Library/Media Department Head Evan Jones ’86, Middle School science

skiing, track and softball at Breck, won 13 varsity letters and was an All-American for skiing in 1993. She was introduced by Chris Welsh ’90. T.J. Varecka ’94, who participated in soccer and hockey. He was introduced by Chas Simcox ’00.

Deb Mixon ’87, Upper School science

Jennifer Newsom Carruthers ’97, who participated in track,

Elizabeth Powers-Dempsey ’81, Lower School instructor

volleyball and basketball and had a stellar career in intercol-

Madison Stybicki ’09, Middle School math Ty Thayer ’90, Lower School instructor

legiate track at Yale. She was introduced by Colin Brooks ’97. And the Del Carter ’50 Memorial Award, for a non-student who has helped to further Breck athletics, went to coach and former Middle School Athletic Director Robin Fondow.

WE’RE LOOKING FOR A FEW GREAT VOLUNTEERS The Breck Alumni Association wants you! Please contact us at to learn more.

EVERYBODY ON THE ICE! JOIN US FOR THE ANNUAL ALUMNI HOCKEY CLASSIC The Breck Alumni Association looks forward to welcoming former Mustang skaters to the Breck School Anderson Ice Arena on Friday, December 26, to enjoy games with the current varsity teams. The girls will meet from 1:00–2:00 p.m., and the boys from 5:15–6:15 p.m. (which corresponds to the teams’ regular practice time). For more information, contact us at alumni@

ARE YOU LinkedIn? Over 785 Breck alumni and parents are LinkedIn. Are you? Visit to connect.

/ 39

Today at Breck

40 /

Fall 2014

class notes reunion year

alumni, Dick was honored for his work in neuroscience. He was introduced by

1949 Chuck Converse was profiled in the

classmate and friend Dick Myers. Dick was joined for the weekend by his wife, Yvonne.

1985 Danna Heilicher Mirviss and her husband Joel have sent their first Breck “lifer” off to college! When Sophie started preschool Danna had a toddler

2013-2014 Annual Report of Apprecia-

A big thank you to Dick Myers, Rusty

in tow and was pregnant with twins.

tion. Chuck and his wife Nancy

Nelson, Jim Istas and their committee

Now Hannah is a junior, and Rachel

stopped at Breck over the summer and

members for planning a wonderful

and Michelle are in eighth grade at

got a tour of the new Upper School.

weekend for the Class, which celebrat-

Breck. The family is moving along


ed its 50-year reunion over Homecom-

nicely. Danna will be leading the

ing weekend.

efforts to organize the 30-year reunion

The Class has a memorial in this issue.


for the Class next year.


The Class has a memorial in this issue.

1978 The Class has a memorial in this issue.

1981 Colin Driscoll, MD, is chair of the ENT Department at Mayo. Under his leadership, the department just received the top spot in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of top medical programs in the country. Kazz Regelmann and her blog, A


Year in Fromage, were the subject

Over the weekend that his class celebrated its 50-year reunion from

A big thank you to Kimberly Hogan

Princeton alumni magazine. A 1989

Breck, Dick Burry, Ph.D., was honored

and her committee for planning and

graduate of Princeton, Kazz (formerly

with the 2014 Distinguished Alumni

hosting a fun weekend for her

known as Karen) has lived with her

Award. At a ceremony on Thursday,

classmates. The Class spent Homecom-

family in Paris for the past three years.

September 18, in Upper School Chapel

ing weekend celebrating its 30-year

She writes daily about a different

attended by a nice group of other


cheese, and life in France.

of a profile in a recent issue of the

Skip Simonson and his family

working on a book for Random House.

moved back to Chicago this summer

Knitting Without Needles will be

after more than five years living in

published in September 2015, based on

Hong Kong. His twin eleven-year-old

work from her blog, Flax & Twine.

girls made the adjustment back to U.S.

As a member of the Athletic Hall of

life easily, but he says that they all

Fame Committee, Chris Welsh

miss the great Asia travel destinations

introduced 2014 inductee Christy

that used to be right outside their

Robinson Boese ’94 at the Athletic Hall

back door.

of Fame Reception and Induction


Ceremony on September 18. Chris is currently serving as president of the

This past summer, Darren Howelton

Breck Alumni Association.

was nominated for a Los Angeles Area


Emmy Award for producing the public service announcement Dream Big.

1987 Erik Stolhanske is currently serving as chair of the Minnesota film and television board.

Jack Cavanaugh and his wife Rose

1989 Thank you to Allison O’Toole and her committee members for planning a

welcomed daughter Eleanor Rose in September. A third-grade teacher in St. Louis Park, Jack shares his reflections on teaching in this issue of Today at Breck.


fun evening in celebration of the Class’s 25-year reunion, which was held

Lia Melrose, who teaches high school

Kirstin Erickson Wilson, MD, chaired

at the Loring Kitchen in Minneapolis.

math to students who have been in

this year’s Distinguished Alumni

treatment for drug and alcohol abuse,

Committee. The 2014 Distinguished


Alumnus was named in Chapel on

Heather Cogswell, who has taught

this issue of Today at Breck.

Thursday, September 18.

choir and classroom music, shares her

Breck Board of Trustee member Drew

reflections on teaching in this issue of


Gaillard is currently serving as board

Today at Breck.

Barbara Merz responded to our request

liaison to the Alumni Council.

Anne Parker Weil, her husband Sandy,

Andrea Specht, executive director of

and their three children, Charlie, Baillie

the newly named and branded

and Allie (11, 10 and 9) are settled in

Bloomington Theater and Arts Center,

Baltimore, MD, after a move from

was featured in a Star Tribune article.

Boulder, CO, two years ago. Sandy is

The group, formerly known as the

happily working for the Baltimore

Bloomington Arts Group went through

Ravens as the director of football

a new branding initiative this past year.

analytics. Anne is excited to be

Remember Breck on Give to the Max Day.

shares her reflections on teaching in

for books by Breck authors by letting us know about two she’s written/ edited. Diasporas and Development and New Patterns for Mexico were both published by Harvard University Press. Barbara directs the Philanthropy Program of the Harvard University Global Equity Initiative.

/ 41

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

1993 The Class has a memorial in this issue.

Adam Hegg, drama director at


reflections on teaching in this issue of

Wayzata High School, shares his Today at Breck.

1999 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee Chair Michael Proman hosted Breck’s annual Athletic Hall of Fame Reception and Induction Ceremony on the evening of Thursday, September 18. Michael also had the honor of inducting longtime Breck faculty member and coach Robin Fondow with the Del Carter ‘50 Memorial Award. The award, named

42 /

after dedicated volunteer and past chair of the Athletic Hall of Fame committee Del Carter ‘50, is given to faculty members, coaches and other Jennifer Newsome Carruthers

members of the Breck community who

(pictured with Breck faculty Jacob

have shown outstanding dedication to

Christy Robinson Boese was inducted

Miller) was inducted into Breck’s

athletics at Breck.

into Breck’s Athletic Hall of Fame over

Athletic Hall of Fame over Homecom-

Homecoming Weekend.

ing weekend.

Check out what Majka Burhardt has been up to and learn about her new


film, The Lost Mountain, at

Tamara Brown’s Sassy Spoon is

making the Nokomis neighborhood in

T.J. Varecka was inducted into Breck’s Athletic Hall of Fame over Homecoming weekend.

1995 On behalf of Breck School and the over

but it will retire when her new

Business Club learn about financial

restaurant, also called the Sassy Spoon,

reporting and analysis.

opens soon. Check it out at 5011 34th


Avenue South.

we thank Co-Chairs of Homecoming

company, recently welcomed Wilson

2014, Baillie Parker and Ashley Kokal

Eugster to the board of directors,

McCarthy ’02. The Homecoming

where he joins Kevin Cannon and

Barbecue and Carnival is Breck’s

founding Artistic Director Sara Marsh.

largest event.

Dark & Stormy’s next show, the

Newsom Carruthers at the Athletic Hall of Fame Reception and Induction Ceremony on September 18. Colin is currently an Alumni Council member

Recently, Joel Fischer connected with Madi Lommen. Joel is helping the Breck

sional nonprofit Twin Cities theater

introduced 2014 Inductee Jennifer

on Friday, November 28.

Spoon’s food truck started off in 2011,

Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival,

Fame Committee, Colin Brooks

the 15-year reunion that will take place

current Breck seniors Peter Kiesel and

Dark & Stormy Productions, a profes-

As a member of the Athletic Hall of

pherson, Ph.D., are busy planning for

south Minneapolis its home. The Sassy

1,000 individuals who attended the


Alicia Luther and Andrew Christo-

As a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame committee, Chas Simcox introduced 2014 Inductee TJ Varecka ’94 at the Athletic Hall of Fame Reception and induction Ceremony on September 18. Chas is currently serving on the Alumni Council and is

regional premiere of Harold Pinter’s

the executive chair of service.

The Hothouse, will run from December 10, 2014 – January 4, 2015


at Artspace’s Grain Belt Brewery

Tom Dolan married Kate Cowley in

Bottling House, starring a cast of

Minneapolis this past August.

Guthrie, Broadway and feature-film

Erik Wright, a first-grade teacher in an

alums. For more info on the board, Dark & Stormy and The Hothouse, please visit

and serves as executive chair for

Aliceyn Heasley, an educator in

recognition. He answers Today at

Brooklyn, shares her reflections on

Breck’s “20 Questions” in this issue.

teaching in this issue of Today at Breck.

English-Spanish bilingual school in Chicago, shares his reflections on teaching in this issue of Today at Breck.



On behalf of Breck School and the over

Hannah Lussier has begun sharing

1,000 individuals who attended the

and offering her artwork on her

Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival,

website Neon Noël.

we thank Co-Chairs of Homecoming 2014 Baillie Parker ’95 and Ashley Kokal McCarthy. The Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival is Breck’s largest

Katie Pinto, a third-grade teacher in Edina, shares her reflections on teaching in this issue of Today at Breck.

at Johns Hopkins University. Natalie interned at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. Callan Dodge deBruyn graduated from Northeastern University in May and is currently working for The Meltwater Group as an international sales



Jessica Blanner married Shawn Welk

Maggie Borman, who spent three

on June 21 in Minneapolis. The couple

years teaching third grade at Best

met while attending law school

Academy in North Minneapolis, shares

together at the University of Saint

her reflections on teaching in this issue

Sam Greely graduated from Denison

Thomas School of Law. Other Breck

of Today at Breck.

University and is working as a strategic

alumni in attendance included Lauren Taft-McPhee Ramsey, Lily Knopman Beilin, Billy Doherty, Ryan Burnet ’98, Tori Hoeschler ’00, Molly Rotsch ’01, Leah Lussier Sixkiller ’03 and Briana Furst ’04.

2004 Last May, William Mitchell finished his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jamie Erdahl recently joined the CBS Sports Network as the lead college

consultant. Mac Gagne is a student at Montana State University and is working at the Ponderosa Ranch in Alberton, MT.

consulting analyst at Jones Lan LaSalle in Chicago.

football sideline reporter.

Mattie Hogg graduated from Whitman


College in Walla Walla, Washington,

This fall, Gary Lussier began his

man College alpine ski team and

position as an educational assistant at

studied abroad in Copenhagen,

Bancroft Elementary School in

Denmark. She is currently in the


process of applying for a graduate

where she competed with the Whit-

program in veterinary medicine and is


working at the University of Minne-

Michael Crump graduated from Penn

and intern for the Equine Neuromus-

with a masters in engineering and

cular Diagnostic Lab.

started work on his Ph.D. in engineer-

Willy Leach graduated from Claremont

ing at the University of Washington.

McKenna College in May. He spent his

This summer he traveled around the

first year at Colgate University and

world visiting Fiji, Australia, New

was on their sailing team. At CMC he

Zealand, Hong Kong, UAE, Tanzania,

worked at the American Enterprise

Istanbul and much of western Europe.

Institute’s on-campus program,

Class Representatives Mary Goetz and

studied abroad in Paris and interned

Anne Whiting are planning for a fun

at the Portland Museum.

five-year reunion. The Class will gather

Former Breck Mock Trialer Kara

on Saturday, November 29.

Lillehaug is attending law school


at Tufts.

Riley Borer is a student at the University of Wisconsin River Falls and a

sota’s Equine Center as a lab technician

Maggie Nolting graduated last May from the University of Southern California with a bachelor of arts in

Christy Piotrowski married Jeffrey

member of the school’s hockey team.

Leintz in Minneapolis on September 6.

Natalie Clark graduated from Bowdoin

acting at the Groundlings School of

Christy, Wynne Reese, and Megan

College with a major in art history and

Improvisation and other independent

Fallon are planning the Class’s

minor in English. She currently is an

acting studios around Los Angeles. She

ten-year reunion this winter.

undergraduate admissions counselor

just finished shooting her first national

dramatic arts. She is currently studying

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Today at Breck

44 /

Fall 2014

commercial for Brothers printers and a

Brandon Onopa graduated from

couple of independent films that will

Lehigh University in 2014 and is

be doing the film festival circuit this

currently working in NYC for Deutsche

upcoming year. She also coaches

Bank as a technology analyst. Since

sailing, which brings her out to Marina

graduating from Breck, Brandon spent

del Rey and Manhattan Beach. While

a year working with a group of

in school she studied abroad in

students to build a Chinese-style

London, where Fiona Shaw (Aunt

pavilion along a public trail on land

Petunia in the Harry Potter movies)

surrounding the university. Addition-

was one of her teachers. She also spent

ally he was a four-year member and

this past year interning at Mosaic,

president of the cycling club, over the

which is the management company

course of which he raced all across the

that represents Will Ferrell, January

Northeast. He also went to Shanghai

Jones and Jessica Chastain. In college,

for six weeks as part of a study-abroad

Maggie competed with the USC

program and has spent quite a bit of

sailing team and traveled to Hawaii

time traveling on his own.

for regattas.

Josh Parrish graduated from Northwestern University in 2014. He


recently took a job at Lifeline Vascular Access, a subsidiary of Davita in Chicago. Corrie Searls graduated in May from Connecticut College with a BA in art history and East Asian Studies. She currently serves as a client service representative at Christie’s.


Cameron Soojian graduated cum laude from George Washington University school of media and public affairs with a degree in journalism and mass communication, and is currently pursuing opportunities. While in school he held internships with George Washington’s Plant Forward, an environmental nonprofit, and a Georgetown advertising agency called Havit Advertising. He is also currently working on launching his own record label with a few friends called Petrified Records and writing and recording his own music under the name Thee End. Zach Soskin graduated from the University of Oregon and is working

(find it in the Athletics section of the website)

for Adidas. Adam Stillman graduated from the University of Michigan and is in law school at the Gould School at USC.

Annalisa Tester, a teaching assistant and graduate student in education, shares her reflections on teaching in this issue of Today at Breck. Kristina Tester graduated from Harvard University and is applying to the medical school. She is currently a research assistant and program coordinator for the MGH (Mass General Hospital) division of global health and human rights. Her favorite memories since graduation have been coming home to Minnesota, traveling to Uganda with the initiative to end childhood malnutrition and Harvard Mock Trial. Athena Yang graduated from St. Olaf College and is working on her DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) degree from Boston University. Athena is a budding rock climber, avid birder and old school contra dancer. Brendan Yates graduated from the University of St. Thomas and is working as a business analyst for Target. While in college, he interned at General Mills in the sourcing department.

2011 Cornell senior Bohan Yu spent this past summer interning with Deutsche Bank in New York and worked on a regulatory project. He has completed internships at US Airways and several nonprofits. This summer he also attended Maggie Nolting’s ’10 graduation from USC and was reunited with Athena Yang ’10 and Annie Jiao in Boston.

2012 Libbey Castle spent her summer at Breck interning in the admissions office. Libbey also helped plan and orchestrate the first ever Breck BBQ on Wednesday, August 6. The event welcomed our youngest alums back to campus before they went back to college.

Andrew Engel, who is a junior at

Milica McMillen and Breck teacher

Meisel Grant, which allowed him to

Bowdoin College, was honored as a

Rob Little put on a girls hockey clinic at

spend the month of July in Cuba. He

James Bowdoin Scholar on October 31

the Breck School Anderson Ice Arena in

worked on the Living Waters for the

at the Sarah and James Bowdoin Day

July to support Applause.

World clean water initiative.

Rex Simons was profiled in the 2013-2014 Annual Report of



Blaze Beecher was featured in the


MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate

Exercises. The recognition of James Bowdoin Scholars started in 1941 to honor those undergraduates who distinguish themselves by excellence in scholarship and to commemorate the Honorable James Bowdoin III, the first patron of the college.

Phillip Engh was recently featured in the newsletter for Westminster Presbyterian Church. Phillip received a

Athletic Conference) Student-Athlete Snapshot, a weekly series dedicated to promoting MIAC student-athletes on and off the field. As part of the Macalester men’s golf team, Blaze stands as the third best golfer for


Macalester thus far with an average of


Trevor Larsen and Nath Samaratunga

Walter Neddersen recently passed away and was remembered at a service on

are credited on a paper professionally

November 1 in Minnetonka and buried at Fort Snelling with full military honors.

published by their advisor. “MSC

78.3 strokes per round.

Therapy Attenuates Obliterative


Bronchiolitis after Murine Bone

Frank Krause, Jr. passed away in September. A memorial service

will be held at Plymouth Church located on 1900 Nicollet Avenue in

they did in Breck’s Advanced Science

Minneapolis on Monday, November 24, 2014, at 2:00 PM.

1978 Bowen Phelps passed away on September 7 after a two-year battle with brain cancer. He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Nancy; sons, Jason, Keith and Anthony; parents, Peter and Saralee; siblings Erin Phelps-Stark ‘74 (David), Frank ‘76 (Christine), Bill (Jennifer) and Louise Page (Ben); many nieces, nephews other relatives and friends. Bowen will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend.

1993 Blair Piper died suddenly on September 14, in St. Croix Falls, WI. He is survived by his mother, Minty Piper, and his brother, Andrew Piper (Anna), of Portland, OR, and niece and nephew Lucy and Charlie. After graduating from Breck, Blair received a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin and an M.S. degree from the University of Missouri. Blair loved the outdoors and spent many long and happy days at Big Rock Creek Farm in St. Croix Falls. Blair will be remembered as a loving son and

Marrow Transplant” comes from work Research Program. Luke LeBlanc, aka Little Diamonds, performed at the Lake Harriet Folkfest at the Lake Harriet Bandshell on August 30. Little Diamonds headlined the event that also included acts such as Lydia Liza of Bomba de Luz. He began playing music at the age of eleven and has been inspired by Johnny Cash, Ray Lamontagne, Bob Dylan, The Band and The Avett Brothers. He has performed at the State Theater, the Dakota, Medina Ballrom, SC Grand and Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, to name a few. Little Diamonds’ latest album, New Orleans Bound, was released in January


and features all original songs. To learn

Former Faculty

his music, please visit: www.littledia-

Former tennis coach and Breck alumni parent Susie Wilson Robinson died July 4 and www.cdbaby.

following a battle with cancer. She was 58. She is survived by her husband George,


a former Breck trustee, and children Brandon ’04, Meghan ’06 and Katie ’10, along with a large and loving family including nephew Kif Patrick ’99 and a host of friends.

more about Little Diamonds and hear

/ 45

Today at Breck

Fall 2014

46 /

Spring Sports: Boys Tennis Places Third at State; Triple Jumpers Niara Hill Takes First, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman Places Second at State Meet; Girls Golf Is Eighth at State; Notes From a Successful but Soggy Spring Baseball Mustang baseball ended the season with its first winning conference record in four years, losing in the subsection final on the way to a record of 11-9 overall and 6-5 in the conference. The team won recognition for academics including a silver academic award, and Luke Audette, Jorgen Salveson and Lucas Wille were all named to the all-state academic team for Class 2A. With a large group of seniors providing great leadership, other highlights included both Jeremy Burton and Tyler Lindstrom being named honorable mention on the Channel 12 all-area team, and Tyler being named a Star Tribune athlete of the week. Jeremy Burton and Tyler Lindstrom won all-conference honors, with honorable mentions for Jorgen Salveson and Ramsey Sorrells. Carson Salveson and Nic van Oppen were the MIPs, Jorgen Salveson the MVP and Lucas Wille the Mustanger.

Boys Golf The team finished with a record of 5-6

Girls Golf

overall and 4-5 in

Girls golf ended the season with a 7-2 record, also 7-2 in the

the conference,

conference. They finished third in the conference, first in the

with a fourth-

section and eighth at state. All-conference nominees were

place finish in the

Elena Simonds, Sarah Webb and Grace Zumwinkle, with

Tri Metro. Blaze

honorable mentions for Amelia Simonds and Anna Zum-

Beecher and

winkle. Elena Simonds was the team’s MIP, Grace Zumwinkle

Lucas McCormick

the MVP and Izzy Gleekel the Mustanger.

were named to the all-conference team, with honorable mention for Mac Turner. Scotty Stuart was the MIP, Lucas McCormick the MVP and Mac Turner the Mustanger.

Girls Lacrosse Our laxwomen finished with a 9-5 record overall. The future looks very bright for the team, which enjoyed great progress in moving forward. Girls lacrosse does not belong to a conference, but Julia Joern earned all-state honors as an independent. Ivy Garvis was the MIP, Julia Joern the MVP and Caroline Grothe the Mustanger.

Softball Our young team included girls from grades 7-12. All reports indicate that the team had a solid year, and we look forward to spring 2015.

Boys Tennis Mustang boys tennis amassed a record of 12-5 overall and 5-2 in the conference on the way to a third-place finish at the state tournament. Austin Wong and Jake Duxbury, who placed second in the doubles competition, were both named to the all-state team, with all-conference honors for Jake Duxbury, Lewis White and Austin Wong, and honorable mentions for Sam Fernandez and Prashant Godishala. Jack O’Grady was the MIP, Austin Wong the MVP and Seamus Walsh the Mustanger.

Track and Field Both boys and girls teams sent representatives to the state meet, where Niara Hill became the state champion in the triple jump, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman took second in the triple jump and Bryce Johnson qualified for the 400 meter dash. With a good group of returning athletes, next season looks bright. For the girls, all-conference honors went to Claire Drysdale, Adria Duncan, Niara Hill and Kajsa-Stina Johansson; honorable mentions went to Elise Garvin, Shayla

Boys Lacrosse

Henderson-Thomas and Kendall Riskevich. For the boys,

The boys finished the season with a 4-8 record and lost in the

all-conference honors went to Ira Buffalohead, Ramaud

first round of play in a tough section. David Husband was an

Chiaokhiao-Bowman and Bryce Johnson, with honorable

all-state selection, and he and Nick DeMaris were both

mentions for Will Culliton, Daniel Kuntz and Easton

named to the all-section team. The team did not belong to a

McChesney. The MIPs were Kendall Riskevich and Daniel

conference. Ed Kuhns was the MIP, David Husband the MVP

Kuntz, the MVPs were Claire Drysdale and Bryce Johnson

and Nick DeMaris the Mustanger.

and the Mustangers were Adria Duncan and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman.


Visit our online Zenfolio Gallery to see what we’ve been up to so far this year. Browse, download, print, enjoy!

/ 47

Today at Breck

Fall 2014












Answers: 1. The (window in the) door to Señora Schramm-Nagel’s classroom. 2. The window above the exit to the Middle School Dining Room. 3. Window in the door leading into the Performing Arts Wing. 4. Window (Mr. Rosenfield’s room) in the History Hall. 5. The inside of the Kust Café awning. 6. The tiny window in the lantern in the Zen Garden. 7. The back door of the Performing Arts Wing. 8. View in Mr. Windschitl’s mirror above the organ console. 9. A defibrillator window.

Photos by John Bellaimey

48 /

Inviting you to join over 60 alumni, parents, faculty/staff and friends in helping secure Breck’s future by including the school in your estate planning

THINK A LEGACY GIFT ISN’T FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU? THINK AGAIN! “I’M STILL YOUNG.” In fact, 65% of charitable bequests are made by people ages 18-64.

“WE’RE NOT THAT WEALTHY.” 58% of legacy gifts are established by people with incomes under $75,000.

“I DON’T HAVE A COMPLICATED ESTATE PLAN.” 80% of legacy gifts are made by listing an organization as a beneficiary of a will, retirement plan or insurance policy. “WE DON’T REALLY SEE THE NEED.” 97% of people establish legacy gifts because they love an organization and want to be sure its work continues.

“MY FAMILY WON’T APPROVE.” 72% of family members surveyed say sharing their inheritance with their loved ones’ gifts to a charitable organization is a reasonable choice.

Sources: Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, Stelter Donor Insight Report


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

123 Ottawa Avenue North Golden Valley, MN 55422


Permit No. 2995 Twin Cities, MN

Parents of Alumni: Please forward this publication. If your daughter or son no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify us (763.381.8278 or of the new mailing address.

Photo by Karyl Rice

LEADERS OF THE PACK Members of the Class of 2015 at their first senior meeting

photo by Karyl Rice

Today at Breck - Fall 2014  

Our fall issue of Today at Breck features our faculty and their ideas on great teaching. The cover illustration was created by Breck alum Ke...

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