The Masters School T H E B U L L E T I N | F A L L 2 019
OUR FANTASTIC FACULTY
We dedicate this issue of The Bulletin to all the faculty, past and present, who have contributed their time, expertise and efforts to the well-being, growth and education of our students. This dedication serves as an expression of immense gratitude for our facultyâ€™s unwavering commitment to our School.
CONTACTS The Masters School 49 Clinton Avenue Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522-2201 914-479-6400 mastersny.org
ON THE COVER
Printed on paper containing 30% post-consumer waste with vegetable based inks. 100% of the electricity used to manufacture the paper is green e-certified renewable energy.
Bruce Christopher Robbins, middle school visual arts teacher, fifth grade advisor, Weekend Team member and The Masters Schoolâ€™s longest serving current faculty member, working with one of his students.
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CONTENTS COVER STORY
OUR FANTASTIC FACULTY
Our teachers are passionate — about their subjects, their students and their community. We spoke with several Masters School educators about their careers in the classroom.
02 FROM LAURA DANFORTH 28 ALUMNAE/I UPDATE 36 CLASS NOTES 66 IN MEMORIAM/REMEMBRANCES
SHINING HOURS Reflections: Teachers Who Made an Impact 12 MYAlumnae/i ROCK STAR IN THE CLASSROOM 18 AAmelia DeLaPaz ’02 HER PATH: AN ALUMNA’S JOURNEY IN EDUCATION 19 FOLLOWING Mirna Valerio ’93 YEARS OF DOING IT WITH HIS MIGHT: CELEBRATING MASTERS’ 20 28LONGEST SERVING FACULTY MEMBER QUESTIONS WITH SAM SAVAGE 22 SEVEN The Masters School’s Dean of Faculty 24 THEby LisaCASEGreenOF THE OVER-MARKED PAPER 26 BOARD OF TRUSTEES WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS
FROM LAURA DANFORTH
Celebrating Our Educators Dear Friends, Choosing to be an educator is an altruistic and often lifelong commitment to shaping the minds of future generations. It requires a mastery of one’s subject, endless hours planning engaging lessons, grading papers and writing comments, all with the goal of making learning relevant and enjoyable. It is an emotional undertaking, since our teachers also share in the joy of students’ successes and, at times, lose sleep over their struggles. Here at The Masters School, our faculty are dedicated to a mission that goes well beyond the academic curriculum: They strive to prepare students for college, career and, most important, life. Although teachers cannot accurately anticipate what each day will bring, they know to proactively prepare, not just for the subject matter they teach, but also for the life lessons that may be warranted on any given day.
OUR FACULTY ARE DEDICATED TO A MISSION THAT GOES WELL BEYOND THE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM: THEY STRIVE TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE, CAREER, AND MOST IMPORTANT, LIFE.
As a boarding school, our residential faculty continue their work well past traditional school hours. They may find themselves offering extra help in the dining hall, taking students on weekend trips, or comforting a homesick student until a smile returns to that child’s face. Our teachers understand that their guidance can significantly influence our students’ experience at school, as well as their future. They are mentors, helping students build the confidence to tackle problems that arise over the course of a lifetime and encouraging them to discover their own resilience. At Masters, we understand that teaching is a dynamic process. In addition to being experts in their subjects, our teachers keep up with the latest trends in education and understand the different ways that students are inspired to achieve — or are deterred from reaching — their full potential. We encourage our faculty to be creative and try new approaches, but we also value the long-established and proven methods. This convergence of preferences and personal experiences blends the innovative and the traditional, fostering the diversity of styles that we believe will help our students flourish. The effect our faculty have on the students they teach is most evident when our alumnae/i return to campus for Reunion or drop in for a few hours over their colleges’ holiday break. They return to walk the campus and the halls and to relive memories, but often, the true reason for their visits is to spend time with or remember a favorite teacher — the one who made a positive impact. This issue of The Bulletin is a tribute to all of our educators, past, present and future, and a way to thank them for choosing a career path that has surely made a difference in so many young lives.
LAURA DANFORTH Head of School
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They are artists, historians, scientists and engineers. Different as can be, yet they all share one striking similarity: a dedication to educating students at The Masters School. Roberto Mercedes’ Spanish classes are famous in the Upper School. And, walking by a classroom during one of his lessons, it is pretty clear why: Mercedes is often found leading his class in songs sung entirely in Spanish. “Music is an essential portion of my classes,” he explains. “First, we have a lot of fun when we sing in class. And, through a song, I introduce very complex grammar structures and important topics.” This teaching strategy ensures that students can “understand contexts, reinforce ideas, improve pronunciation, discuss content — and have fun and smile.” While Mercedes’ classes are unique in their combination of language learning and Spanish culture, his teaching method is indicative of the ways Masters faculty approach their disciplines. Here, teachers foster a culture of kindness, allowing students and teachers alike to flourish; they provide one-of-a-kind learning opportunities and cultivate rich dialogues; and they are encouraged to continually hone their craft and improve their curriculum.
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“Talking about literature with people for a living is a pretty good deal. It’s like I get to breathe for a living.” — ZEV BARNETT, UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH
TEACH The Masters School currently has around 120 faculty — but it all began with one woman: Anna Desire Howe, the first teacher hired by school founder Eliza Bailey Masters. Howe taught several subjects at the School, including astronomy, botany, long division and moral philosophy. A dedicated classroom teacher, her legacy lives on today with the Anna Howe Faculty Award, given every year to a distinguished member of the School’s faculty at the Reunion Banquet Dinner. Many impressive and dedicated faculty have followed in Howe’s footsteps, and today, they teach more than 150 courses ranging from Ethical Leadership and Untold American Stories to Advanced Placement Chemistry and Robotics. Some knew from a young age that they wanted to teach — upper school math teacher Marianne Van Brummelen remembers “playing teacher” as a young child — and others, like upper school English teacher
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Zev Barnett, came to teaching through a passion for their subject. “I really love literature,” Barnett says. “Talking about literature with people for a living is a pretty good deal. It’s like I get to breathe for a living.” Yet, as diverse as their subjects and paths to the classroom are, the profound fulfillment and reward of teaching is universal. Middle school English teacher Chris Mizell says that, whether it’s honing a well-articulated argument or employing some astute alliteration, he loves seeing students learn a new skill. “It’s almost like Spiderman learning to master his powers,” he remarks. For Department of Performing Arts member Katie Meadows, the highlight of teaching is: “The growth. The failures. The triumphs. It’s watching students surprise themselves and knowing that they are the future world makers.”
COMMUNITY Last fall, on Chris Mizell’s first day teaching at Masters, one of his sixth grade English classes was completing a short writing exercise when it came to light that one student’s hidden talent was an ability to sing an entire song from a recent Disney movie. Soon enough, the boy was belting out the tune, and several of his peers joined in, clapping along and dancing. “This was the first day of class,” Mizell says, smiling. And the boy with the hidden talent? “He was a new student. He had known these boys for maybe a day or two.” There are endless stories like Mizell’s, of students cheering on and encouraging one another to step out of their comfort zones. In fact, Masters prides itself on its culture of welcoming and kindness, of accepting and celebrating individuals for who they are. Mizell remembers a moment during his candidacy, when he met with Head of School Laura Danforth, “She talked about the culture of kindness, and students really being able to be different, and prizing the idea that they can be both athletes and actors. That was fascinating to me.” And the classroom moment that he experienced on his first day is a testament to the very ethos that interested him in Masters in the first place. But it isn’t just the students who benefit from the environment that Masters has cultivated — as a new teacher, Mizell felt genuinely welcomed by colleagues. He notes that the first year
in a new school can be a difficult transition and that having a supportive community made a big difference. “There were lots of people who I don’t think had any directive from a higher power, yet who made it their business to come check on me and see how I was doing, eat a meal with me, send a nice note,” Mizell reflects. “That seems to be by choice, and that really stood out.” Faculty often mention feeling a sense of belonging from the time they step on campus. Beyond that, though, the School works to ensure that all new teachers receive the proper support to be successful in the classroom. The New Faculty Institute, which takes place the week before school starts, is designed to prepare educators new to Masters to teach students in a mission-aligned way. The five-day intensive explores a variety of pedagogical topics, including the School’s student-centered approach, the Harkness teaching method, and research on growth mindset and equity and inclusion. Zev Barnett, who has been teaching English in the Upper School for the last six years, still remembers one formative session from the New Faculty Institute. The topic was grading. The teachers leading the session held an exercise wherein the new faculty split up into three groups, and each group was given a graded essay to review and analyze. While the other two groups were given
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“I help students bring out their special brand of genius — that’s my job as a teacher.” — LISA BERROL, UPPER SCHOOL HISTORY
A DIFFERENT WAY
essays with a grade and feedback, Barnett’s group was given an essay that had only feedback. One group noted that the grade and the feedback seemed mismatched — a situation that could easily confuse a student. The second group said that the grade seemed to match the feedback.
The students were thrilled beyond reason, running and splashing on the shore of the Hudson River. There, in the fishing net that they had just dragged out of the waterway, was an American eel — a snake-like fish that, as an adult, is about 20 inches long.
And what about Barnett’s group, the one that received an essay with only feedback? “We didn’t even notice that there wasn’t a grade. We were talking about the actual content of the feedback.” The lesson was clear to Barnett: If adults were able to focus only on the grade, how could they, as teachers, expect students to behave differently? “That one session changed my view of grading to this day,” he says.
“I will never forget the excitement,” Dan Russo, middle school science teacher, recalls, noting that a typical catch on this annual trip would be some small fish and crabs.
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The sixth grade’s seining trip is a significant undertaking. Seining, a method of fishing that uses a large net, requires that students and faculty don wading pants and boots to get fairly
deep into the water — about waist deep for an adult and slightly higher for a middle school student. Once partially submerged, students and teachers maneuver the fishing nets to gather their catch. As Russo explains, there is a tremendous benefit to having students jump into the Hudson River after having studied its ecology in class: “They connect with its inhabitants in a deeply meaningful way.” Seining in the Hudson is a rite of passage for sixth grade students and is part of their yearlong interdisciplinary study of the river. The initiative is experiential learning at its finest: Last year, in addition to their seining expedition, students visited the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Hudson River Museum, canoed on the river marshlands, and explored Hudson Valley mansions. The breadth of their study ensures that the students deeply experience the river from nearly every angle. When they aren’t out in the world, learning by doing, students are often found conversing at the oval Harkness tables. The tables are the centerpiece of nearly every classroom on campus, and act as a tool for discussion-based learning. It is here that
the students, not the teachers, lead the class. Together, students explore new concepts, collaboratively problem-solve and consider complex issues. By giving all students a voice and encouraging them to listen to and understand the experience of others, educators help students learn a host of values, from empathy and open-mindedness to articulating arguments and listening closely. The Harkness method of teaching, in which the learning process is democratic and the teacher is guiding the conversation, is unlike traditional classroom education, in which the students are passive participants. “After 21 years, I feel like it is part of my DNA,” says Lisa Berrol, who teaches psychology and American Studies in the Upper School. “I think I have, more and more, embraced what it means ‘to Harkness.’” Berrol knows that for students to truly “Harkness” — to listen openly, to respect and consider ideas divergent from their own, to question their own preconceived notions — teachers must create a welcoming and comfortable environment. That way, everyone is open to expressing their views and making mistakes in a safe environment. “There’s a lot that I try to do to make sure that the table and that space are home,” Berrol explains. For one, she is explicit with the students that she expects them to be responsible to themselves and each other. But she also encourages students in more subtle ways to understand themselves and others, and to celebrate each other’s individuality. “I help students bring out their special brand of genius — that’s my job as a teacher.”
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“ I became a teacher to change the world.” — ROBERTO MERCEDES, UPPER SCHOOL SPANISH
In January 2018, Head of School Laura Danforth issued a challenge to the faculty: “No matter what subject you teach, or what area of the School you contribute to, I challenge you to test the limits of your creativity by submitting an innovative idea that would ‘disrupt’ the Masters experience in a positive way.”
New York City; researching the problem using a range of disciplines; deepening the class’ understanding of the problem, its root causes and its implications, through field trips and meetings with experts; and putting findings into action by designing programming that addresses the problem.
Six proposals were submitted. The three finalists were presented to the Board of Trustees in April 2018, and the idea that the Board selected was given a grant of up to $25,000.
“We were curious to see how we could reimagine what class is,” Jason Hult, director of learning initiatives and member of the History and Religion Department, explains. Hult, along with upper school English teacher Darren Wood and Trinity Thompson, a member of CITYterm faculty at the time, worked with Van Brummelen on the proposal. The group wanted to explore how class “could become more collaborative, more student-centered, and more connected to the world beyond Masters.” Now in its first year, the course is being taught by Hult and Wood, and is exploring the case study of school segregation in New York City.
That’s how the Power for Good course, which is being taught in the Upper School this fall, came to be. Its architect, upper school math teacher Marianne Van Brummelen, wanted to create a course that took a deep dive into a contemporary issue. She also wanted the course to consider the social activism of young people, since, she says, “that is really relevant to our students.” Van Brummelen worked with several members of The Masters School and CITYterm faculty to create a structure for the course, which considers the question “What does it mean to be a power for good in the world?” by identifying a problem that impacts
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Impressive as the Power for Good course is, it wasn’t Van Brummelen’s first foray into an innovative teaching initiative:
Several years ago, while at a professional development course at Exeter, Van Brummelen was exposed to the concept of problem-based learning, a student-centered pedagogy that presents students with a series of carefully scaffolded problems and concepts. She proposed implementing problem-based learning in the Math Department, and, while she is the first to admit that “it felt like a really big risk,” the strategy took off. It is now used in several upper school mathematics classes. Whether it’s the Power for Good course, problem-based learning or new courses in the English Department and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, faculty are encouraged just as much as students to push beyond their comfort zones in order to learn and grow. And that’s because the world isn’t stagnant, and education shouldn’t be either: “It’s fun to try these things and to see these programs get better because of it,” Van Brummelen says. While The Masters School has much to be proud of — a celebrated history as an all-girls institution, a thriving boarding program, and a beautiful campus with outstanding facilities — the faculty, too, make Masters the school it is today. They embody the culture of kindness and fully support the School’s experiential learning and Harkness teaching methods. And they are constantly pushing themselves — and each other — to innovate.
With more than 60 faculty and staff living on campus — in the dorms and other housing — most teachers have responsibilities that take them well past the traditional school-day hours. Whether it’s sharing a meal in the dining hall with a homesick student, chaperoning a trip into the city on the weekend, or discussing a tough homework assignment with a student, our faculty are committed to ensuring that every student is supported and cared for. Katie Meadows, member of the Department of Performing Arts and dorm director of Thompson Dorm, considers her residential role to be a natural extension of her role as an educator: “As educators, one of the most important roles we have is to build strong relationships with our students. My entire dorm team works very hard to create a loving, safe environment for the students in our dorm.”
Every day, Masters teachers are doing so much more than educating students on a specific subject. “I became a teacher to change the world,” Roberto Mercedes, the caroling Spanish teacher, shares. And he is doing just that — one song at a time.
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Alumnae/i Reflections: Teachers Who Made an Impact
Thank you to the many alumnae/i who shared their stories of faculty who made an impact on them. Due to the tremendous response, we were not able to publish every story submitted; instead, we have created a webpage dedicated to sharing these stories. If you would like to share your story or read the stories of other alumnae/i, please visit mastersny.org/reflections.
MY SHINING HOURS By Lynn McGrath Tone ’62
It was a big gamble. And, young as I was, I realized it was a crapshoot. No doubt about it. And I had plenty of time to change my mind and didn’t. I became brave.
Ms. Eidlitz was my English teacher at Dobbs, a woman who was both cynic and scholar. She taught Greek myths, from a book compiled by Edith Hamilton, and also poetry introducing us to the likes of Shelley and E.E. Cummings. She also taught us an awareness that we were living in a world of half-truths and bad poetry and craven behavior. She expected better of us, end of discussion. For our final exam, which lasted two hours, she asked us to answer four of the following seven questions. I will make this up because I cannot truly recall the exam, since it was nearly a half-century ago, when I was a skinny and shy little girl of 14. Bear with me. Discuss the tragedy behind Ozymandias, King of Kings.
Compare a Roman myth with a comparable Greek myth.
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I wrote but one sentence:
“None of the following are questions.” And then I sat there, at that wooden desk, for two hours, watching my little life flash before my eyes. Could I really just write that one sentence and hope that Ms. Eidlitz would be proud that one of her students actually heard all that she had taught so well? Or would I be thrown out of school, shamed, with an F on a final exam? It was hot in that classroom, I remember that. May or June. If there were mosquitoes I would have heard their engines. If I had experienced puberty, I would have felt sweat run down my back. My ears surely heard my heart. I didn’t dare move, enveloped as I was in the noise of scratching fountain pens and fluttering pages in small blue books. I was truly “a traveler in an antique land.” The “frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command” felt near. I experienced elation and despair. Ms. Eidlitz came through. She held up my untouched blue book in class a week later and announced that she bestowed her only A+ to a student who wrote only one sentence. The class was dead silent. For one brief moment I was Ozymandias, King of Kings, and the sand had yet to reclaim my body.
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Libby Packer: This
amazing drama teacher taught me theater, but also the skills and direction to succeed in the world stage.
Because the 1971 fire at Masters Hall destroyed the auditorium, the small library at Estherwood became our stage. That limitation didn’t dissuade Mrs. Packer. From “The Miracle Worker” to “She Stoops to Conquer,” her students and the entire school were exposed to a professional New York City level of the theater arts.
I wish I could remember more specifics about Elisabeth Merrill and Lisa Berrol’s impact on my adolescence, but nearly 10 years after graduating from Masters things are already so blurry. There are some memories that are vivid; spending every afternoon at AP Bio office hours with Ms. Merrill, trying so desperately to understand it all better than I did. She never made me feel like I was bothering her (I’m sure that I was). The moment I told Ms. Berrol that I was applying to nursing school; she didn’t have to ask me why. When I try to identify exactly what it was that made them so special, I have the overwhelming feeling that they knew me. They saw me as more than a student in their class, but nevertheless expected me to work hard while I was there. They saw the best in me at times when I was most insecure (which, let’s be real, is all the time in high school). What a tremendous gift, to be capable of seeing the best in every one of your students.
Despite my teenage dream, I chose not to become a professional actor. I went into television news broadcasting, which combined Mrs. Packer’s influence as well as that of my excellent English teachers. Thanks to her I became an anchorwoman and reporter for many years, as well as an executive producer. —BONNIE KRASIK ’74
I think of Ms. Merrill when I’m at work teaching diabetes classes and I mention the islets of Langerhans. And I think of Ms. Berrol any time I am engaged in a discussion about injustice in America. They will continue to shape my adult life, the same way they did my teenage years. No thank you would ever be enough, but still — thank you. —NORA CASPER ’10
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I had a reading disability and English teacher Lee Caldwell found ways to encourage me to read, write and even write poetry. Today I am always into some book and enjoy the places and new knowledge I discover through books. I am never alone. Because of her guidance, I won the English Cup for Most Improved English Student in 1953. —LEE MASSELMAN KALLOS ’54
THE GORMLEYS WERE THE MOM AND DAD I NEVER HAD. FROM LATE NIGHT DINER TRIPS, PARTIES IN THEIR APARTMENT AND CONVERSATIONS DURING STUDY HALL, THE GORMLEYS ALWAYS WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND TO MAKE EVERY SINGLE GIRL THAT EVER WALKED THROUGH THE COLE DORM DOORS FEEL LOVED AND APPRECIATED. THERE ARE TRULY NO WORDS TO ACCURATELY DESCRIBE THE IMPACT THEY’VE HAD ON MY LIFE. I MISS THEM DAILY, BUT I AM SO GRATEFUL TO
As a freshman coming to Masters from public school, I was one of the quieter kids in class, perfectly content to let others carry the conversation around that weird and uncomfortable oval table. My plans to do my very best to fade into the background were foiled, however, by my U.S. History teacher and advisor, Ms. Colleen Roche, who gave me a goal: Say one thing in every class each day. I was terrified, and tried to bargain my way down, but Ms. Roche was firm and encouraging — she expected my best effort, and she knew I was capable. I ultimately gave in and did what she asked, pleasantly surprised (and slightly annoyed) that she was right. Those in my class might have some trouble remembering me as a quiet kid, as it didn’t take long for me to find my voice and run with it.
LEARNING WITH THEM.
I entered college knowing that I could hold my own in a discussion and confident that there was value in what I had to say. Now, as a school counselor, I channel Ms. Roche often in my work with students, and I am forever grateful to her for teaching me to trust in my abilities and face my fears, one step at a time.
—JAZMINE FIGUEROA ’14
Thank you, Ms. Roche!
HAVE SPENT FIVE OF THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE GROWING, LAUGHING AND
—AMY ROSENBLATT NICHOLS ’00
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IT WAS THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL SOPHOMORE YEAR, AND I WAS SITTING IN ENGLISH CLASS IN MASTERS HALL, ANTICIPATING WHAT OUR TEACHER WOULD BE LIKE. WE HAD LEARNED THAT HE WAS NEW TO THE FACULTY, WHICH ADDED SOME INTRIGUE AND PIQUED OUR CURIOSITY. IN WALKED DAVID RYAN; A YOUNG MAN IN HIS MID-20S, DRESSED LIKE A COLLEGIATE PROFESSOR SPORTING TAN CORDUROYS, AN OXFORD SHIRT, BROOKS BROTHERS TIE AND LOAFERS. AFTER INTRODUCING HIMSELF, HE CALLED ON EACH OF US TO STAND AND MAKE A BRIEF STATEMENT AS TO OUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CLASS. THE UNIQUE PART OF THIS SCENARIO WAS THAT HE REFERRED TO US INDIVIDUALLY BY OUR LAST NAMES: “MISS EIMICKE, MISS DOERFLER ...” DAVID RYAN WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT LITERATURE AND INSTILLED IN HIS STUDENTS A LOVE OF READING, WRITING AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS. AMONG HIS FAVORITES WERE THE POETS T.S. ELIOT AND DYLAN THOMAS AND AUTHORS VIRGINIA WOOLF AND CHARLES DICKENS. HE WAS AN INSPIRATIONAL TEACHER AND MENTOR. I REMEMBER THE SENTIMENT HE WROTE IN MY YEARBOOK SENIOR YEAR: “TEACHING IS SHARING. YOU MADE ME WANT TO SHARE. YOU MADE ME WANT TO TEACH.” AFTER GRADUATING FROM DOBBS, I STAYED IN CONTACT WITH DAVID AND HIS ENCOURAGEMENT WAS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT I DECIDED TO ENROLL FOR MY M.A. AT TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND PURSUE A CAREER IN TEACHING. DAVID RYAN DIED TRAGICALLY IN A FIRE IN HIS GREENWICH VILLAGE APARTMENT IN NEW YORK CITY ON CHRISTMAS DAY 2003. HE LEFT THIS WORLD FAR TOO SOON, BUT I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR HIS WISDOM, GUIDANCE, HUMOR AND FRIENDSHIP. —LAURA EIMICKE KLIMLEY ’76
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Grete Sultan was a piano teacher for many years at Dobbs, and she had an enormous effect on my life. I was fortunate to study with her for four years, from 1953 to 1957, during which I was constantly encouraged and challenged. Because of her influence, I continued my music study after Dobbs, first at Bradford, and then at the New England Conservatory in Boston. I have been teaching piano for 55 years, and it has been one of the joys of my life. How lucky we were to have studied with Miss Sultan, a quiet and gentle person, but an extremely talented and influential teacher! —LEE JOHNSON CORBETT ’57
After so many years out of school, I still remember Mr. Spyer’s Art History class. He was young, and he had just returned from a trip to Europe and had his own slides. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the history and art of Europe sparked my interest in art history. We are avid travelers, and I enjoy the architecture and art of the world so much more because he inspired me so many years ago. —K ATHERINE (KATIE) RINGLAND KOTZ ’57
Miss Miller was a member of the English Department when I arrived at Dobbs in 1958, and when I graduated in 1962, she was assistant to Mr. Mann. I actually never had her as a teacher, but our paths crossed in many other ways. As I remember, our first encounter, as well as many subsequent ones, was disciplinary, in Cushing, after I had misbehaved (which I did often). As we grew to know each other, we found we had things in common, starting with a love of sports, and I began to view her as a mentor, while she counseled me regarding my behavior. We kept in touch after I graduated. She visited my family on Cape Cod, and attended my wedding in 1967. She was the head of St. Timothy’s School in Maryland in 1972 when my husband was completing his Ph.D. in theatre at the University of Michigan. The school had just built a beautiful new theater, and she offered him a job teaching English and running the theater. At the same time, she offered me the job of head of residence. She knew that I would have a good handle on the discipline in the dorms, because, as she said, “I had tried every trick in the book while at Dobbs.” We stayed at St. Tim’s for three years, and our younger daughter was born while we were there.
Mrs. Guibord was one of the kindest, sharpest teachers at Dobbs that I remember. She was firm, never allowing us to wiggle out of any assignment. She was also inspiring, encouraging students to learn, not merely memorize, the facts she taught.
We stayed in contact by phone, mail and email over the years, also meeting in person on occasions when she came to Boston. She was an active, vital person throughout the years, a wonderful role model. I spoke to her shortly before her 90th birthday in 2018, and we had some good laughs sharing stories from long ago. I was so sorry to hear of her death just a few months later. —PAM KINNICUTT MOTLEY ’62
—JANICE WALD HENDERSON ’69
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A ROCK STAR IN THE CLASSROOM
As a high school educator in California, Amelia DeLaPaz ’02 combines her love of science with a passion for teaching.
An enthusiasm for science seems to be in Amelia DeLaPaz’s DNA. “I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love science,” the Class of 2002 graduate says. “I just love knowing how things work. And you can continue being curious forever.” With a passion for “figuring out how the world works,” as she describes it, it is little surprise that this Masters alumna now spends her days immersed in the study of environmental science. Not only does DeLaPaz get to study a subject that is endlessly fascinating to her, she also gets to share her love of science with high school students. As a student at The Masters School, DeLaPaz recalls being able to explore different science classes and taking as many courses in this field as possible. “I wanted to push myself as much as I could in that area of interest,” she states. “That’s one of the things that I really appreciated about Masters.” After graduation in 2002, DeLaPaz wasn’t sure what career she would pursue, but she was certain it would be in the field of science. Initially enrolled as a chemistry major at Stanford University, her trajectory changed after she took what would end up being a life-changing course on the geology of Death Valley, known for its 120-degree temperatures and otherworldly geological formations. It was during that class that she “fell in love with the Earth and environmental science.” At the same time, DeLaPaz was tutoring students, an interest she credits to her time at Masters. “There is such a strong service component” at Masters, she reflects. “That was something I needed to have in my life.” A friend observed that she seemed happiest when she was working with young people and wondered if she might consider that as a career option. Teaching hadn’t been her plan, but the idea resonated, so she applied for a teaching credential program and was accepted. “I didn’t leave Masters thinking ‘I’m going to be an educator,’ but when I started to think about being a teacher, I definitely started thinking about Ms. Merrill, Ms. Roche and Mr. Ives,” DeLaPaz recalls, naming a few of her teachers at Masters. Among a number of faculty who made a lasting impact, she notes that former eighth grade science teacher Ernie Garcia “blew my mind with what a science class could look like.”
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The newly minted teacher joined Los Gatos High School in California in 2006 and taught a freshman Earth Science class. “It was really, really hard at first,” she remembers. Managing not just the lesson, but also the social dynamics of a classroom full of high school students, was a challenge. DeLaPaz acknowledged the steadfast support of her colleagues during her time at Los Gatos, and how this encouraging camaraderie was especially influential as she advocated bringing an AP Environmental Science class to the school. She now teaches the course to juniors and seniors. “I love seeing students develop a passion for what they’re learning,” DeLaPaz shares. That passion is showcased in one of her favorite projects, where her high school students teach environmental science to local fourth graders. She explains that this initiative not only shows that her students understand the content of her class, but also that “they can give that as a gift to the fourth graders.” In those moments, she says, her students “just shine, and I love seeing that.” DeLaPaz also takes her class on an annual field trip to a marine biology camp on Catalina Island in Southern California. For three days, her students learn about marine biology “right there in the ocean. It’s another point where I see the igniting of passion, and all of these ideas are coming together in their heads,” she adds. And while her day-to-day lessons may be focused on studying the Earth and the environment, DeLaPaz hopes that at the end of the school year, her students understand how they can make an impact on the world, and “what the individual can do to continue things status quo or make a change.” If that goal of empowering students seems reminiscent of The Masters School’s motto — “Do it with thy might” — there is a reason. “I actually think about it a lot,” DeLaPaz explains, when considering those five words. While DeLaPaz draws inspiration from the motto in her own work, she says, “I hope my students will leave with a similar attitude. I push them to always give me the best they can.”
FOLLOWING HER PATH: AN ALUMNA’S JOURNEY IN EDUCATION Valerio speaking at The Masters School Commencement on June 8.
Well known in the world of athletics and ultrarunning, Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, New York, a former educator, cross-country coach, ultrarunner, obstacle course enthusiast and author of the recently published memoir, “A Beautiful Work in Progress.” These days, Mirna Valerio ’93 is often found competing in long-distance races or speaking to a crowd about body-image messaging. But from 2000 to 2003, Valerio, now a well-known athlete, author and motivational speaker, returned to The Masters School as a music teacher. And although her journey has taken her beyond the classroom, Valerio continues to educate and inspire. The Masters alumna and trustee admits that teaching wasn’t necessarily the path she saw herself taking. But when Valerio got a call from Nancy Theeman, then chair of the Music Department and one of her mentors at Masters, asking if she could join the faculty as a voice and piano instructor, “I was there the next day,” the ultramarathon runner says. Accepting the job meant teaching music in the Middle School, something she was unsure that she would enjoy. “Three days in, I was hooked,” she remembers. “They were so curious and energetic, and so open to whatever I presented to them.” Valerio’s passion for teaching solidified when, the following year, she worked with visual arts teacher Bruce Robbins
and Dance Director Karen Kristin on a collaborative art effort for the fifth and sixth grades. “We decided that we would do an ‘early man’ spectacular,” Valerio recalls. Students created rain sticks, learned chants, made artistic representations of fire, and even choreographed a dance. The students performed an entire show around the concept, “and it was so well-received by everyone in the community,” Valerio remembers. “Integrating all aspects of the arts with what students were studying in class is what sold me on being in education.” Her teaching philosophy was inspired by her time as a student at Masters: “A signature of the Dobbs education is educating the whole child and allowing the child to try on different roles and identities. I wanted to see my students doing that, because I benefited from that.” In addition to her time teaching at her alma mater, Valerio’s journey as an educator took her to schools in New Jersey, Maryland and Georgia. “My interests were in making sure that kids were being taught holistically because
that’s the kind of education I received when I was at Masters,” she notes. Outside of school and shortly after she recommitted to the sport of running in 2008, Valerio started the blog Fat Girl Running, which detailed her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner athletes. The blog raised her profile in the industry, and since then, her story has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Runner’s World magazine, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, the CW Network, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, “The Mirnavator.” Despite her increased visibility in the world of running, it was only recently that Valerio committed to her athletic endeavors full time, after 18 years in education. With a significant online following, a published memoir, and speaking engagements around the country, Valerio may no longer be a teacher in the traditional sense, but she is certainly using her platform to educate others: “Being an influencer on social media, being a speaker, being a workshop leader — I am teaching.”
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28 YEARS OF DOING IT WITH HIS MIGHT: CELEBRATING MASTERS’ LONGEST SERVING FACULTY MEMBER For the past 28 years, Bruce Christopher Robbins has helped students to discover the joy of creating art. Bruce Christopher Robbins grew up playing school with his siblings. At the time, he didn’t know where his interests would lead him, but he was certain that art and teaching would be part of his life. The veteran teacher now holds the distinction of being a beloved middle school visual arts instructor, a grade 5 advisor and the longest serving faculty member currently teaching at The Masters School. Although he is now a staple in the Middle School, Robbins began his Masters School career in the summer of 1991 as the Claudia Boettcher Theatre’s technical director, responsible for the sets, lighting, sound, make-up and costume design for numerous school productions. Robbins estimates that he has worked on nearly 100 productions in his years at Masters. In addition to his behind-the-scenes stage work, he taught classes in stagecraft, acting, video production and puppetry. As the School grew and evolved, so did Robbins’ scope of work: After nine years as technical director, he moved to the Visual Arts Department, eventually settling into his current position in the Middle School. On campus, Robbins is known for his welcoming demeanor, his engaging art classes and his work on Weekend Team escorting boarding students to various off-campus activities, but he is perhaps most famous for his colorful and creative puppets. Early in his career, “Puppetry became a way to investigate and combine my many interests,” Robbins explains, noting that it blends his passion for both visual and performing arts. As an undergraduate pursuing his B.F.A. at SUNY Purchase in the mid 80s, his work “explored the combination of puppets, video and environments that resulted in multimedia performance.”
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One of the teacher’s favorite lessons is the fifth grade interdisciplinary puppet opera project. For an entire year, students study opera from just about every angle: its history, stories, composition, notation, rehearsal and performance. They also attend performances at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. At the same time, students learn about ancient civilizations, with a deep dive into ancient Egypt that includes a trip to the Egyptian Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art. In Robbins’ art class, they spend time designing and creating their own puppet characters, based on ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, and in music class, they compose entire operas with the gods and goddesses as characters. “I let my students know that they need to put forth effort and focus into what they do and that I will not judge them for their abilities and talents,” Robbins says, noting that “Artists are always students!” The culmination of this yearlong intensive is the fifth grade’s performance of their original puppet operas, which takes place every year in May. “Through this project, students can clearly see how the concepts that they are learning in their various classes can come together and be shared with others in an entertaining way,” Robbins says. “The students learn to collaborate and make connections.” And, he adds, “On a personal level, interdisciplinary projects like this are what brought me to teaching in the first place.”
Robbins believes strongly that “everyone has the ability to make art” and that the value of it goes well beyond the superficial beauty of a piece of work. “It can be about communicating ideas, or it can be a way to help people see things from a different perspective. Looking at and analyzing works from the past can be a great way to help understand history from many different cultures.” He also says that, in addition to connecting people, stories and historical perspectives, “Art is also a wonderful way to focus your energy and express yourself. The art making process can be very therapeutic.”
Robbins’ longevity provides him with a unique vantage point of and role within The Masters School. In his nearly 29 years at Masters, he has been part of its growth from a small all-girls institution of fewer than 150 to a coeducational school with more than 650 students. And although he has experienced Masters’ growth firsthand, what brought him to the School in the first place remains intact: “From the first moment, I felt that I had entered a very special place where people cared. It was a place where one could truly learn to be oneself and get help along the way. I had found a home.”
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“IT IS MY JOB
SEVEN QUESTIONS WITH SAM SAVAGE
TO CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH ALL TEACHERS CAN BE THEIR BEST SELVES AND DO THEIR BEST WORK TO PROMOTE STUDENT LEARNING.”
THE MASTERS SCHOOL’S DEAN OF FACULTY
Sam Savage joined The Masters School in August after serving as chair of the Language Department at Deerfield Academy, where he taught classics and Spanish, chaired the Global Studies Committee, coached lacrosse and basketball, and served as a member of the residential faculty. As dean of faculty at The Masters School, Savage is responsible for fostering a culture of student-centered teaching, articulating the School’s educational philosophy, and ensuring that the faculty’s pedagogical approaches are aligned with that philosophy. Savage also designs and leads efforts to support the academic goals as outlined in the School’s strategic plan.
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What led you to pursue a career in education? When I was graduating from college, I had two major criteria for my next steps: I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day, and I didn’t want to be a student anymore. I decided to try teaching. After my first few months in the classroom, I was sure this profession would hold a lifetime’s worth of challenges and fulfillment. Twenty-two years later, I could not be happier that I found such a sustaining vocation.
What attracted you to The Masters School? I have been hearing about Masters for a long time and was thrilled to see a position become available here. First and foremost, I was attracted to this community because I saw people asking important questions and doing the work of promoting justice and equity. The beautiful campus and the people I met when I first came here helped me realize this was the right place for me and my family.
Having been a member of the faculty at Deerfield for many years, how do you see the dean of faculty as helping to support teachers? Above all else, the dean of faculty is a facilitator. It is my job to create the circumstances in which all teachers can be their best selves and do their best work to promote student learning. The dean of faculty doesn’t have all the answers, but rather is always willing to partner with teachers to search for them. A good dean of faculty works to empower faculty and sustain the structures that align professional growth with the mission of the school and the best interests of the students.
What are you most excited about as you begin this new stage in your career? I’m excited to be in a position to support such a dedicated and talented group of educators. It was not an easy decision for me to move away from a position in the classroom; I love that work and have found profound fulfillment in it. Working for teachers, however, is an incredible privilege that I do not take for granted. I believe I have something to contribute to help Masters find its truest expression as an outstanding school, and I’m excited to do the work to help us move in that direction.
Our faculty not only have a wide range of professional experience, but also have a range of teaching styles. How do you feel this variety benefits our students? Diversity is a good thing. In learning environments, as in life, we encounter a dizzying array of people, personalities and styles. Human relationships are complex, and this fact is at the core of what makes this work so joyful. The shared values we cherish as members of the Masters community guide our work, and the diversity we encounter along the way prepares us for a life guided by those values.
In your view, what are the challenges and benefits of using the Harkness method of teaching — for both teachers and students? The challenges and benefits of the Harkness method are one and the same. It’s challenging to formulate questions that drive us deeper into collective inquiry. Acquiring this skill is perhaps the greatest benefit of the method, since it can be applied in so many areas of our lives as we strive to make meaning in a complex world. It’s also challenging to set aside our egos and truly listen so as to understand and to value the group as much as, or more than, ourselves. Collaboration and creating spaces where people bring their best to the table in service of a greater good is perhaps the most transferable aspect of the Harkness method, and it aligns perfectly with our School’s mission. This method so gracefully engages both the student and the teacher as learners in a process of ongoing discovery. It models so well how to live a well-examined life.
You come to Masters with years of experience in boarding schools, both as a student and a faculty member. What do you believe are the benefits of a boarding education, not just for boarding students but for day students, too? From the faculty perspective, it’s truly a privilege to participate in student learning as holistically as we do in a boarding school. The profound relationships that develop in this context change lives. Having lived and worked in day schools and boarding schools, I appreciate how dedicated boarding school faculty are to their students. They operate with an implicit understanding that learning is happening at all times of the day and night and that the mission of the school extends well beyond the classroom. While day students don’t engage in every aspect of the boarding school life, they benefit from being part of a community that embraces such a broad-ranging vision of education.
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THE CASE OF THE OVER-MARKED PAPER AN ESSAY BY LISA GREEN, UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER AND CO-DIRECTOR OF THE MASTERS SCHOOL WRITING CENTER
My colleague Sharon Linsker and I were on a hunt. It was the middle of August 2012, and Sharon and I would be leading The Masters School’s New Faculty Institute at the end of the month. The topic of the workshop was providing feedback to students, and we needed to find an “over-marked” paper to use as an example. The comments on the paper had to reflect what not to do as a teacher: take control over students’ work by circling every misplaced modifier and spelling error; confuse students by simultaneously suggesting big-picture revisions and proofreading corrections. We had been combing through our files for several days to no avail. Then came an email from Sharon with a happy subject line: “Our search is over!” Sure enough, Sharon had unearthed the perfect badly marked paper: a thoughtful yet tentative essay on the idea of family in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” The dog-eared pages of the paper were covered from margin to margin in ink, each and every mistake duly noted and corrected by the well-meaning teacher. When I saw her the next day, Sharon could barely contain her excitement. “Isn’t this great?” she asked. “The teacher did exactly what you shouldn’t do!” Somehow, the essay had found its way into an old stack of English Department files and was destined for the recycling bin. That is, until Sharon got her hands on it. I looked over the paper with a strange sense of déjà vu and then sheepishly confessed: “I’m afraid to say it, Sharon. That teacher is me.” If you had asked me several years before that moment, I might have proudly claimed the over-marked paper as my own. I would have felt that it reflected my hard work and effectiveness as a teacher: I was helpfully pointing out errors and making suggestions for improvement. But the research Sharon and I had done on feedback that summer had convinced me of the importance of teacher restraint. We had learned from the research that students need to make mistakes, and even to fail, in order to grow as learners, and that teachers must allow space for that. As longtime Harkness teachers, Sharon and I were already familiar with the concept of teacher restraint. We knew that around the Harkness table, less teacher intervention is best. But we also understood that this approach is easier said than done. Even now, after almost 20 years as a Harkness teacher, I still find myself wondering whether to intervene
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while listening to an off-target or “out of left field” comment during a Harkness discussion, just as I continue to struggle with letting that misplaced modifier go uncorrected. There are so many ways that a discussion can be derailed by an overzealous or underprepared student. Yet, when the teacher is too vigilant about resisting such derailments, she can also stand in the way of interesting and necessary detours, the “mistakes” that lead to student growth. I seem to learn the most about Harkness teaching in situations where I feel like a student myself. There are many of these opportunities, and they offer the chance for empathy, to experience firsthand what students do in the Harkness classroom: small group work “assignments” at conferences, or faculty meetings when I’m annoyed by a colleague who’s dominating the discussion. Recently, I attended a professional development workshop where I found myself sitting around a Harkness-like assemblage of desks in a college classroom. The topic was “Mindfulness and Writing,” and the instructor, a lovely woman with blond hair and a funky blue scarf, smiled encouragingly as she told us, a class of 15 middle-aged educators, to share the free writing we had just completed on the word “field.” I was eager to, pleased with myself for having perceptively picked up on the ambiguity of the word: a field of grass, a field of expertise. But as I listened to my classmates read theirs, I started to feel insecure. Not only had they picked up on the same ambiguity, they had explored it more eloquently, with more surprising connections, more wit, more color. When the charming Irishman from Emma Willard read about the stone-edged fields of his childhood in a sonorous lilt, I was awed. He was the last to share, and after a pause I raised my hand. “As teachers,” I asked, “should we try to avoid having students think of free writing as performance, or is that actually a good thing?” I thought it was a pretty good question, especially since it was an issue that had been touched on in the plenary session, and I waited expectantly for my instructor’s approving response. Instead she said, “That’s a nice question, Lisa, but we really need to move on. Why doesn’t everyone just keep Lisa’s question in mind, and we’ll get to it later, okay?” We all nodded and dutifully began the next activity: listening to the instructor read from a published prose piece about a beautiful green field and then writing a response.
Except that I was too angry to write about the beautiful field. All I could think about was how my instructor had shut down my question, and how I really didn’t care about the stupid field. Later, I saw that the instructor had mapped out a very structured plan for our next two hours of class, one that included more free writing and sharing and a small-group exercise. We never got to my question, although she had allowed time at the end for an open discussion. Other questions were raised; I felt that the moment for mine had passed. Was I still angry at my instructor? Yes. But I also forgave her. I realized that my question had thrown her off. She had a plan, an agenda for the class, and if we had stopped to discuss my question we might not have gotten through it. At the same time, I recognized that she had made a mistake. My question was a detour, not a derailment. As a teacher, I could relate to her quandary because it connected to my own: Is there a way to honor the spontaneous interests of the individual student and the needs of the group? When is it best to abandon or delay a well-planned lesson and allow for a student-directed detour? When is it best to stick with the plan? What’s the difference between a detour and a derailment? When should the teacher exert her authority and when should the teacher let it go?
Sharon and I presented my “over-marked paper” during the New Faculty Institute each August until she retired from Masters in 2015, and I continued to use it for a few years after that as the workshop’s solo leader. Each year, I listened with a perverse sense of delight as the new faculty members critiqued the feedback on my student’s paper. They would rightly point out that the teacher had taken over the paper, and that the student would be confused and overwhelmed by such extensive comments. Of course, there would always be one dissenter in the room. The feedback on the student paper, this new faculty member would say, is clearly the work of a dedicated teacher, and students do need direction and guidance. I would listen and let the group debate it, but the anti-“over-marked paper” side always won out, which it should. Too much teacher control can prevent learning. But then again, too little teacher intervention can, too. Each year, as I reflect on my work as a teacher, I wrestle with that line between marking and not marking, speaking and staying silent, allowing for a student digression and adhering to the plan. I’ll probably never get it right. I’m making mistakes and learning, just like my students.
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Board of Trustees Welcomes New Members
Lisa Bezos P’21
Beth Nolan ’69
Dana W. Oliver P’22
Steven Safyer P’04, ’07
Lisa Bezos runs a private ADHD consulting practice, empowering children and families with practical techniques and processes to better manage their complicated lives and minimize frustrations. Beyond her private practice, she runs a number of monthly support groups for families dealing with the challenges of raising children with ADHD. In addition to receiving her ADD coaching certificate, Lisa holds an integrative nutrition certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which she uses to help individuals and families live healthier lives.
Beth Nolan is the senior vice president and general counsel of The George Washington University. She served in the Clinton White House as counsel to the president, and earlier as associate counsel to the president, as well as in the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, as deputy assistant attorney general and as attorney-advisor. She has been a partner in a law firm and a law professor.
Dana Oliver graduated cum laude from Duke University in 1987, majoring in public policy and economics, and earned her M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in 1993.
Steven Safyer is president and chief executive officer of Montefiore Medicine. Prior to his appointment in 2008, he held a variety of increasingly senior leadership roles at Montefiore, including senior vice president and chief medical officer from 1998 until 2008.
Lisa graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990 with a B.A. in art history. She spent the early part of her career working in advertising and marketing, first in government contracting at Unisys Federal Systems, and later on Madison Avenue at DDB Needham, where she worked on the accounts for Lockheed Martin, Juno and Digital Equipment.
Beth graduated from Scripps College (B.A.) and Georgetown Law School (J.D.). She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Charles Wright. Her sister, Sally ’68, and several cousins are also graduates of The Masters School.
Lisa grew up in Scarsdale, New York, where she currently lives with her husband and a dwindling number of their four children — ages 13 to 20, including Dean ’21— as they grow up and go off to college.
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A 1969 graduate of The Masters School, Beth previously served as a trustee from 1989 to 1993 and 2009 to 2018. She rejoined the Board in 2019.
Over the course of her 12-year finance career, she worked for Citibank, Montgomery Securities and Amsterdam Pacific, before leaving to focus on raising her children. Dana and her family joined the Masters community during the 2018-19 school year, having recently moved from the San Francisco Bay Area. While there, Dana volunteered extensively at Mark Day School, her children’s school. There, she held many positions, including Parent Association president and member of the Board of Trustees. Additionally, she coordinated Duke University’s alumni interviews with prospective students in the San Francisco North Bay Area for over 15 years, and also did animal-assisted therapy in schools for children on the autism spectrum or children having a diagnosis of emotional disturbance. Dana and her husband, Adam Wolfson, live in Scarsdale, New York, with their three children: Sabrina ’22, Brian and Jason.
Steven earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his internship and a residency in social medicine at Montefiore. He is board certified in internal medicine, as well as a professor of medicine and a professor of epidemiology and population health at Einstein. Steven is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, a founding member of The Health Management Academy and a member of the Healthcare Institute. He received his B.S. from Cornell University. Steven lives with his wife, Dr. Paula Marcus, in Manhattan. Their two daughters, Simone ’04 and Gabriella ’07, were day students at The Masters School.
Save the Date Reunion 2020 May 15 & 16 All alumnae/i are welcome to attend Reunion 2020. Return to campus for a weekend celebrating the classes ending in 0 and 5. Questions? Call 914-479-6611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all members of the Estherwood Society for their generous commitment to The Masters School. Alumnae/i, parents and friends who have chosen to honor The Masters School through their estate, trust or other gift planning vehicle are eligible to join the Estherwood Society. Society members leave a legacy that provides opportunity and promise for our students now and into the future. In recognition of their generosity, members are invited to special events throughout the year. For more information about the Estherwood Society, gift planning or to notify The Masters School of your intentions, please contact the Office of Alumnae/i Engagement at 914-479-6611 or email@example.com.
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ALUMNAE/I UPDATE: REUNION 2019
Class of 1954 — From left: Kay Farwell Williamson, Magnhild Sandberg Wollheim, Lee Masselman Kallos, Muffy Reybine Myles and Carol Millholland Strasburger.
Class of 1979 — From left: Margaret Cecil Sinnott, Elizabeth Parry, Veronica Carter, Shideh Tehrani Afshar and Catherine Fryer.
Class of 1969 — Top row, from left: Lucy Pugsley, Darcy Atkinson Weir, Elise Billock Tropea, Helen McMahon, Beth Nolan, Mary Ellen Moran Devlin, Gladys Waltemade Scholl, Judy Daniels Ott, Schellie Archbold, Joanie Vaughan Ingraham and Janet Heidrich Kelley. Middle row, from left: Patty Selden McNamee, Gail Hollick Streisand, Mary Ann Zeman, Anne Van Leer Ekberg, Betty Urban, Rebecca Hathaway and Adelaide Bodell Milhaupt. Front row, from left: Fordy Staempfli Williams, Sandra Wick Ruggiero, Linda Vipond Heath, Kathy Kempe Watson, Elizabeth Claggett Smith, Libbie Payne and Alyson Adler.
Class of 1984 — From left: Jenny Nay Masters, Nancy Kehoe, Karen Feinberg Dorsey, Courtney Walthour Lamontagne, Jennifer Embree Lannan and Elizabeth Kuhns Babington.
Class of 1989 — Top row, from left: Sallie Sills, Patrice McDonald Hall and Diana Pryor Combs. Bottom row, from left: Jennifer Higgins Joyner, Helen Packard, Kate Kerpchar, Lisa Weber Caplan and Anne Mulvaney Bloom. 28 | MASTERSNY.ORG
Visit our website for the latest news from campus: mastersny.org Watch your inbox for The Masters Messenger Alumnae/i E-Newsletter Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/mastersny Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/mastersschool Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/mastersny Prefer to stay updated the good, old-fashioned way? Contact the Office of Alumnae/i Engagement at 914-479-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 1999 — Front row, from left: Kate Mullen’s husband, Kate Mullen and their twins; Anna Sobel and her daughter; Anna Dengler and her son. Back row, from left: Chris Danzig and his daughter; Dorothy Walsh Sasso and her daughters; and Allison Bienkowski Evans and her daughters.
Class of 2004 — From left: Sasha Feldman North-Clauss, Rachel Cipriano, Kay Weiner and Samantha Brown.
B Class of 2009 — A-From left: Josh Bailey, Sam Rashba, Jasmine Broadnax Lutz, Belinda Brown and guest Marcus Thomas. B-From left: Jackson Pietsch, Erika Tang, Alex Barie, Chelsea Dieck and Danny Graziano.
Class of 2014 — From left: Olivia Mason, Olivia Cao, Stephanie Sherman, Henry Jaffe, Henry DuBeau and Oliver Kaplowitz.
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ALUMNAE/I UPDATE: REUNION 2019
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ALUMNAE/I UPDATE: REUNION 2019
Groundbreaking Conductor Marin Alsop ’73 Inducted Into Arts Hall of Fame
1 Photo by Adriane White
She is the only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. She was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center. She conducts the world’s major orchestras. And, as a graduate of The Masters School, it is fitting that Marin Alsop ’73 would be the inaugural inductee into the School’s Arts Hall of Fame. Alsop’s induction ceremony was held on Friday, May 17, during Reunion Weekend; alumnae/i, students, faculty and friends gathered in the Fonseca Center for the momentous occasion. The event celebrated Alsop’s many achievements in the world of music, from breaking barriers as the first female conductor of a major orchestra to creating musical programming in Baltimore for at-risk youth.
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Alsop Skyped into the ceremony due to a last-minute request to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During the ceremony, Head of School Laura Danforth remarked that Alsop “is a true inspiration to others interested in pursuing a career in conducting and music. She uses her talents to be a power for good in the world. She sets an incredible example for our future alums of what it means to do it with thy might.”
1/ Marin Alsop ’73 (photo credit: Adriane White)
A former member of Dohters, Alsop was serenaded by the current members of the high-voice a cappella group and was presented with her Hall of Fame award by Dohters Co-President Elliott Feder ’19. Like Alsop, Feder is pursuing her passion for music; she is now in her first year at the Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music at New York University.
3/ A Dohter during her time at Masters, Alsop was serenaded by current members of the a cappella group via Skype.
The celebration simply could not be contained to the hourlong ceremony: Many of Alsop’s classmates who returned to campus for the occasion continued the festivities with dinner at a local restaurant.
2/ Elliott Feder ’19 presents Alsop with Arts Hall of Fame award.
4/ Members of the Class of 1973 with Head of School Laura Danforth (fourth from right) after the Arts Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
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ALUMNAE/I UPDATE: REUNION 2019
Meet the Reunion 2019 Award Recipients Each year at Reunion, The Masters School honors members of its community who have distinguished themselves through service — to the School, its students and the world outside Masters. Award recipients are honored during the Banquet Dinner and Awards Ceremony, which takes place on the Saturday evening of Reunion Weekend. Please join us in congratulating the 2019 award recipients.
conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. In 2019, Alsop became principal conductor and music director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, for whom she also steers programming and outreach activities; her contract has been extended to the end of 2019, when she becomes conductor in honour.
Photo by Adriane White
Eliza Bailey Masters Fellowship Award Marin Alsop ’73 Marin Alsop ’73 is the 2019 recipient of the Eliza Bailey Masters Fellowship Award. This award is given to honor an alumna/us who exemplifies Miss Masters’ philosophy through outstanding service to his or her community. Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra. Her success has been recognized by two extensions in her tenure, now confirmed until 2021. She is conductor emerita at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal
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In 2005, Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award; in 2008, she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and in 2009, Musical America named her Conductor of the Year. Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other distinguished orchestras. She is an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvořák. Marin Alsop graduated from The Masters School and Yale University, and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood, where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
The Richmond Bowl Elizabeth “Libbie” Payne ’69 Elizabeth “Libbie” Payne ’69 is the 2019 recipient of The Richmond Bowl. Created to honor Nell Angle Richmond ’34 and Tom Richmond, this award is presented each year by the Dobbs Alumnae/i Association to an alumna/us whose exceptional support of and service to The Masters School reflects the same outstanding quality of creative leadership demonstrated by the Richmond family. This award traditionally goes to an alumna/us who has worked as a Dobbs volunteer in a number of different jobs over a period of years. It recognizes a kind of selfless dedication and willingness to serve, and is awarded to alumnae/i who have always gone the extra mile in their service to the School. Payne’s connection to Dobbs started with her mother, Sarah Biggs Payne, a member of the Class of 1936. Her great-aunt, Anna Biggs, also graduated from Dobbs and taught music at the School in the early 1900s. After graduation, Payne received her B.A. from the University of Vermont and her M.S. from Ithaca College. She spent 18 years as a writer and member of the editorial staff at The Boston Globe and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern University. In addition to these achievements, Payne has maintained strong ties to the School. She has served as a class news editor, Reunion chair and Dobbs Alumnae/i Association board member, and is a member of the Estherwood Society. She is a connector for alumnae/i in New England, never missing a regional event. Payne is truly a dedicated alumna, exemplifying the School motto by always doing it with her might.
Anna Howe Faculty Award Colleen Roche Roche is the 2019 recipient of the Anna Howe Faculty Award. This award recognizes an outstanding current or former faculty member who has shaped and changed the lives of students in a positive way. Roche has taught in the History and Religion Department since 1996. In the years since, she has taught World History 1; AP U.S. History; and Political Science, a senior elective she designed. Roche has also served as advisor to the Model UN club and was chair of the History and Religion Department for 10 years. She oversaw the School’s New York State Association of Independent Schools accreditation process in 2010-2011, as well as the five-year review three years ago. She was one of the first two teachers to participate in The Masters School’s China exchange program, and in 2003-2004 she took a yearlong sabbatical to study first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson. Ten years later she took another sabbatical, this time to research and write a book about the Gilded Age, which is still in the prepublication phase. Roche loves to explore New York City; her other interests include reading, politics, movies, cooking and travel. She lives on campus with her husband, Greg Schlapp, and their two children: Ethan ’22 and Sarah ’25.
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Lenore Laupheimer 1932-2019
The Masters School shares with deep sadness that Lenore Lauphiemer passed away on April 28 at the age of 87. She was a lifelong learner and beloved teacher, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sarah Lawrence College. The Masters School was fortunate to have her as a faculty member for 19 years, starting in September 1969. In 1979, Hugh P. Silk, who was headmaster at the time, said in his recommendation for her Klingenstein Fellowship, “Lenore Laupheimer is not only an unusually fine person, but, at the same time, she is an exceptional teacher and one of the foremost faculty leaders in the School.” She taught Film and Economics as well as American History, Ancient Medieval History, American Social Thought, AP American History and Women in History. She was awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship for 1979 to 1980, and after her year away she came back to the School and became chair of the History Department. In 1982, she was awarded the Lightner Chair in History. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Lenore found time to be involved in other areas of the community: She chaired both the Faculty Forum and the Senior Independent Study Program. In 2004, she was awarded the Anna Howe Faculty Award by The Masters School community for dedication to her students.
Mary “Polly” Luckett Murray ’50 1933-2019 It is with great sadness that The Masters School shares the passing of beloved alumna Mary “Polly” Luckett Murray ’50 on July 16. Polly was one of many in her family to attend The Masters School and was a much-loved member of her class. One of Polly’s greatest achievements was advocating to bring Lyme disease to the attention of the medical community and the public. Polly published a book on the subject in 1996 entitled “The Widening Circle: A Lyme Disease Pioneer Tells Her Story.” The book describes how, living in Lyme, Connecticut, Polly’s family was afflicted with a variety of symptoms, and how Polly campaigned for answers and attention. In July 2019, New York Magazine published an article about Murray entitled, “Maybe It’s Lyme: What happens when illness becomes an identity?” In the 1950 yearbook, Murray chose the quote, “If I put my mind to it, I know I can do it.” She certainly achieved great things in her lifetime and did it with her might.
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Former Faculty and Staff Catherine A. Barnett of Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 2, 2019 Lenore Laupheimer of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, on April 28, 2019 Mireya Calderin of Yonkers, New York, on February 3, 2019 Phil Beers of Rye, New York, on August 10, 2018 Alumnae/i 1939 Althea Curtis Edgar of Brunswick, Maine, on May 10, 2019 1940 Margaret Powers Hughes of Northampton, Massachusetts, on June 4, 2019 1944 Mary King Babcock of Old Greenwich, Connecticut, on March 27, 2019 1945 Lois McFall Diehl of Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 30, 2019 1946 Polly Wilmer Rodie of Fanwood, New Jersey, on January 30, 2019 1948 Jean Wheeler Blackmur of Santa Rosa, California, on June 27, 2019 1949 Frederica Williams Sandoe of Fort Myers, Florida, on July 19, 2019 1950 Mary Luckett Murray of Old Lyme, Connecticut, on July 16, 2019 1952 Elizabeth Bunker Hartong of Chicago, Illinois, on February 11, 2019 1954 Virginia Evans Carlin of Decatur, Georgia, on April 11, 2019 1957 Susan Silloway Hottel of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, on August 5, 2019 1957 Geraldine S. Taylor of Lake Forest, Illinois, on August 14, 2019 1960 Mary McCallum McDonnell of Memphis, Tennessee, on July 21, 2019 1963 Carin Chapman West of Hillsboro Beach, Florida, on February 13, 2018 1965 Mary Glassmeyer Maloney of New Castle, New Hampshire, on December 13, 2018 1970 Patricia Hake Bujarski of Putnam Valley, New York, on July 2, 2019 1971 Mary Stroup Wolters of Landrum, South Carolina, in March 2019
SAVE THETHE DATE SAVE DATE
SPRING SPRING GALA GALA 2020 2020
Join the celebration! If you are interested in donating to our auction or volunteering with your might, please contact: Jen Nappo P’21, ’23, ’23, Gala Chair email@example.com 917-714-5451 Aishling Peterson P’18, ’20, ’22, Director of Parent Engagement and Special Events firstname.lastname@example.org 914-479-6639
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THE MASTERS SCHOOL
LEADERSHIP 2019-2020 Head of School Laura Danforth Board of Trustees Edith C. Chapin ’83, Chair Keryn Norton Mathas P’19, ’21, ’22, Vice Chair Katherine A. Henry ’94, P’25, Treasurer Suzie Paxton ’88, Secretary Lisa Bezos P’21 Martin Bjäringer P’17 Fred Brettschneider P’19 Jonathan Clay P’19 Laura Danforth Michael D’Angelo P’15, ’19 David Heidelberger ’01 Christina Masters Jones Philip Kassen Shaojian (Richard) Li P’20 Tracy Tang Limpe ’80, P’18 Victor Luis P’17, ’19 Sydney Shafroth Macy ’70 Edgar M. Masters H’98, Life Trustee Susan Follett Morris ’57, Life Trustee Beth Nolan ’69 Dana W. Oliver P’22 Hillary A. Peckham ’09 Janet Pietsch P’09, ’20 Steven Safyer P’04, ’07 Margarita Sawhney P’20 Diana Davis Spencer ’56, P’84 Mirna A. Valerio ’93 Honorary Trustees Marin Alsop ’73 Cynthia Ferris Evans ’52, P’76, ’86 Jeannette Sanford Fowlkes ’58, P’87 Ruth Mitchell Freeman ’51 Nancy Maginnes Kissinger ’51 Claudia Boettcher Merthan ’51 Lynn Pilzer Sobel ’71, P’99, ’05 Dobbs Alumnae/i Association Board David Heidelberger ’01, President Hannah J. Miller ’10, Interim Vice President Sharon Nechis Castillo ’84 Eleanor H. Collinson ’98 Karen Feinberg Dorsey ’84 Austin O’Neill Dunyk ’98 Evan B. Leek ’01 John M. McGovern ’07 Justina I. Michaels ’02 Ricardo C. Oelkers ’03
Parent Association Executive Committee Officers Janet Pietsch P’09, ’20, President Leslie Rusoff P’17, ’17, ’18, ’21, ’22, Co-Vice President, Upper School Robin Scheuer P’18, ’20, Co-Vice President, Upper School Marie Fabian P’22, ’26, Co-Vice President, Middle School Gabrielle Rosenfeld P’24, Co-Vice President, Middle School Committees and Chairs Leslie Rusoff P’17, ’17, ’18, ’21, ’22, Chair, Admission Support Erick Blanc P’23, Parent Chair, Annual Fund Andrew Barnes P’26, ’26, Parent Vice Chair, Annual Fund Sally Jo O’Brien P’21, Boarding Parent Representative Anne Termini P’20, Boarding Parent Representative Irma Pereira-Hudson P’21, Co-Chair, Equity and Inclusion Committee Madeline Seguinot P’20, ’24, Co-Chair, Equity and Inclusion Committee Mary Lockhart P’19, ’20, Co-Chair, Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day Jennifer Nappo P’21, ’23, ’23, Co-Chair, Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day; Co-Chair, Parent Programs Amie Servino Kritzer ’95, P’26, Co-Chair, Parent Programs Class Representatives Jose Camacho P’26 Patrice Coleman ’77, P’21 Marie Fabian P’22, ’26 Staci Marlowe P’23, ’23, ’25 Jillian Miller P’22 Allison Moore ’83, P’17, ’19, ’24 Lindsay Mortimer P’26 Brooke Nalle P’24, ’27 Jennifer Nappo P’21, ’23, ’23 Janet Pietsch P’09, ’20 Rini Ratan P’22, ’24 Gabrielle Rosenfeld P’24 Liz Tarter P’25, ’27 Anne Termini P’20 Natasha VanWright P’25 Cori Worchel P’19, ’21 Monaqui Porter Young P’23, ’25
T H E
B U L L E T I N
Laura Danforth Head of School email@example.com
Adriana Hauser P’18 Director of Strategic Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
Seth Marx P’23 Director of Institutional Advancement email@example.com
Isaac Cass Digital Communications Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Donald Advancement Associate email@example.com Hilary Finkelstein Annual Fund Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Horne P’15 Director of Marketing email@example.com Jen Schutten Associate Director of Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
Sujata Jaggi ’01 Director of Alumnae/i Engagement email@example.com Maryann Perrotta Database Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org Aishling Peterson P’18, ’20, ’22 Director of Parent Engagement and Special Events email@example.com Mary Ryan ’00 Associate Director of Institutional Advancement firstname.lastname@example.org
Design: Kelsh Wilson Design THE BULLETIN FALL 2019 | 83
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Eliza Bailey Masters wrote in a 1919 letter to alumnae, “you own the School.” Inspired by her call to action, the alumnae raised the money for a new school building, completed in 1921, and named it Masters Hall in her honor. Today — nearly 100 years later — The Masters School still relies on the generosity of our community to continue Miss Masters’ legacy and support our School’s mission, students, programs and future.
Here are just a few of the ways that alumnae/i and parents can give back to our School:
Alumnae/i Giving Day
Annual Fund Volunteer
Class Notes Editor
Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day Committee
Contact: Seth Marx, Director of Institutional Advancement, at 914-479-6527 or email@example.com Mary Ryan ’00, Director of Institutional Advancement, at 914-479-6433 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Event Host Contact: The Office of Alumnae/i Engagement at 914-479-6611 or email@example.com
Contact: Aishling Peterson P’18, ’20, ’22, Director of Parent Engagement and Special Events, at 914-479-6639 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There are numerous ways to get involved and give back to Masters. If you have an idea that is not listed above, please let us know. THE BULLETIN FALL 2019 | 2
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