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We Are Cougar Strong & Safe

A Salute to Our Local First Responders Class of 2020: This Is Your Moment

Winter 2021

New Canaan Country School Bulletin Winter 2021


Head of School: Aaron Cooper Editors: Brooke Arthur Kent Findlay ’80 Contributors: Brooke Arthur Andrew Bevan Renee Bornstein Diane Briggs Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 Kojo Clarke Aaron Cooper Kent Findlay ’80 Jen Gifford Gwen Golden Liz Keogh Mark Macrides Whitney Mallozzi Moina Noor Ryan Smith


Our Enduring Mission: Rearticulated for Today and Tomorrow


We Are Cougar Strong & Safe


Class of 2020: This Is Your Moment


Parents’ Association

32 Horizons

Design: Good Design, LLC gooddesignusa.com Printer: J.S. McCarthy Printers jsmccarthy.com Photography: Brooke Arthur Kent Findlay ’80 Rinku Ghadiyali Joan Guzzetti Katherine Lantuch-Rizzo Meaghan Mallin Moina Noor Julie Porter Chi Chi Ubiña


Class Notes


Reflections in Education: From Apprentice Teacher in Training to Grade 5 Lead Teacher


Faculty & Staff News

50 Milestones 51

In Memoriam


A Look Back: From World War II to COVID-19, a History of Resilience at NCCS

Address changes: communications@countryschool.net On the cover: Third grader Lily O’Donnell experiments with watercolor. (Photo credit: Meaghan Mallin)

BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2020–2021 President: Sarah. M. Irwin Vice President: F. Tucker Golden ’90 Treasurer: Michael J. DiBiasio ’90 Secretary: Tara J. Coniglio Members-at-Large: Lynne F. Byrne Yolanda Seals-Coffield Sharon Gibbons Teles ’88 Aaron Cooper, Head of School Dr. Christopher M. Bogart Arlety Bowman Drew Casertano Sean M. Flanagan Arman C. Gokgol-Kline Elizabeth F. Keogh

Mariko G. LeBaron Monique S. Mims John M. Ryan Douglas A. Ryder Elizabeth Schmitt Heidi Locke Simon Rebecca C. Thornton ’92 Faculty Representatives: Jeannie Staunton Bean ’83 Lauren A. Romeo

PARENTS’ ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 2020–2021 President: Liz Keogh President-Elect: Gwen Golden Treasurer: Carina Calia Secretary: Beth Gosk VP, Communications: Ashley Williams VP, Community, Diversity & Inclusion: Michelle Saldivar VP, Community Service: Jen Kline VP, Volunteers: Sonia O’Connor

ALUMNI COUNCIL 2020–2021 President: Tucker Golden ’90 Vice President: Sanny Burnham Warner ’88 Matthew Bloom ’98 Nellie Coffy ’10 Richard Colligan ’01 Michael DiBiasio ’90 Taylor Gould ’06 Marshall Johnson ’04 Sarah Young Kilcullen ’98 Taryn Jones Laeben ’95 Westy Charlson LeConey ’93 Caitlin Maguire Patel ’04 Suzanne Gibbons Owen ’94 Elena Kavanagh Phillips ’91 Andres Soto ’10

Emeritus: Carl Brodnax ’76 Hugh Halsell ’59 Paula Kennedy Harrigan ’81 Carl Rohde ’66 Katharine O’Brien Rohn ’78 Stephanie Bowling Zeigler ’81 Ex Officio: Aaron Cooper, Head of School Ryan Smith, Senior Director of Advancement Holly Donaldson Casella ’04, Director of Alumni Affairs Steven Bloom ’03, Former Alumni Council President

from the

HEAD OF SCHOOL Dear Country School Community: It is during the most challenging of times that the true spirit of a community shines through. As we have done since the school’s inception, we once again draw upon the collective strength of our parents, students, faculty and staff, all of whom have shown extraordinary creativity, kindness and resilience in the face of hardship. Country School students are not just surviving, they are thriving. I recognize that it has not been easy. There are many people both inside and outside of our school community who are hurting, for whom the challenges of living through this unprecedented time has created anxiety, loss and uncertainty. I do not take for granted that it has been no small feat to open our campus every day and keep the sparks of curiosity, wonder and friendship alive for our students. When they think back on this time, I hope they will remember most that it was also a time of laughter and learning. I hope that they are proud of their own resilience and courage. The deep foundation that is built during these years is dependent on their own engagement in their learning: showing up, taking risks, reflecting on new lessons, layering new skills, asking questions and sharing their own ideas. And our students have continued this process daily during these extraordinary circumstances. I am enormously proud of them. While our external conditions have changed, childhood has not, and neither have the pillars of a great education. I am proud that our students are experi-

To read more of Aaron’s reflections, visit www.countryschool.net/lettersfromaaron

encing an exceptional education this year; we have not changed a standard or compromised a curricular element even in the face of this pandemic. Most importantly, we remain steadfastly dedicated to our commitment to educating children and our values, which are rooted in the notable history of this amazing institution. We demonstrate such reverence for our history symbolically and foundationally. In the fall, we unveiled and dedicated a portrait of our founding

“It is during the most challenging of times that the true spirit of a community shines through.”

co-principals Edith Dudley and Effie Dunton, followed closely by the presentation of our rearticulated mission statement and core values. (Read more, page 3.) Though the particular arrangement of words is appropriately new for our current world, the sentiment they convey remains as it was when Misses Dudley and Dunton were at the helm over 100 years ago, and as it has in all the years since. It is because of you — our extraordinary community — that Country School is able to educate the next generation with grace and optimism, and for that I am deeply grateful. Be well,

Aaron Cooper, Head of School discover more countryschool.net


“Childhood is in itself an integral part of life to be lived fully and happily.” —Henry Welles, Headmaster, 1938



Our Enduring Mission rearticulated for today and tomorrow At the 2020 Annual Meeting held virtually on Oct. 1, Head of School Aaron Cooper and Board President Sarah Irwin shared the school’s newly rearticulated mission statement and core values, which were written by an authoring committee of educators and adopted by the Board of Trustees as part of the school’s strategic planning efforts in the spring. “Our mission is the statement on which all else stands. It is core to who we have been, who we are and who we always will be,” said Mr. Cooper. “And yet, as times change, its articulation and application necessarily shift so that the school can best achieve its spirit.” Thank you to our Authoring Committee: Head of School Aaron Cooper, Director of Plus Program Kathy Kravec, Head of Early Childhood Beth O’Brien and Co-Director of Secondary School Counseling and US Learning Resources Teacher Lauren Romeo.

OUR MISSION We create an active, joyful learning environment where children are challenged to think deeply, question confidently, and act generously so that they may lead lives of impact and purpose.

our values COMMUNITY




We seek, respect and celebrate diversity and ignite a sense of belonging so everyone thrives.

We take risks, make mistakes, assume responsibility and champion those around us.

We foster a culture of compassion through our daily words and actions.

We explore, investigate and discover — inspiring a life devoted to endless learning.

discover more countryschool.net



from the PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD The following is an excerpt from the 2020 Annual Meeting remarks by Board President Sarah Irwin. In true Country

these resources for our current students

School fashion,

and for generations to come.

we find ourselves

But the resilient, collaborative, indomi-

We’re here to reflect on why Country

adapting to meet

table spirit of Country School is, perhaps,

School has been here all this time — and

the moment.

our greatest living legacy. And it lives in

why it must continue to thrive. The essen-

In many ways,

all of us. That spirit lives in you, in our

tial mission it serves, the deep and abiding

that is entirely

families — whose support, partnership

values it instills, and the gifts of intellect

appropriate, as throughout its history

and generosity have never been more

and character its students carry forth.

our school has earned its reputation

important to our shared success. It lives

Ready to lead, to succeed, to champion

for educational leadership by demon-

in my fellow trustees, who dedicate

others and to change the world for the

strating remarkable agility, innovation

themselves to ensuring our school’s

better. Now, more than ever, that is

and resilience. In every era, Country

long-term health, and in the many parent

something worth celebrating. Because it

School has managed to deliver upon its

volunteers whose work does so much to

is exactly what our world needs most.

essential mission, even as it evolved and

strengthen our community. It lives most

rose to meet the challenges of its time.

powerfully in Country School’s extraordi-

Sarah Irwin was named Board President in

In so doing, the school has educated and

nary faculty, staff and administration —

July 2020. Ms. Irwin, a New Canaan resident,

empowered generations of students to

who lead us all by example, delivering the

worked in marketing at Sotheby’s and

meet the challenges of their own time.

school’s mission with courage, honor, skill

Publicis before pursuing an M.S. at the Bank

That has never been more true than it

and unparalleled commitment.

Street College of Education. She trained

is today. We are witnessing in real time

Best of all — because of all of you —

as a literacy specialist in independent and

the agility and resilience of our commu-

it lives in our school’s students, in our

public schools in New York City. Ms. Irwin

nity, our faculty and staff and our chil-

children. And it affirms the best of what

has been an active volunteer in the Parents’

dren. We know there is simply no better

Country School can be.

Association since her family joined the

place to be. We have the deep financial

In time, this pandemic will exist as

Country School community in 2013. She has

resources of our endowment and the

simply one chapter in our school’s long

previously served on the boards of the Young

wide green spaces of our campus,

history. A single example of the many

Fellows of the Frick Collection and Friends of

entrusted to us by previous generations.

storms Country School has weathered

Mount Sinai Hospital, both in New York City.

These are fundamental to our success,

— emerging stronger at every turn. One

In addition to Ms. Irwin, the following board

and to Country School’s ongoing strength

more story that illustrates where we

members were appointed to the Board of

and exceptional program — in this

have been as an institution. But tonight,

Trustees in July: Jeannie Staunton Bean ’83,

unique year, and far beyond. We must

we’re here to share something even more

Sean M. Flanagan, Elizabeth Schmitt, Heidi

each step up and do our part to preserve

important with you.

Locke Simon and Rebecca C. Thornton ’92.




As schools across the world respond to the disruption of COVID-19 and we prepare to write our school’s next chapter, our Strategic Plan Steering Committee is actively working to incorporate all of the good work from our Design Teams last winter with the lessons of 2020. We look forward to sharing our plan with the extended NCCS community in the coming months.


A mission statement is a school’s guiding north star. Since its founding as the Community School, the NCCS mission has essentially had the same focus, though the specific collection of words have changed over time. The following are excerpts from Mission Statements throughout our school’s history. NEW CANAAN COUNTRY SCHOOL BULLETIN • Winter 2021

1919: Founding statement of purpose “for the instruction of children in the fundamental branches of elementary school, mentally and physically, to the end that they may be prepared …”



Country School’s first Co-Principals

School and establish what was then called

courage; in the years to follow, it would

Edith Dudley and Effie Dunton, and

the Community School. Classes began

take on as its slogan, the Latin phrase,

the mission upon which they founded

Oct. 16, 1916, in a small house on Seminary

Audentes Fortuna Juvat, fortune favors

the school in 1916, were honored by

Street. By 1919, a larger house at 63 Park

the bold. With this thought in mind, we

the school’s community at its virtual

Street was purchased to accommodate

conducted the research enabling us to

Annual Meeting on Oct. 1.

increased enrollment. It is this building,

honor our commitment to diversity,

School Archivist Mark Macrides

with its still recognizable, prominent

equity and inclusion by adding our female

unveiled a portrait that the school

round columns, that is used as the back-

leaders to the walls where previously only

commissioned of the turn-of-the-century

drop for the portrait.

portraits of our male leaders have hung.

educators, and provided a brief history of

Under the Misses Dudley’s and

The completed portrait is displayed

the women and how artist Frank Morris

Dunton’s leadership, the school valued,

in the lobby of the school’s Grace House

used several archival reference photo-

among other things, community and

administrative building.

graphs to create the oil painting. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer this portrait as a means of accurately honoring our history and creating a physical representation of two pioneering women whose determination during challenging times helped to solidify Country School’s mission. As the school has grown in every way, from the early days on Park Street, the educational foundation established by the Misses Dudley and Dunton remains remarkably intact,” said Mr. Macrides. Considered educational visionaries at the forefront of a radically progressive, childhood education movement emerging in the early 1900s, the women were persuaded by a group of New Canaan parents to leave New York City’s Jacoby

To view the video of the unveiling, please visit: www.countryschool.net/founders

1936: “The purpose of the school is to help every child in its charge to develop a character built upon sound moral, spiritual and intellectual values. Its aim is to develop in every pupil the spirit of service and good citizenship and to lay a solid foundation for further educational progress. But, in agreement with modern psychology the school believes that childhood is not solely a preparation for adult life; it is in itself an integral part of life and is to be lived fully and happy. The ultimate goal for the child’s intellectual development is that he shall have an eager curiosity for knowledge, rich and creative imagination and sound habits of concentration and study.”


“The fundamental aim of the whole program is to help each child build the self-confidence which enables him to relish life in the present and be prepared to meet fearlessly whatever the future may hold.”

discover more countryschool.net


“our mission is the

statement on which all else stands. It is core to who we have been, who we are and who we always will be.” —Aaron Cooper, Head of School

1962: “Scholastic work is thorough,


meeting the requirements of the most demanding secondary schools. But the school life is a rounded one and includes a wealth of interests, activities, and outlets for creative ability. The fundamental aim of the whole program is to help each child fulfill his own potential, and grow in self-confidence, in a sense of community with his fellows, and in faith in the power of goodness.” NEW CANAAN COUNTRY SCHOOL BULLETIN • Winter 2021

1984: “The fundamental goal of the school is to stimulate and guide each student towards the realization of his or her intellectual, creative, physical and moral potential. At the same time, in order to promote a shared purpose of social responsibility, NCCS is committed to the nurturing of human relationships and to the experience of service in the larger community.”

To learn more about our mission and values, please visit: www.countryschool.net/mission

1995: “The fundamental goal of the school is to

stimulate and guide each student towards understanding and attaining his or her intellectual, creative, physical and moral potential. Working in partnership with families, NCCS is committed to nurturing human relationships, developing personal and social responsibility, embracing diversity in all its forms, and encouraging community service. The school values childhood as an integral part of life, to be lived fully and happily, and believes that each child should develop a lifelong curiosity for knowledge, rich and creative imagination, and sound habits of concentration and study.”

2007: “The mission of New Canaan Country School is to guide students to reach their intellectual, creative, moral, and physical potential. We value the imagination and curiosity of children and respect childhood as an integral part of life. Our teachers set high academic standards and challenge students to question, to think, to collaborate, and to act with integrity. The school works in partnership with families to teach personal, social, and environmental responsibility and to create a community that honors diversity and our common humanity. New Canaan Country School inspires students to be lifelong learners with the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world.” discover more countryschool.net


We Are Cougar Opening School with Optimism & Creativity By Brooke Arthur, Director of Marketing & Communications

Of course, the changes were immediately apparent. Parents could no longer walk students into the Thacher or Welles build-

As schools around the world adjusted to their “new normal,”

ings, instead dropping them off at the curb to be greeted by

Country School began its planning over the summer — as

the friendly and welcoming (masked) faces of their teachers.

always — with the simple question: What is best for children?

The beloved Lower School “Friday high five” carline greeting

What has happened since has been quite a feat. After

transformed into Friday afternoon (socially distanced) dance

hundreds of hours spent reimagining physical spaces, adjusting

parties with the Cougar. Students had to reorient to buildings

lesson plans and daily schedules, building out digital course

that had been divided differently, with certain sections assigned

pages, conducting professional development training sessions,

to specific grades or new purposes. Students lined up for lunch

and making adjustments to nearly every aspect of school life,

outside the Dining Hall, and inside, the tables were separated by

the front gates opened, cars lined the drive, and school opened

plexiglass, making lunch conversation a bit more challenging. All

in September just as it always does with the joyful sounds of

around campus clusters of tree stumps and benches dotted the

children filling the air.

landscape as outdoor classrooms emerged in new and familiar

1. Kayla Mouzon during fifth grade writing • 2. Upper School Science Teacher Scott Lilley and seventh grade Life Science students



Strong & Safe spaces. But the hum and vibrancy of campus were the same. “It has truly been remarkable,” said Head of School Aaron Cooper. “Every day I see students laughing, playing, leaning into their learning, being stretched and challenged in all the right ways … just as they always have. It has not been easy — particularly for teachers — but the fact that we are able to keep showing up for our students in the way that we have is truly something to celebrate. This is what keeps me getting up in the morning,

Thank you to our Health, Wellness & Operations Leadership Teams

and I know the same is true for my colleagues.” One of the biggest worries teachers had was just how much wearing masks would affect their ability to connect with students.


To start the school year, the Health & Wellness Team held a community health slogan contest. The winning entry below was submitted by the Greig family.

Courageous Original United Giving Awesome Resilient Strong 2


“I was pleasantly surprised that the mask was not terrible

mixing all continued to capture the

to wear all day,” said Middle School World Languages Teacher

curiosity of the children amidst the

Abby Cali. “I mean, it’s not great, but it’s not the torture I

warm breezes and migrating birds.

thought it was going to be!”

The annual Of Mice and Men mock trial

“Even with masks, you can hear a laugh and see students’

relocated to the Grace House terrace.

eyes crinkle as they smile,” said Grade 6 Teacher Brooke Kelly.

Art classes were held on the Stevens Lawn.

“I feared that school might feel rigid, and that all of the safety

While some lesson plans required only small

rules, though so crucial and appreciated, would detract from

adjustments or a change of scenery, some needed a total

interpersonal interaction.”

overhaul, particularly where it came to group work and teams.

Even the youngest students in Beginners adapted easily.

Because of the risk of aerosol transmission, music classes that

Drawing on their creativity, teachers found ways to make

previously concentrated on singing became focused on rhythm

physical distancing fun (“Eagle arms!”) and to help students stay

and drumming. Sports lessons were designed for individual skill

safe while still having fun. As always, Early Childhood Science

development to limit physical interaction. In science and the

Teacher Cyndi Vitti found that real life often suggests the

arts, teachers created individual materials kits.

best lesson plans, and added to her Kindergarten life science

In order to maintain a strict “cohort” for a week at a time,

curriculum the book Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes.

Early Childhood specials teachers alternated teaching one

“We learned that there are millions of microbes in our world,

grade at a time in person and the other virtually. They would

many in and on our body. Most are helpful, but there are

Zoom in from another location on campus and be projected


ways that we can protect ourselves from ones that might be harmful,” she said. “They really understood the importance of the part they played in keeping the community healthy.”


While connecting with nature has always been part of the Country School philosophy, the beautiful 75 acres has perhaps never been as well loved as this fall. The weather agreed and most days the doors to every building were flung wide open. Yoga mats sprinkled the campus as students enjoyed snack, lunch or a math lesson al fresco. Groups of students were continuously skipping or strolling on nature walks. Outdoor classrooms popped up on tree stumps and well-placed benches all across the school grounds. The Early Childhood Exploratory

3. Physical Education students including third grader Kate

Lab took up a location in a shady spot in front of the Thacher

Regan played no-touch sports • 4. Kindergarten Teacher

Building, where the wind tunnel, ramps, chickens and color

Darby Webber and Tully Newport • 5. Woodshop Teacher Chris Lawler and fifth grade students


“Even with masks, you can hear a laugh and see students’ eyes crinkle as they smile.” —Grade 6 Teacher Brooke Kelly



We are committed to fulfilling our promise to our students and families of a high-quality and uniquely NCCS academic experience under any circumstances. To ensure a safe return to campus, the school has incurred significant financial costs not covered by our Annual Fund, which to date have

Cougar Strong & Safe

The Cost of COVID-19

amounted to $1.5 million invested primarily in the following areas:

Staffing: To maintain low density in each classroom, the school hired several additional teachers and distance

We #GoBrightly at NCCS! “Magical” is how visitors described campus Jan. 6

learning coaches and expanded the Health Office Team.

with over a thousand paper bag luminaries aglow.

Physical spaces: Upgrades throughout

Thank you to the more than 250 members of our

campus included enhancements to the

community who made gifts ranging from $5 to $50,000

HVAC system, new desks and retrofitting

during our December Light the Way Annual Fund

of rooms to accommodate physical

campaign in honor of faculty and staff who every day

distancing, installation of plexiglass, and

illuminate the lives of our students. Altogether, more

a tent to expand the dining area.

than $400,000 was contributed toward our Annual Fund. We are deeply grateful for every gift.

Technology: To support the growing use of academic technology, both on and off campus, the school increased its

onto a screen with the support of an apprentice teacher. It felt a little strange at first, they reported, but it went better than they expected, and the students did not seem to mind engaging with their teachers in this way. Teachers spent much of the summer planning for the potential that some or all of their students might need to engage with school from home for short or long periods of time. Adjusting to teaching some students on campus and others joining remotely would take some creativity and resourcefulness. During the sixth grade social studies Machiavelli debates, Ms. Kelly’s class was divided into four teams to debate the meaning of two quotes: “It’s better to be feared than loved” and “The ends justify the means.” At this point in the year, three students were joining from a distance so they formed a virtual team. While the rest of the class met with their teams, strategized, and wrote their debates, the virtual team met daily via Zoom to do the same. On the day of the debate, the class iPad was projected onto the SmartTV and the rest of the class was

video conferencing and AV capabilities across campus, updated and added equipment, and provided training for all faculty and staff.

Financial Aid: To ensure that our students can continue to access our program, our Office of Enrollment Management & Financial Aid issued emergency financial assistance to families in need.

Transportation: To meet physical distancing guidelines, the school leased an additional bus and added a bus route. Your Annual Fund contributions help us cover the costs of COVID-19 as well as enhance each student’s NCCS experience. Annual Fund details may be found on page 34.

able to see the virtual presenters. “This was a particularly impressive feat, as the debate is a highly interactive activity,” said Ms. Kelly. “Not only did the virtual team give their prepared sections of the debate, but they engaged with their opponent in a cross-examination, where they

Visit www.countryschool.net/give to make your gift today. Thank you!

had to discuss with each other and think on the spot!”



Upper School Learning Resources Teacher Lacey Ramsey links an iPad to her computer as a whiteboard to share examples and model annotating. It is projected onto the SmartTV in her classroom and also via Zoom to reach her students joining online.

7 8

When the seventh grade switched to distance learning with no “set up” days, “they immediately showed up on Zoom and carried themselves as if they were sitting in a classroom,” said Mrs. Ramsey. “Work was done and learning occurred with little to no complaining. Sometimes I think they are more flexible than we are!” “Glitches with technology no longer panic students,” said Lower School Distance Learning Coach Shannon Faella. “They wait patiently for others to unfreeze, seek out better Wi-Fi signals, and they monitor the battery life of their iPads all with smiles on their faces.” What will be the big takeaways from this unusual year? “It’s probably too soon to know all of the specifics, but it will undoubtedly transform education for the future. What I think it has shown us already is that we have what it takes to meet any challenge we face with optimism and creativity, and I hope that is the lesson our students will take away from this time as well,” said Mr. Cooper.

“Work was done and learning occurred with little to no complaining. Sometimes I think they are more flexible than we are!” —Upper School Learning Resources Teacher Lacey Ramsey 6. Evren Gokgol-Kline works on a pen and ink watercolor in an outdoor classroom • 7. Caroline Bilden and Grade 3 Teacher Julie Porter • 8. Middle Schoolers play four-square at recess

The Importance of Connection The Parents’ Association set out to express gratitude to the teachers with a surprise gift nearly every six weeks. The first was an NCCS-themed mask and a custom cookie with a note that read “We simply couldn’t mask our gratitude for you.” Next was the second annual pre-Thanksgiving Pie Day with a fresh-baked pie for each faculty and staff member to bring home. They have also been coming up with creative ways to keep families and parents connected. The annual “PJs & Pizza,” held virtually this year, was wildly popular, with more than 130 NCCS and Horizons families logging on to hear stories read aloud by some of their favorite teachers and play bingo from the comfort of their homes. For more on Parents’ Association community-building activities, please see pages 28–31.

Penelope Arredondo (on left) joined Co-Chairs Liz Arredondo and Lisa Pannone who handed out goodie bags filled with masks and cookies to all faculty and staff.



“Even when we cannot be on campus as we have in the past, we still think it is important for our sense of community to maintain these points of connection.” —Liz Keogh, PA President

Cougar Strong & Safe

Game On!


New Athletics & Wellness Center Opens At the start of the school year, we opened the doors to our spectacular Athletics & Wellness Center, and the building has already had a tremendous impact on our students, teachers and coaches. Wellness and physical education programs will continue to grow and thrive in this new space for decades to come. Students across all grade levels have been enjoying the spacious new gym for physical education classes and indoor sports training — and while we cannot use it fully as intended yet due to the current situation with COVID-19, we are thankful that many of the spaces have allowed us to have our campus completely open. The space


that will eventually serve as our new Fitness Center has been


converted into a temporary music classroom, and the fields storage area has been turned into a great, light-filled art studio. This new home for athletics and PE at Country School — and this new gathering space for our entire community — would not have been possible without the generous support of our early Capital Campaign donors. We are grateful to the more than 150 parents, alumni, parents of alumni, and current and former faculty and staff who have helped the school raise more than $18 million to date. We look forward to continuing to work together with the entire community to support this effort, and to support the innovative, active and joyful programs that will take place inside the new building. There are still opportunities to name spaces within the Athletics & Wellness Center, and there are many opportunities to help beautify our campus by supporting the landscaping around the new building. Gifts to the campaign can also help to support Country School’s endowment. Come see the new Athletics & Wellness Center for yourself! We continue to offer tours of the new building, and we hope you will join us. For more information or to learn more about the

9. Athletics & Wellness Center rear view • 10. The George Gym in action • 11. Jane Walsh and Alina Harned during Upper School squash practice

Capital Campaign, please contact Senior Director of Advancement Ryan Smith at (203) 801-5633 or rsmith@countryschool.net, or visit www.countryschool.net/boldlyforward.

To take a virtual tour of the building, please visit: www.countryschool.net/athletics discover more countryschool.net


Health Team Goes Above and Beyond The New Canaan Country School Health Office Team has been instrumental in the school’s ability to manage the impact of COVID-19 this past year. Their expertise coupled with fortitude and patience has allowed Country School to open safely and remain open throughout the fall. In collaboration with town and state officials, the Health Office Team worked closely with the school’s administration to provide guidance regarding COVID-19 procedures and best practices. In addition, they have spent countless hours counseling school families, faculty and staff members, in groups and individually, about everything from the basics of proper hygiene, physical distancing and mask-wearing to the physical and emotional complexities of living and learning safely in a pandemic time. Trained by the Johns Hopkins University in contact tracing, the Health Office Team works with local health departments to implement quarantine protocols. Like the rest of us, they could never have predicted the ways in which COVID-19 would affect our lives. Thanks to them, however, we have been able to weather this storm with confidence and steadiness.

Beth Lenhard P ’26, ’27, School Nurse: Mrs. Lenhard has

Josh Ziac ’86, P ’15,’17, Director of Safety and Security:

been a nurse for 17 years, primarily at Stamford Hospital

Mr. Ziac, an alumnus, has worked at NCCS for 20 years in

specializing in cardiac/critical care nursing. She joined

a variety of roles. In addition, he works for the Greenwich

NCCS two years ago. “As intense as this year has been,

and Stamford Emergency Medical Services both as a field

it has reminded me exactly why I chose this career —

emergency medical technician and instructor. “Spring 2020

to support others with the knowledge and skills I have

was definitely the most challenging time of my career

in every way, shape and form, physically, mentally,

in EMS, a career which began in Boston during the

emotionally. Generally, most people want to be as far

early days of the AIDS epidemic. So much was unknown

away from illness as possible. Healthcare workers,

and so many people were getting sick. The process of

however, feel the need to be right in the middle of

getting the school ready to be safe during COVID-19,

things, doing our part to try to make any part of a

while an extraordinary amount of work, was a source of

situation better.”

hope and comfort, and the relationships that were built within our Health and Operations Teams will be ones that I will carry and cherish for the rest of my life. The work we accomplished will be something that will be a source of pride for years to come.”

Country School Community Participates in Local Response Efforts Thank you to all the members of our NCCS community who have worked tirelessly with local organizations to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing needed food supplies and health and educational services to vulnerable populations in the area. We salute your efforts on the front lines — and in supporting organizations that are making a big impact here in Fairfield County.



foresight of Sue and Cam Mackey, P ’21, ’22, ’24, ’27, who

While COVID-19 has been diffi-

provided the founding gift. The objective of the Family and

cult for everyone, the Horizons

Emergency Fund is to provide urgent emergency financial

community has experienced

assistance to our families, and since March we have provided

disproportionately high levels

more than $20,000 in emergency financial assistance.

of illness, hospitalization, loss

During this time period, Horizons also purchased and distrib-

of life and financial hardship. Horizons at NCCS remains

uted $162,628 worth of grocery gift cards, with our dollars

committed to providing our students and families with

being stretched by a generous discount offered by ShopRite.

certainty in a time of uncertainty. The incredibly generous

“We are grateful to our donors and to the entire NCCS

families of NCCS and our donors have contributed over

community for the generosity and caring you have shown

$72,000 to our Family Emergency Fund since the begin-

during this incredibly challenging time,” said Executive

ning of the COVID-19 crisis. The Family Emergency Fund

Director of Horizons Nancy von Euler. “You have demon-

was established three years ago thanks to the wisdom and

strated what it means to be a community.”


Cougar Strong & Safe

Melissa Ryan-Knowlton, Josh Ziac ’86, Rachel Kulig and Beth Lenhard

Melissa Ryan-Knowlton, Athletic Trainer: Mrs. RyanKnowlton has been an athletic trainer for more than 18 years in various settings including public high schools, colleges and club organizations. She joined the Country School community in 2012 as its first athletic trainer. “The pandemic has taught me that I am part of a profession that can easily adjust to the demands of what

Rachel Kulig, Health and Safety Assistant:

the community needs. While it’s unfortunate that sports

Ms. Kulig is a firefighter/EMT-B with the Sound Beach

can’t be what it is traditionally, I’m proud that we have

Volunteer Fire Department in Old Greenwich. She

adjusted our programs and allowed our students to be

joined the NCCS Health Team this year. “Being a

physically active while being safe. This is so important

first responder during the COVID-19 pandemic

for the mental and physical health of children. We have

has been really difficult, but has allowed me to

an amazing group of multidisciplinary co-workers in the

create even stronger bonds with my co-workers

Health Office and Wellness Team — I learn from them

who are having similar experiences as me. I’m

every single day as we all navigate this together.”

really grateful for that.”



Americares saves

Person-to-Person (P2P) is a non-profit

lives and improves

agency dedicated to providing

health for people affected by poverty or disaster and is

individuals and families with essential

responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in 26 countries and all

resources to help them overcome daily challenges and put

50 states, providing critically needed protective gear, training

them on a path toward economic stability. P2P serves 28,000

and mental health support for frontline health workers.

residents in Fairfield County with the following programs:

Here in Connecticut, the Americares Free Clinics (located in

three food pantries (Darien, Norwalk, Stamford), clothing

Norwalk, Stamford, Bridgeport and Danbury) remain a vital

center, caseworker assistance, emergency financial assistance,

resource for people in our communities, providing quality

and scholarships/camperships. Established in 1968, P2P serves

health care to nearly 3,000 low-income, uninsured patients.

the communities of Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. Learn more at p2pHelps.org.

Key Staff & Volunteers: • Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 (Leadership Council) • Anita Cobb (Leadership

• Tracy and Joe Merrill (Leadership Council) P ’03, ’05, ’08, ’10

Council & Clinics Volunteer) • Cary Potter (Leadership P ’98, ’03, ’05, ’05 • Dean Maglaris (Emeritus Board) P ’99, ’00 • Diana Maguire (Staff) P ’04, ’05, ’09

Council) P ’08, ’11, ’15 • Megin Wolfman (Staff) P ’23, ’25 • Melissa Woolford (Staff) P ’05, ’06, ’08, ’11

Key Staff & Volunteers: • Jackie Elliman Leonard ’78 (Board Member), P ’09, ’11, ’14 • Jen Kline (Volunteer), P ’25, ’27 • Katie McCormick (Volunteer), P ’24, ’27

• Mike Riccardi (Board Chair), P ’17, ’20, ’25 • Lauren Ryder (Volunteer), P ’26 • Mindy Stewart (Volunteer), P ’21, ’24 • Elizabeth Thompson (Staff), P ’18, ’21 discover more countryschool.net


A Salute to Our Local First Responders We honor all the members of the Country School community who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including several who serve as emergency medical technicians locally in New Canaan and the surrounding towns. Like so many first responders worldwide, these local responders have sacrificed their personal comfort and time with family, all while risking their own health, to serve our community. Indeed, they exemplify the words of our mission and are leading “lives of impact and purpose.” We thank them for their service:

Casey Everett, P ’22, ’26: Casey has been a volunteer EMT with the New Canaan EMS for the past five years. “As a lifelong resident of New Canaan, I want to make a tangible difference in our community. We see most patients and their families on one of the worst days of their lives. To be able to help our patients or to console their families gives me a reward beyond measure. My middle daughter was born with multiple medical and cognitive special needs. Through my journey with her, I increased my knowledge specific to the wide range of needs of babies born with congenital abnormalities so I could be her best advocate and help other families. Emergency medicine was a natural next step as I thought about how to fulfill my own desires and interests.”

Gwen Golden, P ’22, ’26: Gwen became a volunteer for the New Canaan Emergency Medical Services in February 2020, as the pandemic was entering the state. She has a degree in medical/social anthropology and a master’s in public health. Her primary areas of focus have been HIV/AIDS research, disease prevention and health education. Her work as an EMT is her first foray into clinical health work. “It is a privilege to apply my public health background and EMS training to help our community during this uncertain time. I strive to bring kindness, understanding and compassion to each call in hopes of having a positive impact on the health and wellness of my patients. I love the sense of purpose and community I gain from serving alongside my fellow first responders, and every day on the ambulance expands my knowledge and empathy.”

Troy Haynie ’82: Troy has been a volunteer with the New Canaan Emergency Medical Services since 1994. He has held various administrative positions including Captain, currently held by NCCS parent Bonnie Rumilly, and is now serving as the First Lieutenant. “I was one of the 15 EMTs from New Canaan that responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. It was surreal and scary. However, 9/11 was one night and day. COVID has been months of the same emotions. The fear of working in the pandemic comes from all of the unknowns of the virus and how it has affected people in such different ways. Hearing about some patients coming home and some patients that have died has been tough. The reward is knowing that I was able to be there to help people through this historic period.”



EMT with the New Canaan Emergency Medical Services and North Canaan Ambulance Corps. “I trained and started working as an EMT pre-pandemic because I’m interested in a career in medicine and emergency management. The work has changed with COVID-19: We need additional equipment and PPE (personal protection equipment) to respond to calls, the stress is higher, and there is an elevated risk for all healthcare workers and first responders. It’s rewarding in many ways, though, and I’m grateful for the privilege to learn and make a

Cougar Strong & Safe

Jack Johnson ’18: Jack, is a junior at Hotchkiss School, and since 2019, a volunteer

difference during the biggest public health event of my lifetime!”

Alec Montgomery, P ’10, ’13, ’16: Alec, a self-described “retired Metro-North commuter” began volunteering with NCEMS in mid-2019, months before the pandemic began in early 2020. “The early days of the pandemic were the most stressful. In addition to being a relatively novice EMT, I remember being particularly worried about the risk of running out of PPE and our local hospitals getting overwhelmed — risks that were completely out of my control and fortunately have not come to pass — yet. With or without the COVID crisis, this has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience for me, and my hope, and impression, is that COVID has increased much-needed public awareness and appreciation for all first responders.”

Neil Nair ’04: Neil, a police officer in Darien, obtained his Beginners EMT Certification in 2007 and his Advanced EMT certification in 2009. He worked as an EMT before joining Darien’s services in 2016. “I’ve spent the last third of my life dedicated to public service. During that time, the communities I’ve served have faced a variety of challenges, the most recent being COVID-19. Our job as first responders has never changed: adapt, recalibrate, and execute our task to safely and effectively serve the public.”

Bonnie Rumilly, P ’27: Bonnie has been a member of New Canaan Emergency Medical Services since 2000, when she was 17 years old. She now serves as Captain of the team. “This is also not my first difficult situation in EMS. When I was 19 years old, I responded to NYC on 9/11 with 14 of my fellow New Canaan EMTs. I have lived through the post-9/11 changes in our world and EMS. I have felt a personal drive to work through the COVID-19 pandemic to model for others that we will get through this. I also want my daughter Courtney, an NCCS third grader, to see that I am not afraid to face difficult situations in our life or our world. I believe working on the ambulance at this time is modeling for her that it is important to sacrifice self for others and for the greater good of humanity.”

Catherine Ziac ’17: Catherine, a freshman at the University of Vermont, has been a volunteer EMT and CPR instructor with Greenwich Emergency Medical Services for the past four years. “Four years ago, when I was spending every Monday and Thursday night studying to become an EMT, I didn’t think there would be a day when PPE would be an acronym known by everyone. My parents are both medical professionals working with COVID-19 patients regularly. When I left for college, I expected my parents to worry about me, but what surprised me was how much I worried about them. Thankfully, PPE is not new to us and neither is treating patients. This pandemic has pushed me in unexpected ways, but it has also made me more confident in myself and my ability to work through stressful situations. Although this year has been one of our most challenging, I have never been more proud to be the daughter of a nurse and an EMT.”

discover more countryschool.net



This Is Your Moment Both the one you will remember more clearly than all others and the one that galvanizes you to action.” —Aaron Cooper, Head of School



Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Country School’s 2020 Closing Exercises were held outdoors on the football field with only Upper School faculty and ninth grade families in attendance (in designated “tailgate-style” parking spots). Despite — or perhaps because of — the unique circumstances, it was an extraordinary celebration. The following are remarks made by Head of School Aaron Cooper to the Class of 2020.

I am proud and overjoyed



and a little, well, a little overcome to be here with you today. So welcome, Class of 2020. Welcome to your parents and siblings and family members who have packed into your car with you. Welcome to your friends and loved ones who join on the livestream, hopefully safe and healthy wherever you are. Welcome to our Upper School faculty who are here; welcome to our other faculty who lined the processional and now watch this from over that rock wall over there. Welcome to other members of the Class of 2020 who join to celebrate you, their former classmates. And welcome to all our other friends, colleagues and community members who join to watch virtually today. We are all here together to celebrate you, Class of 2020, and to mark this most important and unique moment in time. You have finally made it, and I am delighted to celebrate this moment with you. Today, as a closing exercise, we celebrate and we also reflect. Just like the title of our yearbooks, Beginners’ End, we mark time here at this milestone as the end of a beginning and the beginning of a next. We celebrate your growth and your achievements and who you are and what you will do.



“As I have said many times over the years, choosing Country School for our family was the best life-changing decision that my wife, Claire, and I have ever made. It is truly a special place. On behalf of all of us — Claire, and our children Brandon ’12, Kyle ’13, Carolina ’17 and Cece, I thank you all for 18 wonderful years.” —Randy Salvatore, President, Board of Trustees, 2017–2020

Opposite Page. Rett Zeigler (with parents Eric and Stephanie Bowling Zeigler ’81) waved to members of the faculty and staff lining the route of the 2020 Closing Exercises car parade. 1. Ravi and Riya Punjabi, Sonia Gidwani 2. Megan Mitchell 3. Kyle ’13, Claire, Cece, Randy, Carolina ’17 and Brandon ’12 Salvatore 4. Maren Frey delivered the Class Salutation in which she welcomed those in attendance, acknowledging the unique circumstance in which the program was taking place — socially distanced in a semi-circle of automobiles around a podium on one of the school’s athletic fields. “We are a class that has been brought together in ways none of us could have ever imagined,” she said. discover more countryschool.net


And we reflect on all you have experienced and all we have gone through together. For now is not the time for the standard advice you often hear at graduations. Stand up for what you believe. Find your voice and use it often. Dare to be all you can be. Err in the direction of kindness. Live with life. Be courageous. Etc. Now, to be clear, all of that advice is valuable. I believe in it, and I imagine you do too. I have even built previous graduation speeches around themes like those. I am sure I will do so again. But not this year. No, this year we have faced too much together. We


have been shut into our homes trying to do our part to

Country School did a spectacular job

keep people healthy for months, and in the last several weeks, we have grieved and marched and debated and reflected and discussed the role of systemic racism in

honoring the ninth grade today and I hope everyone involved feels proud. The speeches, the vision, communication, the last-minute change to allow the kids to sit together, it all reflects a massive amount of care and concern, along with smart and nimble leadership and teamwork. So Country School, BRAVO! It was perfect in every way, and it was so incredibly special for us and for our family who watched from Massachusetts and Arizona.”—The LeBaron Family

our country as we have seen too many black Americans killed and harassed. You are living history, right now. You are experiencing this. And you are shining through and bringing your truest and best selves during this as you so often do. So today, I will talk about you. For I believe that you have inside of you, already, the wherewithal to make a difference. I have learned a lot about you, particularly this spring. And I want to share some of what I have learned. Let’s start, as we do any good day, with breakfast. I learned that you like routine. Even as you have had more time for breakfast than when school is in session, one of you spoke for others by sharing: ‘My breakfast is the same; I have been eating oatmeal every day for two years and I don’t intend to change now.’ I learned that you like variety. In terms of music, you told me that you like country, 2000s pop, show tunes, lesser-known rap artists, pop when it is not overplayed, and movie soundtracks. Can you imagine a Class of 2020 playlist given that variety?! Yikes. My head would be spinning. I learned that you like connecting. You told me about 6





your favorite places on campus. You mentioned the



stairwells with the painted bricks in Stevens, the Library, the Alumni Commons, the wood shop, the locker rooms, several individual classrooms in Stevens and the cafeteria, especially at snack time. You also mentioned many outdoor spots — Kyle’s Court, the pond outside Mrs. Clemenza’s office, the picnic tables outside the dining hall, the soccer field, the baseball field, and generally, anywhere you can pet a dog. But more than the places, you shared your memories of being there with others. And I learned about your deeper qualities. In sharing the lessons you are taking with you as you graduate, you told us: • NCCS taught you to think outside the box and that all problems can be solved if you try hard enough.


• That you learned to always have an open-mind and to be accepting of everyone. • The value of teamwork and that the best memories are not determined by what you are doing, but by who you are doing them with. • NCCS really made school about learning and gaining an understanding of the world rather than just getting good grades and passing tests. • You’ve learned to take every chance you get. • You have learned how important it is to be confident in learning. NCCS truly lives up to its motto of being a risk-taking, mistake-making community. I have never been judged for answering a question incorrectly and this freedom has allowed me to grow as a person. I have also learned that it is possible to turn almost any situation into a positive one.

5. Brooke, Alexandra ’17, Katie, Emma ’18 and Sloane LeBaron 6. Molly, Henry, Ashley, Alex and Elise Scott 7. Daisy Fichthorn 8. Benjamin ’15, Nick ’17, Luke, Elizabeth and Peter Sosnow 9. Huett and Vivian Nelson 10. Sasha and Cassie Coughlin 11. Jasper Engle 12. Cassie Warren 13. Ryland Strine 14. Members of the Zeigler, Warren, Scott and Strine families observed the proceedings from the comfort of cars and pickup trucks at the socially distanced, outdoor ceremony.


13 14

“Thank you for all of your hard work to make today special for the ninth grade students and their families. It seriously exceeded all of my expectations! It was incredibly special and memorable in all of the best ways, which is exactly what we hoped for!”—The Strine Family


“I am speechless. Closing Exercises were spectacular in every way and exceeded my highest expectations. You and your team TRULY went above and beyond to give these kids and families a day to remember. I have not felt this kind of happiness, despite the tears, which were happy tears, in a while! It was perfect and I know it took months, weeks and hours to plan. I have said before and I will say it again, we are SO incredibly lucky and thank goodness we have a few more years there with our youngest!!!”—The Herdeg Family

• NCCS has prepared you with the confidence to speak up, advocate for yourself and to persevere with a positive attitude. • You have learned many lessons at NCCS:


to be kind, to love to learn, but most importantly, to be yourself.

Three of our 2020 graduates are children of alumni: Kent Findlay ’80, Stephanie Bowling Zeigler ’81 and Cara Burnham Herdeg ’86.

• NCCS gave you the self-confidence to stand up for yourself and for the world. • Over the last 12 years, Country School has taught you to be a curious student, an engaged participant, a thoughtful classmate and a confident person who is ready for any challenge. In your own words, what incredible introspection and wisdom. Altogether, I learned that your interests, your beliefs, your personalities, the lessons you have gleaned, even your breakfast foods — they are so different. And yet you are bound by many similar qualities, and you have


shown those over and over.


In the passionate way you debate real issues — with

What a splendid day! How lucky

were we (parents and graduates) to get such a relaxed, joyful event!! The ‘Tailgate Graduation,’ as it has been dubbed, really put the country in Country School and will be a special memory for years to come. I loved it.”—Kent Findlay ’80 19




respect and openness even in the face of disagreement. In the way you defend one another and stand up for one another and pick one another up when they are down. In the way you laugh and play. In your indomitable spirit, filled with conviction and élan. And, frankly, in the way you worked this spring, showing up for class, completing your work, staying engaged and interested, even though you had many reasons not to — after all,





23 25

15. Ben Herdeg presented the Class Reflection. “We’re defined by so much more than our unexpectedly different spring,” he said. “Each person in this grade brings something different to the table — whether that’s humor, compassion, spirit or confidence, it’s equally valued and visible to anyone. All our traits work so well together that we’ve grown closer and become better people because of it.” 16. Ben and Cara Burnham Herdeg ’86 17. Thatcher Findlay 18. Matt, Ellie, Tyler and Kirsten Rosolen 19. Darla and TJ Moody 20. Gracie and Ella Agulay. Gracie received the Gamble Award, which is presented to the student who exemplifies, to the highest measure, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 21. Beth, Mimi Sue, Annabelle, Keating and John Novak 22. Brayden and Curtis Hogue 23. Abby O’Brien 24. Liam, Garrett and Emma Cannon 25. Bob, Virginia and Fiona Burton 26. Emma ’15, Chris, Jackson, Lisa and Henry Alpaugh ’17 27. Charlie Gaynor strode across the field to take his place amongst the 37 ninth grade graduates.


“Thank you all for everything you did to celebrate the ninth grade students this year…. The signs, yearbook delivery, Blue & White Day T-shirts, Instagram posts — it was all fantastic! Graduation was the most wonderful day and we so appreciate all the planning and work that made it so special. Take care and we look forward to coming back to visit!” —The Alpaugh Family 27

More photos available www.countryschool.net discover more countryschool.net


“That ceremony was perfect in every way. In fact, having gone through two other graduations, I can confidently say that this one was even more special and appreciated than those in the past. It clearly took a lot of creativity, thoughtfulness… and sheer manpower to pull that off. It was spectacular.”—The Barnard Family


it was your last spring here, the world was turned on its head, and your grades were pass/fail. No one would have thought any less of you had you not been engaged, and we think so much more of you because you were. There is one more quality that binds you. When asked what you value most about your Country School experience, every one of you had variations on the same answer: the community. You spoke about your teachers, you spoke about your families and other students, and you particularly spoke about one another. 29

As one of you wrote, “I’m so glad I got to spend most of my childhood surrounded by people who are caring, welcoming and joyful.”




28. Jackson Alpaugh, Kate Barnard, Fiona Burton, Garrett Cannon and Sasha Coughlin 29. Emily ’16, Jennifer, Kate, David, and Kevin Barnard ’17 30. Annika Mannix 31. David, Payton and Sara Koch 32. Thomas, Matt and Courtney Edwards 33. Chelsea, Jud and William Staniar ’17 34. Eric, Sophie ’17 and Alanna Gribin, Maureen McBride 35. Jamie Staniar 36. Lilly Krongard 37. Christian and Calvin Jacob 38. Stephanie Bowling Zeigler ’81, Will Erdmann, Rett and Eric Zeigler. Rett received the Johansen Award, which is presented to the member of the graduating class who most exemplifies the qualities of care and concern for others, compassion and a sense of community.


So, you will leave here today as individuals bound by values and dispositions forged in your common experiences, and even though you will not be together as a group again, I know you will bring those values and that spirit to your next schools and communities and nurture similar atmospheres of respect, growth and leadership. See, you have everything it takes to persevere and overcome and thrive, no matter the circumstances. You have demonstrated that in every way this spring. And that is why this speech is about you. This may very well be your “moment.” Both the one you will remember more clearly than all others and the one that galvanizes you to action. For my grandfather, it was Pearl Harbor, and he — like so many others at the time — left his job as a minister in Steubenville, Ohio, to join an Army Air Force bomber squad as its chaplain. For my parents, it was JFK’s assassination, and it spurred them to focus on service. For my brother-in-law, it was the Challenger Space Shuttle exploding — when he


The Balsley and Salvatore families conclude 18 years at Country School. Also noteworthy are the Griffiths and Staniar families each with 15 years, the Zeigler family with 14 years, the Alpaugh, Gribin/McBride and Staber families with 13 years each, and the Barnard, Edwards and Strine families each with 12 years.







was in ninth grade, no less — and motivated to learn why that had happened, now he is an engineer at NASA who builds robots that install parts on the International Space Station. For me and many in my generation, it was September 11 and the conviction that grew inside of me at that time revolves around the importance of educating tomorrow’s leaders, which plays a big role in why I am here with you today. So, how will you be galvanized by this? Be yourselves. You have all that it takes inside of you. Make a differ-


ence. Follow your passions. Live with purpose. OK, maybe I did just fall into typical graduation advice there. But I believe it, and I believe in you. You have shown that you have everything it takes to live lives of impact and purpose, and that is what we ask. I cannot wait to see how you do that. Congratulations on graduating from NCCS and thank you for all you have given our community through your passion, your talents, your desire, your leadership and your courage, these past three months and these past

The spirited, fun and somewhat more casual quality felt warm

and more community-based somehow. Maybe it was seeing all the names and families gathered — whatever it was — it was a great day.”—Stephanie Bowling Zeigler ’81

12 years. Good luck and thank you.” discover more countryschool.net


Best of Luck! Class of 2020 Secondary School Destinations Gracie Agulay. . . . . . . . . . . ........................ Rye Country Day School Jackson Alpaugh ���������������������������������� Westminster School Kate Barnard.. . . . . . . . . . ......................... Greens Farms Academy Fiona Burton.. . . . . . . . . . . ......................... Greens Farms Academy

Mac Ryan

Garrett Cannon ��������������� Fairfield College Preparatory School Sasha Coughlin. . . . . . . . . ............... Greenwich Country Day School


Matt Edwards �������������������������������������������� The Taft School

Class of 2021 Destinations

Jasper Engle ���������������������������������������������� The Taft School

While 35 students returned for ninth grade, 27 members of

Daisy Fichthorn ������������������������������������� Deerfield Academy

the 2019–2020 eighth grade class departed for the following

Thatcher Findlay.. . . . . . ....................... New Canaan High School

secondary school destinations:

Maren Frey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................. Miss Porter’s School

Ben Balsley. ........................... Greenwich Country Day School

Charlie Gaynor ���������������������������������������� Brunswick School

Tess Boosin. ......................................... Staples High School

Alanna Gribin �������������������������������������� Westhill High School

Katey Charnin ������������������������������������������ St. Luke’s School

Ben Herdeg.. . . . . . . . . . . . ............................The Hotchkiss School

Mackie Coffield ������������������������������������ Greenwich Academy

Brayden Hogue ����������������������������������������� Salisbury School

Tanvi DebNath ������������������������������������� Greenwich Academy

Calvin Jacob ����������������������������������������� St. George’s School

Kate Edwards ������������������������������������������� St. Luke’s School

Christian Jacob �������������������������������������� St. George’s School

Andrew Ferretti �������������������������������������������� Loyola School

Payton Koch.. . . . . . . . . . . ....................... New Canaan High School

Luke Frame. ................................... New Canaan High School

Lilly Krongard ������������������������������������������ St. Luke’s School

Elsa Franks. ....................................... Choate Rosemary Hall

Katie LeBaron ������������������������������������������ St. Luke’s School

Bailey Gendason. ..................... Greenwich Country Day School

Annika Mannix ������������������������������������� Miss Porter’s School

Izzy Goldberg ����������������������������������������������� Lauralton Hall

Megan Mitchell ��������������������������������� Choate Rosemary Hall

Sloane Griffiths. .............................. New Canaan High School

Darla Moody.. . . . . . . . . . . ..................... Phillips Academy Andover

Elizabeth Hackett ���������������������������� Rye Country Day School

TJ Moody.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..................... Phillips Academy Andover

Riley Johnson �������������������������������������������� Tabor Academy

Huett Nelson ������������������������������������������� St. Luke’s School

Alice Nash. ................................ Brien McMahon High School

Mimi Sue Novak ������������������������������������ Greenwich Academy

Annabelle Novak ����������������������������������� Darien High School

Abby O’Brien.. . . . . . . . . . ......................... Greens Farms Academy

Cyrus Pearson ������������������������������������������ St. Luke’s School

Riya Punjabi. . . . . . . . . . . . . ............... Greenwich Country Day School

Maisy Ricciardelli ���������������������������������������� The Taft School

Tyler Rosolen. . . . . . . . . . . ............... Greenwich Country Day School

Jack Rosenberg. ...................... Greenwich Country Day School

Mac Ryan ������������������������������������������������� St. Paul’s School

Ethan Schubert. .............................. New Canaan High School

Cece Salvatore ������������������������������������������� The Taft School

Sophia Sotirhos. .............................. New Canaan High School

Henry Scott ����������������������������������������������� The Taft School

Jeren Staber ����������������������������������������� The Masters School

Luke Sosnow �������������������������������������������� Millbrook School

Malcolm Stewart �������������������������������������� St. Luke’s School

Jamie Staniar ��������������������������������������� Westminster School

Lola Triay ������������������������������������������������ St. Luke’s School

Ryland Strine.. . . . . . . . . . ................. Sun Valley Community School

Robert Walker ���������������������������������������������� Blair Academy

Cassie Warren ������������������������������������������ St. Luke’s School

Ethan Yoo ���������������������������������������������� Brunswick School

Rett Zeigler.. . . . . . . . . . . . ............................The Hotchkiss School

Rheda Young ������������������������������������������� St. Luke’s School

See page 41 for Class of 2017 college destinations NEW CANAAN COUNTRY SCHOOL BULLETIN • Winter 2021

,I m Ready... Congratulations, Class of 2020!

For more than 100 years, Country School has provided an intentional journey that balances strong academic preparation with social-emotional development for children age 3 through Grade 9. The result is alumni who are confident leaders and bold thinkers who are prepared to continue to their next school and beyond.

“What I value most about my time at Country School is the relationship I had with my teachers. They are my heroes.” —Jamie Staniar attends Westminster School

“The most important lesson I learned at Country School is to never be afraid to speak up or use your voice.”

“I’ve learned to never stop persevering no matter what situation you are in.” —Riya Punjabi attends Greenwich Country Day School

“Country School really made school about learning and gaining an understanding of the world rather than just getting good grades and passing tests.” —Jasper Engle attends The Taft School

“I’ve learned to take every chance I get.”

“It’s not a bad thing to ask questions or for help sometimes.”

—Ben Herdeg attends Hotchkiss School

—Darla Moody attends Phillips Academy Andover

—Payton Koch attends New Canaan High School

Did you see us on social media? I’m Ready is an advertising campaign that runs each spring in local print and digital outlets. For more, please visit:

www.countryschool.net/2020 27 discover more countryschool.net

2020–2021 PA Executive Council Liz Keogh, President Gwen Golden, President-Elect Carina Calia, Treasurer Beth Gosk, Secretary Ashley Williams, VP, Communications Michelle Saldivar, VP, Community, Diversity & Inclusion Jen Kline, VP, Community Service Sonia O’Connor, VP, Volunteers

PA Committees & Events • Admission Ambassadors

The Parents’ Association had a busy fall despite the nontraditional school year. We found creative ways to build connections and show our gratitude to our wonderful faculty and staff, in addition to raising funds to directly benefit the school and participating in community service projects. We feel fortunate to have such a warm, engaged and generous parent community at NCCS!

• Annual Fund Ambassadors

• Campus Beautification

Holiday Cheer

• Class Representative Program

In addition to providing lovely centerpieces

• Annual Meeting & Dinner • Auction

• Community Service

and holiday cheer, the PA’s annual greenery

• Cougar Run

sale raises valued funds for the school’s

• Faculty & Staff Appreciation

tuition assistance program.

• Festival of Books • Frogtown Fair

1. Greenery Chair Becky Palmer and Vice Chair Deborah Majmudar prepared holiday greenery for pickup. 2. PA volunteers prepare greenery for delivery to NCCS families.

• Greenery • Host Family Program • Kyle A. Markes Day of Service • Logo — NCCS Spirit Wear • Nominating & Appointments • Mothers at Work • PA Coffees • PA Volunteer Fair • Parent Gatherings • Parent Talks • PJs & Pizza • Upper School Dinners



1 2

PA Brings the Spirit The Logo team hosted outdoor tent sales, providing a safe, socially distanced way for families to shop for NCCS spirit wear.

School Community Gathers Virtually for

Annual 5K Race Nearly 300 members of the school community participated in the annual Cougar Run 5K race, held virtually, Sept. 27 and 28. The friend-raising event involved students, faculty, 1



staff, alumni and parents. Individual participants logged their mileage along with photos and video clips on a Cougar Run Padlet shared amongst the school community. This was also the place for non-runners to offer encouragement, support and congratulations. “There was no shortage of Cougar pride as families ran, hiked, biked and swam the annual 5K,” said Maija Judelson


who co-chaired the event with Barbara Moody.


Prizes were awarded in multiple categories including most school spirit and best pet participation.

6 8


1. Congratulations to Oliver Johnson who ran the 5K in under 20 minutes, a personal record! 2. The Greig family 3. Dylan and Andrew Judelson completed their run in the mountains. 4. Aubry, Aidan and Amelia Grant 5. Rosie, Grade 5 Teacher Andrew, Arden and Cassie Bevan logged their Cougar Run mileage during a family hike. 6. The McCormick and Mannix families joined forces, biking and running. 7. The Moody family 8. The NCCS Cougar

Visit the Cougar Run padlet: padlet.com/pa364/tl4zom8rn68xv11v discover more countryschool.net


Festival of Books and PJs & Pizza Festival of Books Co-Chairs Shannon Kieske and Kari Davis organized an exciting and interactive weeklong celebration of literacy. Reimagined to be held virtually, it still included many of the traditional events that unite the school community. It also


included book talks in which Head of School Aaron Cooper discussed Range by David Epstein, and guest author Abdi Nor Iftin discussed his book, Call Me American. Parent Volunteer Devon Suozzi chaired PJs & Pizza, which brought over 130 NCCS and Horizons students together for a fun-filled evening that included bingo and mystery readers.



1. Festival of Books Co-Chairs Shannon Kieske and Kari Davis distributed books purchased through the school fundraiser. 2. Grade 1 Teacher Melissa Gomes read aloud The Paper Bag Princess. 3. Chair of PJs & Pizza Devon and Christopher Suozzi 4. Grade 4 Teacher John Hastings emceed lively games of bingo.


We Appreciate Our Faculty & Staff! The Faculty and Staff appreciation team, led by Parent

Volunteers Liz Arredondo and Lisa Pannone, came up with creative, new ways for students and parents to show their gratitude for faculty and staff. Artwork and personal notes accompanied pies and goodie bags filled with cookies and NCCS-branded masks. (A sampling of the student drawings 1



and notes of gratitude shown here.)






A Commitment to Service

The NCCS community participated in several fun and meaningful community service projects last fall both on and off campus, including a food drive at Person-to-Person and a campus beautification project to plant bulbs around the new Athletics & Wellness Center. Special thanks to Community Service Co-Chairs Sam Gault and Mindy Stewart as well as PA Executive Committee Liaison Jen Kline. 1. Upper School students Grady O’Connor, Will McKeown, Consuelo Bowman, William Kieske and Harry Jellinek organized cereal. 2. Community Service Co-Chair Mindy Stewart and Liaison Jen Kline provided helping hands at the Person-to-Person Food Drive.

3. Middle School students Wiley O’Connor, Claire McCormick, Ceci Calia and Max Calia sorted food donations. 4. Philip and Juan-Carlos Bowman 5. Matthew DiBiasio digging holes. 6. Parent Volunteer Tori Vartanian and Stella Vartanian planting bulbs.




1. PA Volunteers Gwen Golden, Beth Gosk, Liz Arredondo, Liz Keogh and Lisa Pannone attached students’ artwork and notes of appreciation to pies prior to their delivery. 2. Campus Maintenance Assistant Carlos Mendoza and Advancement Support Manager Renee Bornstein (not pictured) were valued members of the pie distribution effort. 3. Head of School Aaron Cooper on what has been lovingly become known as “Pie Day.” discover more countryschool.net


Building Brighter Futures Since 1964 Hosted at New Canaan Country School

Rise Up with Hope HORIZONS SUMMER PROGRAM FOCUSES ON CONNECTIONS By Whitney Mallozzi, Horizons Development and Communications Coordinator

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Horizons transitioned our Summer Program to a five-week virtual format that included asynchronous and synchronous learning activities and featured many of our Horizons traditions and events in a virtual format. Prior to the launch of the program, we hosted a drive-up supply day and distributed grade-level supplies, grocery gifts cards and technology (when needed) to ensure families and students had all the resources they needed to fully access our online programming. The theme for the Summer Program, “Rise Up with Hope,” was woven into all curricula and events, and allowed students the opportunity to reflect on the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice surrounding them. Given the 1

stress and isolation we knew our families were facing, we shifted our Summer Program goals to focus on connection, student and family support and engagement, along with social and emotional well-being. We connected with families one-on-one and provided social work support when needed. We also conducted resiliency workshops for caregivers with tips and strategies on dealing with their children’s stress and anxiety over the pandemic and remote learning. This summer, Horizons brought back our Grade 9 Program for rising tenth graders to give them a productive learning opportunity, connection and


support, which included a cumulative video project and financial literacy program with stock market simulation and competition. All students benefited from a daily schedule of classes that included journaling time, literacy and math, art, woodshop, theater, virtual lunches/social time and community assemblies. Teaching assistants provided real-time technical support to help students and the adult caregivers supporting them to access Google classroom and Zoom. The program concluded with a celebratory drive-thru Moving Up Ceremony to recognize the milestones of our Grade 5 and


Grade 8 students as they transition to the next phase of the program. Horizons was successful in building a joyful and resilient community that truly demonstrated what it means to “Rise Up with Hope.” 1. 2. 3. 4.




Supply distribution day at NCCS Second grade student Amir engaged in virtual learning. Third grade class on a “Wacky Wednesday” Noelle at the fifth grade Moving Up Ceremony

Horizons Reimagines SCHOOL-YEAR PROGRAMMING WITH TEAM-BASED MODEL This fall, Horizons implemented a new team academic

being implemented in the high school program as well.

support model to provide academic instruction to students

Teams of three to four coaches, each with an academic and

in Grades 1 through 8 who needed additional support.

a social-emotional specialist, support a grade of students

Each grade has one or more instructors who work with a

with small group and one-on-one instruction. In addition,

small group of students on their academic skills to help

Horizons is working with a number of college readiness

them perform at or above grade-level. Teachers are using

and admissions consultants to develop a five-part college

the Connecticut prioritized grade level standards to

readiness series for our students and families to help with

guide instruction. Group instruction is supplemented with

all stages of the college process.

one-on-one tutoring and homework help as needed. The Horizons High School Program provides students in Grades 9 through 12 with services and support to help them succeed in high school and prepare for a successful transition to college and career. The program includes academic coaching, tutoring, a five-week Saturday Winter Program, peer and group learning, SAT prep classes, college readiness workshops, and student internship and volunteer opportunities. The team model approach is

“We believe this model will provide greater consistency and will allow coaches to develop deeper expertise in the developmental and academic needs and expectations of students at each stage of their high school journey.” —Nancy von Euler, Executive Director


Offer a Chance to Try Something New! Horizons intentionally presents students with new and different activities and experiences to broaden their horizons and learn through doing. Students in Grades 2 through 12 tried out art, chess, comic book creation, hip hop dance, photography, fashion design and science during fall virtual enrichment programming. This year families were invited to participate in virtual classes as well, including Zumba, art and English as a Second Language. Classes are being offered in six, four-week cycle blocks giving students and families the choice to participate in the same thing for all 24 weeks or the option to try out a variety of activities. Above: Enrique in Grade 4 shares his artwork. Below: Isabella in Grade 3 shares her colorful creation.

Read more: www.horizonskids.org For more about Horizons and ways to get involved discover more countryschool.net



We’re in this together, so that our students may thrive today and every day.

Your partnership has helped us keep students and teachers on campus this year. The Annual Fund is our yearly appeal for financial support from all school community members — parents, trustees, alumni, faculty and staff, grandparents, parents of alumni and friends — to help cover day-to-day expenses and enhance the curriculum and student experience. It is our school’s top priority among all fundraising efforts. Annual Fund gifts ranging from $10 to more than $50,000 each year immediately make a difference in our students’ and faculty’s lives and help NCCS be responsive to unanticipated needs and challenges. This year we face extraordinary COVID-19 costs for health and safety accommodations and emergency financial aid, which have amounted to $1.5 million over and above the budgeted Annual Fund goal of $1.5 million. Each gift helps us fulfill our promise to provide a high-quality and uniquely NCCS academic experience at all times.

countryschool.net/give (203) 801-5600

To read about the specific costs of COVID-19 at NCCS, please see page 11.

We remain more grateful than ever for your ongoing support.

nccs@countryschool.net For information on gifting appreciated stock, please visit: countryschool.net/stockgift



Thank you!

Class Notes

NO NEWS FROM YOUR CLASS? WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Please submit your news and updates to Director of Alumni Affairs Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 at hcasella@countryschool.net or on our website. You can also submit


Judy Fiske Harding of Seattle, WA, passed away on Dec. 12, 2018. Please see In Memoriam.


Eleanor Lloyd Helm of Hanover, NH, passed away on May 12, 2020. Please see In Memoriam. Lydia Thorne Lucy of North Conway, NH, passed away on Feb. 13, 2019. Please see In Memoriam.



Guy Robinson reports that last winter his wife, Elizabeth Stribling, was promoted to Commander of the French Legion of Honour, the third of the five degrees of distinction, having been named Chevalier in 2007 and Officer in 2012. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian presided over the evening ceremony at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris. This further recognition by France is for her continuing leadership as Chairman of French Heritage Society (FHS), which has made over 500 separate restoration and preservation grants, nearly $25 million, to projects in France and North America. She founded Stribling & Assoc., the New York real estate firm, in 1980 and prior to that studied English literature at Vassar and Cambridge University.

Dorcas Eason MacClintock writes, “A re-wilding goes on in the backyard and in the park woods beyond — with visits of a red fox, a red-tailed hawk, and at night, sounds of screech owls and raccoons. There are ways this pandemic benefits us!”




Abijah Reed of Putney, VT, passed away on April 9, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.


John Hubbell of Asheville, NC, passed away on May 8, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.

ARE YOU GETTING OUR EMAILS? If not, please send your preferred email address to Director of Alumni Affairs Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 at hcasella@countryschool.net.

Thomas Adams of Dallas, TX, passed away on June 13, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.

Susan Carr Pickett writes, “In love and chanty with my neighbors and classmates — was if 1955 and my husband in this time of new beginnings and hope of science — I wish it could be more — maybe it will — love SC Pickett.”


C. Dan Bergfeld ’58 of Vero Beach, FL, passed away on Sept. 25, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.


Lyn Bremer Chivvis writes, “Peter Mills and his wife Debbie stopped for a great visit — so we took this picture, and added my daughter Devon ’89 into the mix.”

notes via mail using the enclosed return envelope. Share your own news, or tip us off to milestones, news and achievements of classmates, children or others in our community!

1 Lyn Bremer Chivvis ’60, Peter Mills ’60 and Lyn’s daughter, Devon Chivvis ’89


Kathryn Graham of Stamford, CT, passed away on Aug. 28, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.


Karl Whitmarsh writes, “My wife Jamie and I have moved to a village by Lake Corrib in the west of Ireland. Very peaceful, and we can walk most places we need to go.”


Susan Lamont passed away on Dec. 24, 2019. Please see In Memoriam.


Peter Bronson of Norwalk, CT, passed away on July 18, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.


Peter Wright of California, formerly of New Canaan, CT, and Jamestown, RI, passed away May 4, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.

discover more countryschool.net



Leave YOUR Legacy

Dr. Nancy Ryan Lowitt of Baltimore, MD, passed away May 18, 2020. Please see In Memoriam.

Did you know there are creative ways to support Country School? Giving techniques called planned


gifts allow you to create win-win solutions for you and Country School. To join The Welles Society or to ask a question about estate planning, please contact Associate Director of Advancement Diane Briggs at dbriggs@countryschool.net or (203) 801-5619.

David Prescott has recently published his 20th book. His publications have focused on the assessment and treatment of sexual abuse, as well as general psychotherapy. He has just finished trainings in these areas in Norway and Latvia, and will be lecturing in Bucharest, Romania, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Warsaw and Wroclaw in Poland this autumn. He lives outside of Portland, ME.


Eric Woolworth was presented with the 2020 Alumni Award this October — thank you to all who attended to help us honor his achievements! Eric spoke virtually with Middle and Upper School students, faculty and staff, and an expanded audience of

parents, alumni and parents of alumni, made possible by the virtual format. For more on Eric, please see next page.


Olympic Gold Medalist AJ Mleczko Griswold will receive the 2021 Alumni Award. More information coming soon!


2 Daniel DiBiasio and his wife Ali welcomed their third child, Madeline Sawyer DiBiasio, on Nov. 10, 2020.


3 Classmates Than Bryan, Ollie Butler, Mike Roberts, Alexa duPont Bell, Daphne van der Kieft Bourne and Ryan Oakes enjoyed a Zoom catch up recently.

4 Ryan Oakes and his wife Mika welcomed daughter Esme on June 28, 2020.

2 Madeline Sawyer DiBiasio, daughter of Daniel DiBiasio ’92

3 Than Bryan ’93, Ollie Butler ’93, Mike Roberts ’93, Alexa duPont Bell ’93, Daphne van der Kieft Bourne ’93 and Ryan Oakes ’93 with his new baby Esme.

4 Ryan Oakes ’93 and family, including their newest arrival, daughter, Esme.

Matching Gifts:

TOGETHER, WE CAN REACH NEW HEIGHTS! Did you know that Corporate Matching Gifts are a great way to increase your personal gift to Country School? Please check with your employer’s human resources department or visit our online matching gift database at www.countryschool.net/giving/ways-to-give to see if it participates in a matching gift program. For more information, contact Diane Briggs in the Advancement Office at (203) 801-5619 or dbriggs@countryschool.net.



And the Alumni Award Goes To ... Miami HEAT Business Operations President Eric Woolworth ’80 Reflects on the Importance of Social Responsibility The New Canaan Country School Alumni Award is presented each year to honor an alumna or alumnus who has had the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world. This year, the honor went to Eric Woolworth ’80.

Speaking on Oct. 30 from his Florida home

equity and inclusion space and asked for

to Middle and Upper School students,

the details surrounding the decision to

faculty, staff and alumni assembled

make that a priority.

virtually, Alumni Award recipient Eric

“When we decided that we wanted to

Woolworth ’80 spoke candidly about his

make the HEAT the very best organization

path to the executive office of the Miami

it could be, I told my staff that we needed

marketing and community affairs to sales

HEAT Group and discussed in depth

to embrace the community around us,”

and service, human resources, merchan-

his feelings about the importance of

explained Eric. “The people who lived in

dising, finance, event and arena opera-

creating diverse, equitable and inclusive

Miami needed to feel comfortable coming

tions, and more.

environments, professional organizations

to games and events, but also to our

Under his guidance, the HEAT was

and communities.

business offices. In order for them to feel

the inaugural winner of the NBA’s 2018

“Eric responded to our students’ ques-

comfortable, they needed to see someone

Inclusion Leadership Award for the

tions with wisdom and humor, tackling

who looked like them. Over time, we

franchise’s lengthy history and ongoing

complicated themes such as the role of

became more diverse and then learned

commitment to diversity and inclusion.

social responsibility within professional

how to actively and intentionally get

sports head-on with confidence and

and harness the diverse experiences and

conviction. His wisdom and experience

world views of our employees, ultimately

really resonated with the students,” said

creating the successful multicultural orga-

Head of School Aaron Cooper.

nization we are today.”

“I took a risk,” explained Eric when

Following graduation from Country

asked by eighth grader Ifeanyi Ndokwu

School, Eric went on to attend The

if he had dreamed of a career in profes-

Taft School. He graduated cum laude

sional basketball. “I left a profitable

from both Georgetown University and

career in law, took a pay cut and moved

Georgetown University Law Center and


to Miami. Sometimes you’ve got to go for

then pursued a successful legal career in

We welcome your suggestions

it. It’s worked out for me. It was a dream

Washington, D.C. Eric joined the HEAT as

for future Alumni Award

to work in the sports world, although not

general counsel in 1995 and then steadily

candidates. Please send nominations

necessarily in basketball.”

climbed the ranks of The HEAT Group.

to Director of Alumni Affairs

While attending NCCS, Eric

His business acumen and key role in the

Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 at

co-captained three varsity teams:

development of the AmericanAirlines


soccer, hockey and baseball.

Arena in Miami led to his promotion

Please include name, class year

“I have always loved sports, but I

to President, Business Operations in

and a short explanation of the

still cannot dribble left-handed,” he

January 2001.

candidate’s accomplishments.

confessed with a wry smile.

The 2020–21 Miami Heat season marks

Ninth grader Waverly Walters, who

Eric’s 25th year with the HEAT Group and

To find out about previous

attended the 2020 Student Diversity

20th as President, Business Operations.

New Canaan Country School

Leadership Conference, noted that the

His primary responsibility consists of

Alumni Award recipients, visit

HEAT Group had won several awards

directing and overseeing all non-basket-


and recognition for work in the diversity,

ball aspects of the organization from


Send Us Your


discover more countryschool.net


NCCS GETTING MARRIED? Let the Alumni Office know so we can send you an NCCS banner for photography! Holly Donaldson Casella ’04: (203) 801-5687 or hcasella@countryschool.net.

2001 5

Owen William Bloom with dad Matt Bloom ’98

Conor Devereaux Kennedy, son of Annie Rauscher Kennedy ’02 8


Nick Britell was nominated again this year for an Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for HBO’s awardwinning Succession. He won the Emmy in the same category last year.


7 Rob Crane and his wife, Carola, welcomed their first child, James Lovering Crane, on Aug. 10, 2020.


8 Annie Rauscher Kennedy and her husband Larry welcomed their first child, Conor Devereaux Kennedy, on Dec. 30, 2020.


9 Emmy Burleigh Grunseich and her husband Doug welcomed Cooper William Grunseich on Sept. 16, 2020.

5 Matt Bloom and his wife Katie welcomed their third child, Owen William Bloom, on Oct. 2, 2020.

6 Schuyler Golden Roady, daughter of Eliza Golden Roady ’98

7 James Lovering Crane, son of Rob Crane ’01

CALLING ALUMNI AUTHORS We are restocking our bookshelves. If you have published a book, please send a copy!



6 Eliza Golden Roady and husband Peter Roady welcomed their first child, Schuyler Golden Roady, on Nov. 24, 2020.

Matt Heineman has a new two-part documentary TIGER, which premiered in January 2021. The project is from HBO Sports and Jigsaw Productions, in association with Matt’s production company, Our Time Projects. The film follows the rise, fall, and epic comeback of global icon Tiger Woods. You can watch TIGER on HBO and read more on Matt’s website: www.ourtimeprojects.com.


Adam Leibowitz won an Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Show for Netflix’s hit show Cheer.

9 Cooper William Grunseich, son of Emmy Burleigh Grunseich ’03

Class Notes

11 Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 and Lindsay Luke Gates ’03 together with their daughters, born just a week apart this November!

10 Chelsea Laverack Clifford ’03 and Hope Krause Kremer ’03 with Hope’s daughter Ulla Jane!

14 Daniel Grey McDow, son of Hadley Martin McDow ’04

10 Chelsea Laverack Clifford and Hope Krause Kremer (and Hope’s daughter Ulla Jane!) visited the Laverack’s family home in Landgrove, VT, this fall.

11 Lindsay Luke Gates and her husband Scott welcomed their first child, Grace Luke Gates, on Nov. 14, 2020.

12 Charles “Charlie” Emmett Marcel, son of Caitlin Dudley Marcel ’03.

12 Caitlin Dudley Marcel and her husband Daniel welcomed her first child, Charles “Charlie” Emmett Marcel, on Aug. 8, 2020.

15 India Renee Shaddock, daughter of Morgan O’Neil Shaddock ’04


13 Emma Brodie is releasing her first novel, Songs in Ursa Major, this June 2021. The book depicts a love story set in 1969, “alive with music, sex, and the trappings of fame.” You can preorder on Amazon or snag your copy this summer! Congratulations, Emma!

11 Holly Donaldson Casella and husband Adam welcomed their second child, Dorothy “Dottie” Putnam Casella, on Nov. 6, 2020.

14 Hadley Martin McDow and husband Dan welcomed their first child, Daniel Grey McDow, on Dec. 1, 2020.

15 Morgan O’Neil Shaddock and her husband John welcomed their first child, India Renee Shaddock, on May 13, 2020.

16 Kimberly Graham Thompson Klein and husband Christopher welcomed their first child, Lucy Fay Klein, on Aug. 9, 2020.

13 Cover of new novel by Emma Brodie ’04

16 Lucy Fay Klein, daughter of Kimberly Graham Thompson Klein ’04

Save the Date! VIRTUAL REUNION: MAY 14 & 15

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Avery MacLear ’16 (center) with her Millbrook squash team, Division V Champions.


Julian Gewirtz has a poem featured in Best American Poetry 2020. In addition to being a poet, Julian is a distinguished historian and writer who focuses on China. www.juliangewirtz.com 17

Christina Halloran ’16

YOUNG ALUMNI NEWS AND ACHIEVEMENTS will appear in our Fall 2021 Bulletin. Please send submissions to Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 at hcasella@countryschool.net.


Chelsea Priebe was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 2, 2020) in an article titled, “Want a Gorgeous Garden Fast? Here’s What to Plant This Fall.” Chelsea is a landscape designer, currently working for Oliver Design Associates in Fairfield, CT. You can read the article at www.mansionglobal.com/articles/want-agorgeous-garden-fast-here-s-what-to-plantthis-fall-143952.


Gabrielle Grimmett graduated from Charleston Law School in spring 2020. Gabbie writes, “Yesterday, I found out that I passed the New York State Bar exam. I can now begin the process of becoming a licensed attorney.”

19 Sydney Coffield ’18, Olivia Sheridan ’17 and Arjun Dayal ’18

CALLING ALUMNI ARTISTS To be included in an upcoming alumni art show, please contact Director of Alumni Affairs Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 at hcasella@countryschool.net.





17 Christina Halloran received the William B. Jaffe Award (for courage, leadership and sportsmanship in athletics) at Deerfield after a tri-varsity career and serving as captain in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse. Christina is now continuing her athletics career at Williams College.

Turner Ives is now attending University of Virginia 18 Avery McLear received the Community Service Cup at Millbrook and led their squash team to a Div V High School Squash National Championship.


Finley Bean made the CHSCA All-State Boys Ice Hockey Div III 2nd team, was named a FCIAC scholar-athlete, and served as captain for the Brien McMahon ice hockey and lacrosse teams, and as president of the Jr. Rowayton Civic Association. Finley now attends the University of Wisconsin. Diana Degnan received the Alumni Prize, the Nancy Cunningham Nickerson Award, the Model UN Prize, the Philosophy Prize, the Chinese Prize a Global Studies Distinction and achieved cum laude at King School.

For the second straight season John Fox has been named a captain of the University of Virginia men’s 2021 lacrosse team.

Will Hall-Tipping received the Student Activities Prize and a Global Studies Distinction at King School.

Ryan Musto is pursuing a masters of science degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University.

Emma Hunter received the Principal’s Award at Darien High School for meritorious service to the school.

Emma Stevens graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College with academic and athletic accolades including the Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar (2016–2020) and All-NESCAC Team (field hockey).

Jeffrey Pendo received the Athletic Council on Leadership Award and served on the Student Community Action Council (SCAC) at Flintridge Preparatory School. Carolina Salvatore received the Girls Squash Award and a Founders League Award at Taft School.

College Destinations

Class of 2017

Henry Alpaugh..............Berkshire School ’21 Austin Andersen ����������St. Luke’s School ’21 Shane Baldwin.....Choate Rosemary Hall ’21 Kevin Barnard................ Salisbury School ’21 Finley Bean.............. University of Wisconsin Marc Belak.................Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology William Belcher........... University of Virginia Ellie Boeschenstein ����St. Lawrence University Peter Bonczek ��������������������������������� Unknown Merrill Bright ������������������� Colgate University Elizabeth Campisi ������������������� Northwestern University Emma Carney................. Stanford University Charlotte Carr.............. University of Denver Caroline Collins........ University of Maryland Molly Connors ���������������� Loyola Marymount University Sam Corryn ���������������������������Duke University Jessica Cramer ������������������������������Bryn Mawr Hayden Critchell ����������St. Luke’s School ’21 Helen Culpepper ����������������������� University of Southern California Henry Dale................... Brunswick School ’21 Diana Degnan......... Massachusetts Institute of Technology Maeve DeGulis......Northwestern University Ian Delehaunty �������������������������Colby College Griffin Dewey.............. University of Virginia Ben Dooley ����������������������������Boston College Hunter Essex ����������������Southern Methodist University Jack Ferm..................Porter-Gaud School ’21 Sarah Gallagher.......Sacred Heart University Charlotte Gehring ��������Middlebury College Carter George..........Wake Forest University Bobby Gibbons..........University of Colorado at Boulder

19 Olivia Sheridan was named a “Teen to Watch” by New Canaan, Darien & Rowayton Magazine. She also received the Biology Prize and achieved cum laude at King School. Read more at www.countryschool.net.

Haley Strom received Honorable Mention for Choate’s School Seal Prize for outstanding contribution to the school community over the course of her school career. She is currently working as an EMT on the Colorado College Emergency Medical Services’ student-run medical first response team.

Julia Graham..... Carnegie Mellon University Sophie Gribin................ St. Michael’s College Will Hall-Tipping ����������������������Colby College James Hudson �����������������������King School ’21 George Hult ���������������������������� Trinity College Ashley Humphrey ��������� Stanford University Emma Hunter ����������������� Denison University Charlie Johnson....... Darien High School ’21 Dylan Koo.....................Quinnipiac University Win Lane ������������������������������������������� Unknown Sloane Latimer ����������������������� Trinity College Cameron Lawrence ������������������������ Unknown Alexandra LeBaron ���University of Chicago Eloise Leclerc.................St. Luke’s School ’21 Casey McCall ������������������������������������ Unknown Brynn McClymont ����University of Michigan Cloey McNichol ������������� Providence College Megan Meyerson ��������� Columbia University Leah Miller ��������������������������������������� Unknown Drake Miller ������������������������������������� Unknown Taylor Mitchell....Choate Rosemary Hall ’21 Eloise Morgan ������������������� Tulane University Sydney Mouzon.....University of Connecticut Timmy Murillo................ Gettysburg College Ella Mylod ���������������������������������������� Unknown Mimi Ndokwu................. University of Miami Nina Parker.................. University of Virginia Sofie Pasztor.................. Rochester Institute of Technology Jeffrey Pendo ����������������������Pomona College Gabrielle Perreault ���������������Boston College Desmond Pratt �������������St. Luke’s School ’21 Drew Pyne............ University of Notre Dame Emily Riccardi..................The Taft School ’21 Zach Rothwell.............University of Chicago Jared Rowland �������������� Syracuse University Carolina Salvatore ���������The Taft School ’21 Teddy Schoenholtz ���������������� Trinity College

Sean Seiler...........Roger Williams University Olivia Sheridan............ University of Virginia Sophie Smith................ University of Denver Nicholas Sosnow ��������� Millbrook School ’21 Celia Sotirhos..........Westminster School ’21 Jack Sparks....................... Colgate University William Staniar ���������������Bucknell University Katie Stevens �������������������������Boston College Nate Stevens...........Westminster School ’21 Haley Strom ����������������������� Colorado College Charlie Tait ����������Choate Rosemary Hall ’21 Kara Ventura............... University of Virginia Chuck Warren �������������������� Tulane University Elsie Welles �������������������������������������� Unknown Mimi White............. University of Minnesota Aubrey White ���������������������������������� Unknown Louis Williams ��������������������������������� Unknown Bo Zeigler................. Georgetown University Catherine Ziac........... University of Vermont Teddy Zinn......................... Blair Academy ’21

Class of 2016

William Byrne ���������������������Bowdoin College Harry DeLana ���������������Rhode Island School of Design Holly Diomede ����������������������Pace University Quinn Galante................Villanova University Liam Griffiths �������������������Harvard University Griffin Grise ������������������������������Colby College Christina Halloran �������������� Williams College Caitlin Lefferts.........Wake Forest University Avery MacLear.... University of St. Andrews Jackson McManus ���������������Duke University Wyatt Pastor �������������������� Lafayette College Jack Truwit........................... Williams College Laura Velez.............. University of Richmond Henry Zinn ����������������������������� Elon University


19 Sydney Coffield was named a “Teen to Watch” by Stamford Magazine. Read more at www.countryschool.net.

19 Arjun Dayal was named a “Teen to Watch” by Greenwich Magazine. Arjun has also been 3D printing hundreds of face masks and shields for hospitals around the country combatting the COVID-19 pandemic since May. Read more at www.countryschool.net.


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Reflections in Education From Apprentice Teacher in Training to Grade 5 Lead Teacher By Andrew Bevan, Grade 5 Teacher, Coach, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Facilitator They say that to teach is to “learn twice,” and over a decade

planning and organization through initial workshops, and the

removed from my first teaching experience as a Middle School

rest of my training came through observation and discussion

Apprentice at Country School, I never could have imagined

with my cooperating lead teacher.

how much I would still be learning about teaching from the

I learned so much about the art of teaching in that first year that

Apprentice Teacher Training Program (ATTP). Early in my

I carry with me today. And still I am learning and growing as an

career I was drawn to the ATTP, as are many of our apprentices,

educator because of the apprentice-lead teacher relationship. From

because it offered me my first chance to be in the classroom.

my vantage point, the mentor-mentee relationship baked into the

I was lucky enough to learn some of the basics of lesson

ATTP is one of the greatest gifts of being a lead teacher at NCCS.

Familiar Faces…

Since 1953, over 1,000 apprentices have come through the program en route to notable careers in education and its related fields. Many accepted offers to remain at Country School and are familiar faces around campus today including: Jean Beecher, Upper School Math

* * *

Teacher, Advisor

Andrew Bevan, Grade 5 Teacher, Coach, DEI Facilitator

Stefan Borowski, Associate Director of Apprentice Teacher Training Program, Associate Athletic Director, Physical Education Teacher, Coach Melissa (Fryer) Gomes,

Head of Middle School Kirsten Rosolen began as an NCCS apprentice.



* *

Grade 1 Teacher

Brayden Henry, Grade 6 Teacher, Coach, DEI Facilitator

Meegan Horn, Physical Education

* *

Teacher, Coach

Brooke Kelly, Grade 6 Teacher, Coach, Grade 6–9 ELA Program Coordinator

Bruce Lemoine, Director of Academic

* * *

Records, Technology Teacher

Isadora Machado, Plus Program Assistant

Mark Macrides, Visual Arts Program Coordinator and Teacher, Events Manager, Archivist

The great educational philosopher John Dewey is often attributed as saying, “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” What makes a great teacher isn’t the experience of doing the same thing over and over; it’s the process of iteration: planning a lesson and teaching it, then reflecting on what worked (and didn’t) and making any necessary changes for future lessons. A lesson or curriculum is a living thing and must reflect the world as it grows and changes. Likewise, a professional educator’s practice should be fluid, not set in stone. In the whirlwind day of teaching, advising and coaching it can be a challenge to sit down and reflect on one’s own practice. However, the presence of an apprentice teacher forces lead teachers to reflect on their teaching practice. Apprentice teachers ask great questions and bring new ideas. Apprentices will bring a new teaching strategy to their lead teacher and ask how to best incorporate it into

Grade 5 Teacher Andrew Bevan and Apprentice Caroline Aronowitz

a lesson, deepening both teachers’ skills. The relationship with an apprentice is a far cry from the old model of a novice learning a trade from a skilled craftsworker. Rather, it is a reciprocal and collaborative relationship where veteran and early career teachers are reflecting on their teaching practice together and in turn, bettering the quality of instruction for students.

Are you a former apprentice and would like to update us on where you are now? Please contact Associate Director of Apprentice Training Program Stefan Borowski at sborowski@countryschool.net. For more information about the Apprentice Teacher Training Program or to apply, please visit www.countryschool.net/apprentice.

Byron Reding, Early Childhood


Assistant Teacher, Physical Education Teacher, Coach

Lauren Romeo, Co-Director of


Secondary School Counseling, Upper School Learning Coordinator, Coach

Kirsten Rosolen, Head of

* * * * *

Middle School

Daley O’Herron ’05, Early Childhood Assistant Teacher

Valerie Schirmer, Lower School

Matthew McDonald, Upper School


Math Teacher, Coach, Advisor and Gr. 6–9 Math Coordinator

Catherine Mendoza ’98,


Early Childhood and Lower School World Language Teacher, Plus Program Assistant

Beth O’Brien, Head of Early Childhood


Support Lead for Distance Learning

Maria Sette ’92, Grade 4 Teacher, Grade 3–5 Program Coordinator

Gretchen Tapscott, Director of Teacher and Apprentice Training, Lower School Teacher

Winter Quisgard, Grade 3 Teacher

Happily Ever After… Apprentice Marriages

Cassie Dore & Andrew Bevan

* * * * * * * * * * *

Hayley Curtis & Steve Bloom ’03 Katie Driscoll & Chris Cloney Meredith Policinski & Chan Gammill

Jeanette Leopold & Ryan Giggi ’07 Sarah Bryan & Bruce Hallet Annie Upton & Brayden Henry Leah Stein & Ryan Kimmet Davina Brislin ’94 & Scott Lilley Kirsten Haakonsen & Matt Rosolen Molly Barrett & Josh Stern

* *

Darby Webber, Kindergarten Teacher

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This school year, we have had to reevaluate many elements

assigned to debate. Collaborating with my apprentice teacher

of our teaching practice because of physical distancing in the

resulted in a more meaningful learning experience than what I

classroom. When considering how to best structure a class

could have come up with on my own.

debate about the book Home of the Brave, I was unsure of how

Early in my career I thought about what I would get from

to do this with our classroom arrangement constraints. In the

the program. I would get the tools to run the day-to-day of a

past I would have rearranged the desks and gone on with the

classroom, the experiences of professional development, the

lesson — but not this year. After talking it over with my appren-

chance to learn from a master teacher, and hopefully the skills

tice teacher, she suggested using the website Padlet, a shared

to one day lead my own class. However, looking at this relation-

bulletin board that would allow students to post their claims

ship from the other desk in the classroom, I am thankful for all

and reply to one another directly. Not only did this achieve

that I get — and our school gets — from apprentice teachers:

the objective of creating an original claim about the novel, but

the opportunity to reflect on my teaching, collaborate and learn

it enhanced the lesson by allowing students to interact with

from a colleague who is newly immersed in pedagogy, and a

all members of the class, not just those with whom they were

new lens with which to view our curriculum.

The Apprentice Teacher Training Program at New Canaan Country School provides “on the job” training for individuals interested in becoming elementary and middle school teachers as well as frequent professional development workshops. Classroom placements range from Beginners to sixth grade. Each apprentice is assigned to a self-contained homeroom and works directly alongside a lead teacher. In addition to teaching language arts, mathematics and social studies, apprentices coach in the school’s interscholastic athletic program and support school spirit activities and community life. With apprentices teaching alongside lead teachers, NCCS has a very low student-teacher ratio and a teaching combination that greatly enriches our program. Our program is modelled after a teacher training program originally invented in 1928 by Katherine Taylor, Head of the Shady Hill School of Cambridge, MA. Country School Headmaster Henry Welles (1938–1963) had begun his career apprenticing for Ms. Taylor. Later, he sought to emulate the program, proposing his own version to the NCCS Board of Trustees in January 1952.

Where Are they Now… Notable Former NCCS Apprentices John Aime, Assistant Head of


School, Santa Catalina School, CA, previously Head of School, Applewild School, MA

Don Austin, Head of School,


Newark Academy, President, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (2012–14)

Gerry Bissinger, Elementary School

* * * *

Louis Frank, English Department Chair,

* *

Joanna Hanley, PhD Candidate in

Powhatan School, VA

Anne Fierberg, Dean, Upper


School History, Crane Country Day School, CA


Policy, MA, previously Governing Schools Commission, GA

Steve Bloom ’03, Owner/Director, Jay Briar, Head of School,

Educational Administration and Board Monitor, State Charter

Principal, Haddonfield Schools, NJ Camp Playland, New Canaan, CT

Shore Country Day School, MA

Jamel Keels, Head of School,

* * *

Waterside School, CT

Ryan Kimmet, Head of School, Elmwood Franklin School, NY

Robert Mandl, History Department Chair, Rumsey Hall School, CT

Dave Menard, Elementary School


Director, Bridges Baltimore at Gilman School, MD

Anna (Van Munching) Powers,


LMSW, Director of Clinical Services, Harbor Lights Foundation, CT

Matt Rosolen, Dean, Grades 7 & 8, Math

* * *

Teacher, Rye Country Day School, CT

Danny Seymour, MS History Department Chair, Thayer Academy, MD

Josh Stern, Adjunct Assoc. Professor, Mills College; Former Head of School, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, CA

Welcome to Our New Colleagues Jean Beecher, US Math Teacher

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jackie Britt-Friedman, MS and US Psychologist Lorena Chavez, US Spanish Teacher

Apprentice Teacher Training Program

Genieve DeBono, US Long-Term Substitute Teacher Matt Freitas, Plus Program and Grade Level Assistant

By the Numbers 1953

Rebecca Freitas, Plus Program Assistant Melissa Gomes, Grade 1 Teacher Kathleen Henkel, Grade 1 Teacher Lynnet Karamanian, Plus Program Assistant Kristin Keneally, Grade Level Assistant Rachel Kulig, Safety and Health Assistant

Year the program began at NCCS,

Robin Lindquist, LS Librarian

the second of its kind nationwide.

Machado Lecuona, Plus Program and Grade Level Assistant Winter Quisgard, Grade 3 Teacher

1,360 1–3

Emily Schoonmaker, Beginners 4/5 Lead Teacher

Approximate number of apprentices to

Colin Thom, LS Science Assistant Teacher

have come through the program since 1953

James Whittemore, US World Languages Teacher; Advisor Jane Zech, Plus Program and Grade Level Assistant

Number of consecutive years an apprentice can participate in the NCCS program

Also joining us or taking on new responsibilities are: Caroline Aronowitz, Apprentice

21 1

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lindsey Bemis, PE Apprentice

Apprentices who work in NCCS classrooms

Christy Bottomley, Apprentice

alongside teachers in 2020–21

Jennifer Corcoran, US Science Teacher, Advisor, Coach Kimberly Culver, Apprentice

NCCS alumni currently

Isa Dumoulin, Apprentice

working as an apprentice

Rebecca Evensen, Apprentice Shannon Faella, LS Support Lead for Distance Learners Jelena Freelove, Plus Program and Grade Level Assistant Ann Abbott Freeman, Apprentice Rinku Ghadiyali, Plus Program and Grade Level Assistant Kristen Giacalone, LS Math Learning Resources Teacher Lucyna Graham, Plus Program and Grade Level Assistant

oung Alumni...

Kait Harden, Apprentice Grace Hardy, Apprentice

Who Participated in the NCCS Apprentice Program: Catherine Mendoza ’98

* * * * * * * *

Katie Norton ’01 Rachel Spector Norton ’01 Catherine Monrad ’02 Monica Rowett ’02 Emily Smith Whitledge ’02 Steve Bloom ’03 Hank Wyman ’04

Liesl Hennig, Apprentice

Daley O’Herron ’05

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tom Hogenkamp, Grade 6 Associate Teacher

Janie Budnick ’05

Lisa Ingraham, EC Support Lead for Distance Learners

Clara Brodie ’06

Madeleine Ker ’10, Apprentice

Chelsea Brewer ’07

Remi Klein, Apprentice

Ryan Giggi ’07

Katie Lashendock, Apprentice

Kevin Gonzalez ’07

Morgan Lowry, Apprentice

Sarah Cottone Davies ’08

Kate MacNutt, Apprentice

Carrie Merrill ’08

Olivia Mao, Apprentice

Melanie Silverman ’08

Kat Norton ’12, Apprentice

Melanie Tremesani ’08

Emma Pippert, Apprentice

Madeleine Ker ’10

Julie Porter, Grade 3 Teacher

Hadley Merrill ’10 Jazmine Rodriguez ’11 Kat Norton ’12

Lauren Romeo, Co-Director of Secondary School


Aman Samra ’11

Counseling; US Learning Resources Teacher

Valerie Schirmer, LS Support Lead for Distance Learners Will Shaw, Apprentice Hartel Smith, Apprentice Carin Walden, Beginners 3/4 Lead Teacher Izzy Weiss, Apprentice discover more countryschool.net


Faculty & Staff News ◂ Former longtime faculty members Leah and Ryan Kimmet. Ryan was named Head of School at Elmwood Franklin School in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. Ryan, who first joined the NCCS community as an apprentice, most recently served as Associate Head of School at the Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia. Ryan is in the final phase of completing his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. Leah continues to be heavily involved in Horizons. For more on Ryan, see Apprentices, page 42.

Lower School Science Teacher Chantal Detlefs completed a master’s degree in environmental science at Pace University in June 2020. She graduated with summa cum laude distinction, also receiving an award for High Achievement and Community Engagement. Her thesis was an analysis of the efficacy of coyote management plans. She is currently working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to distribute a model coyote coexistence plan she created to municipalities throughout New York state for implementation. Middle School and Upper School Science Teacher Margaret Mackey completed her Education for Sustainability certification program at Manhattanville College in Dec. 2020. Her final project for the program was to develop a new unit on water that she has since incorporated into her Grade 6 lesson plan. Head of Early Childhood Beth O’Brien completed the Leadership Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Faculty professional development opportunities, including graduate coursework, are made possible by financial resources from the Special Professional Development Fund and the Ninth Grade Endowment Fund. ◂ A 29-year member of the Maintenance Team, Leroy Anderson passed away Dec. 27, 2020. For more, please see In Memoriam, page 55.

▸ Former Lower School Teacher Kiki Sweigert (and husband Ray) moved to the Charleston area (Sullivan’s Island) in 2016 where she teaches fifth grade science and math and was instrumental in bringing Horizons to Ashley Hall. She has logged over 47 years teaching in Horizons programs, beginning in 1974 at NCCS. She’s also still running.



▲ Oke and Upper School Science Teacher Martha McAndrews welcomed a son, Callum Gibson McAndrews, Oct. 14, 2020.

▸ Learning Resources Teacher Lacey Ramsey submitted a video question for the CNN Sesame Street special on COVID-19, December 2020.

Diana and Facilities Supervisor John Neill welcomed a daughter, Charlotte Marie Neill, on Oct. 22, 2019. Charlotte joins older sister, Lillian.

▲ Tara and Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kojo Clarke welcomed a daughter, Elise Ewurakua Clarke, Nov. 4, 2020.

▲ Adam and Director of Alumni Affairs Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 welcomed a daughter, Dorothy “Dottie” Putnam Casella, Nov. 6, 2020. Dottie joins older brother Clarke.

▲ Junior Vazquez and Early Childhood & Lower School World Language Teacher Catherine Mendoza ’98 welcomed a son, Beau Jaxson Vazquez, Jan. 26

◂ It was a thrill to see so many legends return via Zoom for our 2020 Former Faculty & Staff Reunion. Head of School Aaron Cooper shared a school update and then everyone spent another hour or so in various Zoom breakout rooms (organized by era) catching up with friends and former colleagues.


Congratulations to Upper School Teacher Will McDonough who self-published his second book,

HAVE NEWS TO SHARE? To provide faculty & staff news and updates, please contact communications@countryschool.net

Pause Together: A Handbook for Humans (now available on Amazon) and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Visionaries in Education by the Global Forum for Education and Learning, USA on Dec. 8.

Dedicated Service

The following longtime members of the NCCS Faculty & Staff were honored for their dedicated service to the school and its community at the 2020 Annual Meeting held via online platform on Oct. 1. 40 years:

10 years:

• Tom Giggi, Upper School

• Jake Alrich, Performing Arts Program Coordinator,

English and History Teacher, Advisor, Coach

Performing Arts Teacher • Shannon Faella, Lower School Support Lead for Distance Learners • Meegan Horn, Physical Education Teacher, Coach

30 years: • Bart Fredo, Upper School English and History Teacher • Terrence Burden, Maintenance Assistant

• Charles Khuen, Upper School History and English Teacher, Advisor, Coach, and Grade Level Dean • Sean Robb, World Language Teacher; World Language Program Coordinator, Coach • Cathy Schinella, Assistant to the Director of Enrollment Management • Nika Skvir-Maliakal, Upper School English, History and Life

20 years: • Susan Chiavaroli, Receptionist and Bus Dismissal Coordinator

Skills Teacher, Advisor • Cindy Thom, Lower School Learning Resources Teacher and Grade K–2 Program Coordinator • Darby Webber, Kindergarten Teacher

• Karen Wappler, Visual Arts Assistant • Josh Ziac, Director Safety and Security

For more, see the video www.countryschool.net/annualmeeting

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Farewell to Our Dear Colleagues Jean Stevens, Lower School Librarian By Mary Ann Lansdale Librarian extraordinaire, that is the definition of Mrs. Stevens, our beloved Lower School Librarian. In her 25 years as the Lower School Librarian she has instilled a love of reading and helped guide students to discover their curiosities and passions. Special memories of Mrs. Stevens include the monthly library contests and the chant of all students saying “Yes” during Lower School assemblies when the announcers inform them that Mrs. Stevens will reveal the winner of the contest. Mrs. Stevens will also be remembered for the mystery of the large stuffed dog that disappeared, creating Nutmeg and Caldecott Book Clubs, the Newspaper Club, the Libguides she made for Summer Reading and other Lower School topics, the yearly Book recycling project during Earth Day, and creating a fair system for students to sit in the bathtub while listening to a story that she read to them. Mrs. Stevens also taught students research

Above all, she helped every single student, parent and

skills and how to use databases throughout their Lower School

teacher who entered the library find the perfect book so that

journey. The faculty of Country School will miss how she was

they eagerly sought her out to find their next favorite book.

always eager to collaborate and support the curriculum with

Thank you, Mrs. Stevens for instilling the love of reading to

resources for every topic.

everyone who entered your library.

Liz Pepe, Upper School World Language Teacher By Ben Herdeg ’20 Mrs. Pepe joined New Canaan Country School 16 years ago in 2003. The way she supports students like they’re her own children is what makes them dread the end of each period with her, because no class can compare to Spanish. Her humor and immeasurable charisma rubs off on everyone around her, which explains constant visits from both teachers and students. As a coach, teacher and advisor, Mrs. Pepe has many responsibilities around school, but always sets aside time to help someone out or to talk with her advisees. She inspires everyone by simply being herself.

Mrs. Pepe’s peers and students at NCCS describe her as “the best teacher ever,” “my

favorite,” and “my therapist.” Her various impacts on the community are thanks to her trustworthiness and her knowing that being a Spanish teacher doesn’t just mean talking about confusing grammar concepts. When kids feel anxious or stressed, they feel safe to vent or complain to Mrs. Pepe, knowing that she’ll be listening the entire time. Her comforting presence allows for close, personal bonds with anyone she meets. Her mindfulness of her students’ lives is shown every day as she asks about how much homework we have or about which tests we have coming up. Any of her students or peers can truly call her a friend.

It is clear that Mrs. Pepe will be missed. However, NCCS is very thankful for all that she’s

given us, and we wish her the best of luck.



Faculty & Staff News

Dara Webster, Lower School Learning Resources By Sue DeOreo Brightly emblazoned on the wall of the Lower School math room are the words of Albert Einstein, “It’s not that I’m so smart, I just stay with problems longer.” This is not mere window dressing but the motto that Ms. Webster brings to every element of her teaching and approach to math learning. Ms. Webster espouses a “can-do” attitude and encourages her students to have the same. With hard work, a growth mindset and patience, there is little that Ms. Webster’s mathematicians can’t attempt. From the monthly math challenge board to Marcy Cook tiles and Exemplars, Ms. Webster offers students math assignments that are appropriately challenging, hands-on, child-centered, and most importantly, FUN! Squeals of joy and exclamations of “I did it” can often be heard streaming from classrooms where Ms. Webster is teaching. In addition, one can hear the clear and calm cadence of Ms. Webster’s voice as she encourages others to stick with it and to look at a problem from a different perspective. Ms. Webster has the gift of taking the most abstract and complicated mathematical concept and breaking it down into manageable, concrete and meaningful chunks. Ms. Webster helped spearhead the move in the Lower School to adopt the Bridges in Mathematics program as the foundation for our math curriculum. Furthermore, Ms. Webster masterfully guided many colleagues through Bridges lessons to assist us in feeling more empowered and competent in our math teaching. As Ms. Webster moves on to the next adventure in her life, we wish her all the best and will always be grateful for the encouragement, patience, leadership and intellect she generously shared with us all, students and teachers alike.

Laurie Bepler, Transportation Coordinator running on time”

Hannah Liu, Upper School World Languages Teacher, Advisor

and in compliance

During her four-

Ms. Bepler has “kept the trains

Bob Mueller, Chief Financial Officer Mr. Mueller joined Country School in the summer of 2018 as its Chief

with state and local regulators for the

year tenure, Ms. Liu became part

Financial Officer. Mr. Mueller’s posi-

past seven years. A deeply dedicated

of the fabric of school life. In addition

tive influence was immediate and far

professional with a love for children and

to teaching five sections of Latin, she

reaching, while his successful steward-

a skill set finely tuned for best practices,

was a Grade 7 advisor, the Upper School

ship and oversight of the Athletics &

safety and efficiency, we wish her smooth

diversity and inclusion liaison, one of

Wellness Center, the School’s largest

roads and good weather as she moves on.

two faculty representatives on the

capital investment to-date, will last for

Laurie will be greatly missed.

Board of Trustees and a soprano in the

many years to come. We are grateful

faculty chorus. We wish Ms. Liu all the

for the time he spent with us and

best as she pursues her post-graduate

wish him well.

Timber Pech, LS Science Assistant Teacher

education at Harvard.

Nora Goddard, School Counselor

Teacher Alexandria Culotta,

an Assistant Teacher and Lead Teacher

Since arriving

Grade 5 World Language Teacher

in the Horizons program, a Lower School

and Country

Karen Rolfini-Beckenstein,

Apprentice, and a Lower School Assistant

School in 2018,

Transportation Coordinator

During her 7 years on campus, Ms. Pech has served as

We also offer our thanks to Performing Arts

Science Teacher. An accomplished

Ms. Goddard’s natural warmth and

Joan Bepler and Upper School Math

runner, Ms. Pech was also instrumental

empathy have helped support our

Teacher and Advisor Ben Schwartz.

in bringing to NCCS Girls On the Run, a

community in many impactful ways.

non-profit empowerment program she

She contributed deeply and widely

then coached. We wish Ms. Pech all the

to our school and will be missed on

best as she moves to Boston, she will be

campus by students and adults alike.

greatly missed here at NCCS. discover more countryschool.net



Join us in celebrating and honoring members of the Country School community, past and present.

Births Alumni

SUBMIT A NOTICE on the website or contact Director of Alumni Affairs Holly Cooper William Grunseich

Madeline Sawyer DiBiasio

Doug and Emmy

Ali and Daniel DiBiasio ’92

Burleigh Grunseich ’03

Donaldson Casella ’04 directly at hcasella@countryschool.net or (203) 801-5687 with your news item.

Nov. 10, 2020

Sept. 16, 2020

Esme Oakes

Grace Luke Gates

print will be included in the next

Mika and Ryan Oakes ’93

Scott and

edition of the Bulletin, scheduled

All milestones received after we go to

June 28, 2020

Lindsay Luke Gates ’03 Nov. 14, 2020

for fall 2021, and also posted on the website.

Owen William Bloom Katie and Matt Bloom ’98 Oct. 2, 2020

Charles Emmett Marcel Daniel and Caitlin Dudley Marcel ’03

Schuyler Golden Roady Eliza Golden Roady ’98

Aug. 8, 2020

and Peter Roady

Dorothy Putnam Casella

Nov. 24, 2020

Adam and Director of Alumni Affairs Holly

Beau Jaxson Vazquez

Donaldson Casella ’04

Junior Vazquez and Early

Nov. 6, 2020

Childhood & Lower School World Language Teacher

Daniel Grey McDow

Catherine Mendoza ’98

Daniel and Hadley

Jan. 26, 2021

Martin McDow ’04 Dec. 1, 2020

James Lovering Crane Carola and Rob Crane ’01 Aug. 10, 2020

India Renee Shaddock John and Morgan O’Neil Shaddock ’04

Conor Devereaux Kennedy Larry and Annie Rauscher Kennedy ’02 Dec. 30, 2020

May 13, 2020

Christopher and Kim Aug. 9, 2020


Elise Ewurakua Clarke Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kojo Clarke and Tara Clarke Nov. 4, 2020 Callum McAndrews Upper School Science Teacher Martha McAndrews and Oke McAndrews Oct. 14, 2020 Charlotte Marie Neill Facilities Supervisor John Neill and Diana Neill Oct. 22, 2019

Lucy Fay Klein Graham Thompson Klein ’04


Faculty and Staff

Read more: www.countryschool.net/milestones

In Memoriam We offer the deepest condolences to the family and friends of the following members of our extended school community. To read more, please visit www.countryschool.net/milestones. You may also submit a notice on the website or contact Director of Alumni Affairs Holly Donaldson Casella ’04 directly at hcasella@countryschool.net or (203) 801-5687.


Juliet “Judy” Delafield Fiske Harding ’39,

Eleanor “Nell” Lloyd Helm ’43,

focused on providing relief to abused

91, died May 12,

instrumental in starting a women’s tennis

93, died Dec. 12,

2020, in Hanover,

program at the Weston High School. The

2018, in Seattle.

NH. Following

family later moved to Philadelphia where

Country School,

Nell was an assistant first grade teacher

Country School,

she attended

at the Germantown Friends School,

she attended

Choate Rosemary

and later volunteered as a hospice case


women and children. She also was

The Chapin School in Manhattan and

Hall. Subsequent studies at the Child

worker for the Wissahickon Hospice,

Vassar College. She is predeceased by

Education Foundation and as a volun-

one of the first hospice care programs in

her husband of 70 years, John McMillan

teer with the Frontier Nursing Service in

the Philadelphia area. Additionally, she

Harding. Together, they had seven chil-

Kentucky, where she acted as a courier

worked as an RN at Foulkeways, a retire-

dren and attended St. Therese Parish for

assisting midwives and caring for their

ment community in Gwynedd, PA, where

43 years. In the community, Judy used

horses, led her to enter the Children’s

her mother lived.

her considerable energy as a passionate

Hospital School of Nursing, graduating

Summers were spent at her grandpar-

humanitarian and social justice advocate.

as an RN in 1951.

ents’ summer place on Lake Chocorua,

She visited senior centers, advocated for

In 1952, she married Bill Helm ’38 and

and in 2003 she and Bill moved there

the poor, and engaged in political discus-

continued to practice nursing, including

year-round before retiring to Kendal

sions and volunteered at church. Along

specializing in respiratory care during

at Hanover.

with three others, Judy formed a local

the polio epidemic of the 1950s. As a

She is survived by husband Bill;

chapter of the Panel of American Women

resident of Weston, MA, where she raised

daughter Pam; sons Peter, David and

and shared experiences of growing up in

her family, she served as a board member

Lloyd, six grandchildren and two great-

their respective religions with organiza-

of the Weston Visiting Nurse Association

grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the

tions and schools. Condolences, photos,

and as a founding board member of

family asks that donations be made in

or stories may be sent to Judy’s family at

the Parents’ and Children’s Services in

Nell’s memory to the Chocorua Lake


Boston, at that time, a landmark program

Conservancy: www.chocorualake.org.

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Lydia “Lydge” Thorne Lucy ’43,

company of his siblings Anne and Bill and

of Program One-to-One, a pioneering early

numerous cousins at Black Point, CT, and

childhood language and literacy program.

90, died Feb. 13,

Bear Island, ME.

She also served on the boards of Convent

2019, in her home in

His interest in and facility for math-

of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich and the

North Conway, NH.

ematics defined Abijah. He knew people

Darien Library. Cynthia avidly raised funds

by their license plates and their birthdays

for programs and causes she cared about,

horsewoman at an

and could recite Pi to 100 places. He

often opening her beautiful home on Long

early age, she rode

had a wonderful sense of humor, a kind

Neck Point for events. In particular, she

both English and Western, but preferred

smile, and a careful listening ear, which

hosted fundraisers for Family Reentry and

bareback. Lydge had an unending

endeared him to many. He changed his

Convent of St. Birgitta in Darien after it

appreciation for nature and was most

name from John to Abijah at age 38.

was devastated by a fire in 2006.

content outdoors with her family and her

His first marriage ended in divorce. With

She is predeceased by her first

two- and four-footed friends. Following

his second wife, Dorcas Gill, he moved

husband, Kevin B. Crimmins ’50 and her

Country School, she attended Choate

from the Boston suburbs where he had

sister Constance (Crump Hume) ’46.

Rosemary Hall and the University of New

been working as an engineer at Polaroid,

She is survived by her second husband,

Hampshire, where competed on the ski

to Putney. There, he pursued his love of

J. Arvid Klein, whom she married in 2004,

and rifle teams and met her husband.

woodworking, creating fine furniture and

brother Walter Gray Crump III, three

Lydia was preceded in death by her

musical instruments, and took part in the

children, Pamela Crimmins of New York

parents; her brothers Thad and Harry; a

Putney Craft Tour. He also taught math-

City, John Crimmins (Phyllis) ’78 of

sister Mary; and her husband of 67 years,

ematics and woodworking at The Putney

Nokomis, FL, and Lillian Crimmins Knight

Chester “Chet” Lucy. She is survived by

School for many years. In retirement,

(Christopher) of Darien. She was a proud

her children Peggy; A.O.; Dan; Nat and

Abijah volunteered extensively including

grandmother of five and a great-grand-

his wife Marianne; Polly; Annie, Sam and

at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, on the

mother of one.

his wife, Brooke; and Jessica; and too

board of the Putney Library, for the Food

In lieu of flowers, donations can be

many grandchildren, great-grandchildren,

Shelf, and at Next Stage.

made in her memory to Darien Land

nieces and nephews to name.

Abijah is survived by his third wife,

Trust at darienlandtrust.org.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that

Sarah Cooper-Ellis. Donations in his

donations in Lydia’s memory be made to

memory may be made to the Putney

the Conway Lake Conservation Association

School: www.putneyschool.org.

An accomplished

John Twyefort Hubbell ’52,

(P.O. Box 803, Center Conway, NH 03813),

82, died May 8, 2020, at Deerfield

White Mountain Highway, North Conway,

Cynthia Crump Crimmins ’51 83,

NH 03860) or Visiting Nurses.

passed away Nov.

Asheville, NC.

the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (2686

Skilled Nursing, in Following Country

29, 2020, at home.

John “Abijah” Reed ’50 died

School, she attended

University, he served with Operation

April 9, 2020, at his

Brearley School

Crossroad Africa, having been prevented

home in Putney, VT,

in New York City,

for health reasons from entry to the U.S.

from complications

Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich,

armed services. Upon his return, he earned

of ALS.

CT, and Trinity College in Washington, DC,

master’s degrees from Wesleyan University

before earning her BA in English, with a

and Rutgers University, and was a teacher of

minor in French, at Manhattanville College

English and coach of varsity football, hockey

the Putney School and the Massachusetts

in 1959. She earned a Master of Arts in

and lacrosse teams in various prep schools.

Institute of Technology, graduating

Teaching of English in Secondary School

After relocating to Asheville,

with a degree in engineering. Together

from Harvard University in 1960.

NC, in 1991, he was a host at the

with his first wife, Suzanna, he had four

Cynthia dedicated herself to literacy as a

Biltmore Estate for 12 years. A lifelong

children: Leslie, of Dummerston, VT,

tutor, volunteer and substitute teacher at

Presbyterian, he served as Elder in

Jennifer, of Dunstable, MA, Adam, of

local schools. Through the Junior League

several churches.

Concord, MA, and Noah, of Putney, VT.

of Stamford-Norwalk,she initiated and

He is survived by his wife of 57 years,

He enjoyed boyhood summers in the

later served as the Chairman of the Board

Elizabeth Wolfe Hubbell, two sons,

Following Country School, he attended


School and Princeton

Following Country



Dr. J. Andrew Hubbell and his wife,

John of New York City; his nephew Will

she received a master’s degree. She had

Melissa, of Selinsgrove, PA, and Pastor

Adams ’90; and his nieces, Anda Adams

a 40-year career in psychotherapy and

Richard R. Hubbell and his wife, Jennifer,

Pape ’93 and her husband Bob Pape, and

lived a life that valued integrity, curiosity,

of Taylors, SC, and four grandchildren.

Marion Billings Su and her husband Min

gender and racial equality, compassion

Memorials may be made in John’s

Su. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes

and loyalty. She was a voracious reader

memory to Deerfield Retirement

that memorial gifts be made to St. Mark’s

and incredibly knowledgeable art aficio-

Community, Attention Michelle

School of Texas or Princeton University.

nado. She supported many charities, was an early board member of Lambda Legal,

Wooley, Director of Philanthropy, 1617

Charles “Daniel” Bergfeld ’58, 77,

and was a longtime board member of the

To offer condolences to the family, please visit www.highlandscare.com.

died at home peace-

She is survived by her partner of 16

fully in Vero Beach,

years, Carolyn J. Cole, and brothers Robert

Thomas S. Adams ’54,

FL, on Sept. 25,

C. Graham Jr. ’56 and Michael C. Graham.

82, died June 13,

battle with cancer.

Hendersonville Road, Asheville, NC, 28803.

2020 in Dallas,

Overbrook Foundation.

2020, after a long Following Country

Susan Lamont ’67 died Dec. 24, 2019, of cancer. She is survived by her

of complications

School, Dan attended Milton Academy,

sister Pamela Lamont ’64 and her cousin

following hip

and received a BA from Yale College in

Chris Rafferty and his wife, Sara.


1965, where he was a proud T1 with the

NCCS, he attended Princeton University,

from the Stephens Institute of Technology.

Peter Goddard Bronson ’68,

where he lettered in basketball and

He is survived by his wife, Holly

66, died July 18,

baseball. He would go on to earn an

Adams; stepchildren Lisa (Pope) Ward,

2020, at his

MA from Harvard University.

Andrew Regier and Abby Regier (Burton

Norwalk home, of

Tom had a 47-year tenure at St. Mark’s

Fletcher) and grandsons Tucker, Chris,

prostate cancer.

School of Texas teaching U.S. history, art

Briley and William; brother-in-law John

Following Country

history, and modern world history. As a

Adams (Melissa), sisters Lisa Bergfeld

School, he attended

varsity coach, “The Hawk” won 21 SPC

Soleau ’63 and Kristin Bergfeld ’59,

the Dublin School in Dublin, NH, and the

championships (six in basketball and 15

stepsister Trina Mansfield Bayles ’64

International School in Vienna, Austria. It

in baseball). Additionally, Tom served as

and nephews Jason and Tyler Soleau.

was during his time in Europe that Peter

a co-sponsor in the junior/senior rotation

He was predeceased by his mother, Tina

became a committed Christian. He later

and held the Cecil and Ida Green Master

Mansfield, his father Albert Bergfeld, and

attended Pacific Christian College in

Teaching Chair in History. Tom was the

his stepfather Walter Mansfield.

Fullerton, CA.

recipient of seven Marksmen yearbook

Contributions in his name may be made

He is survived by his wife of 17 years,

dedications. In 2016, the Thomas S. Adams

to a musical organization of your choice,

Ornella Mattera, daughter Sarah Danielle

Master Teaching Chair was given by a

or to his favorites: Greenwich Choral

Ingalls Jones of Seattle, sister Amy

collective group of alumni to honor his

Society (Greenwich, CT), Vero Beach

Bronson Key of Falmouth, MA, and Elbow

longtime service to teaching and coaching

Choral Society (FL), Sea Oaks Chorus (FL).

Key, The Bahamas, stepsister Phoebe


Whiffenpoofs. He later received his MBA

at the school. Additionally, the Thomas S.

Hodge Farmer and stepbrother Rex Hodge. After obtaining his U.S. Coast Guard

ally to a graduating senior student-athlete

Kathryn “Kathy” Graham ’62,

for exemplary performance and sports-

73, died suddenly

years as a yacht captain in various loca-

manship. Tom is survived by his loving

and tragically from

tions, including Ft. Lauderdale, FL, San

and devoted wife Marcy; his stepsons,

a fall on Aug. 28,

Diego and Long Beach, CA, and Cabo

Travis Waldrop and his wife Jacquelyn

2020, at her home

San Lucas, Mexico. One of the highlights

of Atlanta, Tim Waldrop and his wife

in Stamford.

of his career was captaining a large yacht

Adams Athletic Plaque is awarded annu-

Stephanie of Seattle, and Mark Waldrop

Following Country

captain’s license, he worked for many

through the Panama Canal.

of Seattle; his brother Taggart Adams ’56

School, Kathryn attended The Ethel

To offer online condolences to

and his wife Inta of Wilton, CT; his sister

Walker School, Skidmore College and the

the family, please visit www.gallagher

Lucy Adams Billings ’63 and her husband

Columbia School of Social Work where


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Peter H. Wright ’68, 67, of California, formerly of New Canaan and Jamestown, RI, passed away May 4, 2020. An emeritus professor at California University of Pennsylvania, Peter devoted his career to engaging and empowering college students in the field of technology education. Following graduation from Yale University, he served in the Peace Corps in Zaire from 1976 to 1978. Peter had a passion for live music, playing in bands throughout his lifetime. He ran a weekly open mic at a community arts center in California for 10 years. He loved sailing and kayaking with friends and family, and spending time in his beloved

A Legacy of Love & Flowers Ann Gamble Blechta, of Osprey, FL, formerly of New Canaan, died suddenly at Sarasota Memorial Hospital April 7, 2020, of heart failure, not related to coronavirus. Ann will be remembered for her complete devotion to her family, her boundless generosity, her concern for others, her creative spirit, and her love of flowers, butterflies and birds. She is survived by daughters Daphne Gamble Macnaughton ’71 and Christine Gamble Brooks ’75. Her son, Robert Gamble ’82, died while a fifth grade student at Country School, of leukemia. Named in his memory, the school’s Robert Gamble Award is presented annually to the student who exemplifies, to the highest measure, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Each year since Robert’s 1978 passing, Ann has gifted the school a bushel of daffodil bulbs, which students have planted around campus. It was her wish to spread joy and beauty in the place where Robert felt happiest. ©ALICJA NEUMILER/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He is survived by his wife, Lydia “Lee”


Stivers, sons Matthew S. Wright of Tokyo,

College ’78, Harvard University and the

dean of graduate and continuing medical

Japan, and Noah D. Wright of Austin,

George Washington University School of

education. She was later promoted to

TX, stepson, Stuart Young, a sister,

Medicine ’87. She completed a residency

senior associate dean for faculty affairs

Mary “Missy” Wright Engelhard ’70, a

in internal medicine in 1990 at the

and professional development, a position

brother Tim Wright ’71, sister-in-law B.B.

Harvard Medical School and New England

she held at her death.

Wright, former wife Karen DeGrange,

Deaconess Hospital, now Beth Israel

She enjoyed cooking and working

stepsister Julie Hansen, stepmother

Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston.

in her garden and was a fan of poetry,

Mary S. Wright, stepfather Don MacNary,

From 1992 to 1994, she was a fellow

literature and animals.

daughter-in-law Elizabeth Buchanan, and

in general internal medicine and clinician

In addition to her husband, Dr. Mark

many nieces and nephews.

educator track at the Johns Hopkins School

H. Lowitt , she is survived by a son,

Donations may be made in his memory

of Medicine, and from 1993 to 1994 was

Alexander R. Lowitt of Homeland; two

to the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis

also a facilitator-in-training in the Johns

daughters, Amy R. Lowitt of Harbor

and Elkins College, Elkins, WV, to support

Hopkins Faculty Development Program

East and Diana R. Lowitt of Homeland;

traditional music and arts education:

in teaching skills, also at the school of

and her mother, Lynne Raymond Ryan


medicine, and in 1996, she completed a

of Timonium. She was predeceased by

curriculum development program there.

brother Bill Ryan ’72.

Dr. Nancy Ryan Lowitt ’70,

Nancy served as assistant, associate

64, of Homeland,

General Internal Residency Program

Scott William Goeglein ’80,

MD, died May 18,

at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical

56, died Nov. 21,

2020, at Greater

Center, and as a teaching attending in

2020 in Meridian,

Baltimore Medical

a primary care clinical practice. In 1998,

ID, following several

Center, from

she was elected to the American College

strokes. He is

complications of

of Physicians, and the next year joined

survived by his wife,

and finally as program director of the

metastatic breast cancer.

the University of Maryland School of

Following Country School, she

Medicine as an assistant professor,

dren, Gabby (Max) and Gage (Chloe). Scott

attended Dana Hall School, Middlebury

subsequently being appointed associate

was a doting father and enjoyed a true


Lulu, and his chil-


partnership with Lulu. His gentle nature

Rosenberg, daughters Bess ’09 and Ella ’12

He is predeceased by his first wife

and silly sense of humor will be sorely

and their partners Parker Ziegler and César

Joan Horgan, who died in 1989 after a

missed. In true Scott fashion, he saved four

Ignacio Pérez De la Rosa.

long struggle with cancer. He is survived

lives through multiple organ donations.

Memorials may be made to: Optimist

by his second wife, Lois Keates, as well

Club of Las Cruces (attn Scorpion Bike

as his five children, Wendy ’65, Patricia

Club www.lascrucesoptimistclub.org/

Horgan-Howell ’65, John “Chip” ’68,


Matthew ’71, and Martha Horgan

Faculty & Staff

Leroy Anderson, 63,

Gantsoudes ’72; his three stepchildren,

Hugh Whitman Sr., 93, of Monroe,

Debra, Nancy and Harry Keates; and his

died Dec. 27, 2020, in Wilmington, DE.

died May 30, 2020.

children, including Sarah Gantsoudes ’00

A veteran of the

and Spencer Gantsoudes ’02.

A 29-year member of the NCCS

U.S. Army, he taught

Maintenance Team

at Country School

(1986–2015), Leroy

for over 30 years

was a valuable colleague and friend to all he met. In remarks made at a retirement

10 grandchildren and seven step-grand-

Dr. Robert “Bob” Jay Schneider, 71, of

(1954–1991). Hugh is predeceased by his wife, Mary

Bedford, NY, passed

party in his honor, former Head of School

Conant Whitman, who also taught at

away on Oct. 1,

Tim Bazemore remembered him as “a

Country School (1967–1991). Survivors

2020, at home.

loving family man with a heart of gold

include his children, Hugh Whitman

and a great sense of humor,” and former

Jr. ’67, Michael Whitman, Steven

Trustee Susan Schulz said, “Leroy was

Whitman ’70, and Elizabeth Whitman

School, Boston University and The

always on the job, ensuring that school

Memishian ’76, nine grandchildren,

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He

could open. Over the years he touched

Kathryn Whitman, Joshua Whitman,

trained in internal medicine at Jacobi

so many aspects of school life, all the

Michelle Whitman, Mike Whitman Jr.,

Hospital, after which he completed his

while with enthusiasm and a smile. He

Jennifer Whitman, David Whitman, Brian

oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan

was deeply cared for by everyone in the

Whitman, Wendy Memishian and Eric

Kettering. In 1981, while affiliated with

school community.”

Memishian, and four great-grandchildren,

Memorial Sloan Kettering, he began a

Bryce Whitman, Nicholas Davenport, and

private practice in Northern Westchester

Bella and Mia Whitman.

where he devoted himself to his patients

Bob Hepner, 58,

Bob attended the Fieldston

died Sept. 27, 2020

throughout the remainder of his life.

in Las Cruces, NM,

Bob served on the board of New

of cancer.


Canaan Country School (1988–1995) and was involved in fundraising at the

teaching visual arts

John Poole Horgan Jr., 96,

at Country School

a World War II

and was a patron of the arts and was

(1996–2001), Bob

In addition to

Lawrenceville School. He had a love for

veteran and one of

an avid reader on an endless quest for

taught art at the Smith College Campus

the nation’s first

enlightenment. He will be remembered

School for fifteen years. An active commu-

venture capitalists,

for his widespread generosity, devotion to

nity volunteer, he helped out as a cook at

died June 9, 2020,

family and fondness for his Weimaraners.

of natural causes.

Bob is survived by his wife, Barbara,

the Amherst Survival Center and designed and helped build a playground for Leverett

In addition to New Canaan Country

his son, Matthew ’93 (Michelle) of

Elementary School. In his short time living

School, which all his children attended,

Montclair, NJ, his daughter, Kirsten

in Las Cruces, he was a Justice Advocate,

he served on the board of Beloit

Schneider Ayaz ’97 (Neil) of Ridgefield,

a volunteer for AVID in the Chihuahuan

College, which a daughter attended. He

CT, and his three grandchildren, Zachary,

Desert (working with detainees at the

organized conservation efforts in New

Isabel and Maya.

Otero Detention Center), a bus driver for

Canaan and on Nantucket Island, MA,

The family asks that any donations in

Las Cruces Public Schools, and a rider with

where he and his family began spending

his memory be made to Memorial Sloan

middle schoolers in the Scorpion Bike

summers in the 1960s and where he

Kettering Cancer Center.

Club. He is survived by his partner Lauren

took up competitive sailing.

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Howard R. Greene of Wilton

graduate and professional schools.

a dozen books and host of two national

Howard was deeply committed to the

PBS programs on educational and

and Lakeville, CT,

belief that given the right educational

financial planning, as a board member of

passed away peace-

opportunities, all children could thrive.

the Wilton Library Association, and as an

fully in his sleep

Driven by this principle, Howard was dedi-

Elder of the First Presbyterian Church of

Sept. 12, 2020,

cated to increasing educational access for

New Canaan, Howard worked tirelessly

at home.

all students, which he enacted as a board

to spread his expertise widely and in his

member of A Better Chance and Horizons

home community.

ated Dartmouth College in 1959 and

National, organizations focused on

In addition to his wife of 46 years,

received graduate degrees from New

opening the doors of independent schools

Laurie Sheldon Greene, Howard is

York University in history and American

to under-served children.

survived by his children, Adam, Matthew,

studies and from the Harvard Graduate

Howard also shared his strategic and

Katharine “Kate” ’95 and Andrew ’02,

School of Education.

educational guidance as a trustee of New

and his six grandchildren.

Utilizing his experience as an

Canaan Country School (1994–1998),

The family asks that any donations

Associate Dean of Admissions at

Choate Rosemary Hall, Berkeley Divinity

made in Howard’s memory be made

Princeton University, Howard founded

School at Yale, the Connecticut chapter

to Dartmouth Partners in Community

a profession in 1968 when he began

of the National Endowment for the Arts,

Service through the Dartmouth Center

privately counseling students through

and the National Advisory Board of the

for Social Impact, Wilton Library

the educational planning process

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship

Association, or any other educational

from secondary school and college to

Foundation. As the author of more than

or public library organization.

Howard gradu-

We offer our condolences to the family and friends of the following members of our extended community: Kenneth Ambrecht Father of Justine Mullin ’88, K.C. ’90, Reeves ’93 and Townie ’99 Donald Brigham Jr. Father of Michael ’76, Chris ’78, Jean ’79 and Kathleen ’82 Margaret “Miggie” Bryan Mother of Chris ’72, Peter ’74, Sukey ’76 and Sallie ’80 Daisy Dillan Mother of Food Services Worker Neville Brevitt Pamela Dimond Renwick Dimond Parents of Ren ’82 and Ashley Dimond Giese ’83 Edwin Green Grandfather of Anya Mohindra-Green 16, Sophie Mohindra-Green ’16 and Kieran Mohindra-Green ’22 Thomas Greig Grandfather of Finn ’29 and Charlie ’32



Hugh Hall Father of Elizabeth Hall ’22 David Hastings Father of Grade 4 Teacher John Hastings Jed Isaacs Husband of Former Faculty Sue Isaacs (1976–1990), father of Jane Isaacs Schoenholtz ’80, and grandfather of Katelyn Schoenholtz ’12, Megan Schoenholtz ’13 and Teddy Schoenholtz ’17 Francisca Jimenez Mother of Food Services Worker Yahaira Mendez Len Levitt Father of Jen ’97 and Mike ’00 Marion Lister Mother of Grade 5 Teacher Wendy Root Kenneth Peters Father of Xandy ’04 Elizabeth Pfohl Grandmother of Ben Bilden ’21, James Bilden ’24, Caroline Bilden ’27 and Zach Bilden ’29

Frederick Reding Father of Early Childhood Assistant Teacher and Physical Education Teacher Byron Reding Antonio Romeo Father-in-law of Co-Director of Secondary School Counseling and Upper School Learning Resources Teacher Lauren Romeo, and grandfather of Antonio ’21 and Lilah ’24 Thomas Schultz Father of Ivy ’96 and Greg ’99 Cleo Siderides Mother of Elizabeth Theofanidis ’74 and Elliot ’75, and grandmother of John ’05, Andrew ’07 and Cleo ’10 Annika Sotirhos Mother of Sabrina ’15, Celia ’17, Alexander ’20 and Sophia ’21 Terrence Tashji Father of Performing Arts Teacher Laura Tashji Clauss Linda Upson Grandmother of Stewart ’23 and Daphne ’24


From World War II to COVID-19,

a History of Resilience at NCCS By Archivist Mark Macrides

orld events have indeed brought many challenges

contribute positively. Recent events have had a similar impact.

as well as many learning opportunities to our campus

In spite of the pandemic and the challenges of balancing our

during the school’s 105-year history. Country School

own needs and concerns with those of our students and families,


has met each of these events with a focus on providing a safe

school has continued to thrive on campus. The world of COVID-19

and secure environment for our students and families, and

has brought hardship, fear and a sense of loss to the corner of

leveraged them with opportunities for personal growth and

Frogtown and Ponus, but it has also brought opportunities to

a greater understanding of our place in the world. As we

engage our students differently, chances to try new ideas and

navigate this extraordinary time in history, I have been

reasons to challenge our students to think beyond the norms.

thinking about the beginning of the 1940s, which stood

Our teachers have embraced these moments not necessarily by

out as a time, and in many ways seemed very similar to

choice but clearly by desire — desire to be present on campus,

these last several months on campus.

working with children and continuing to be the physical represen-

World War II was starting to engulf Europe, and Henry

tation of our mission and values. Challenge and uncertainty have

Welles had recently arrived in New Canaan. The proceeds from

inspired creativity and determination!

the March 1941 issue of the Frogtown Monthly supported

As I think more about the faculty and staff of the early

Greek War Relief, and by February 1942, student editors were

1940s, I applaud their courage, determination, selflessness and

calling for the entire community to work together for the war

dedication to their responsibility. Not unexpectedly, today we

effort. The fourth grade sold $1,400 worth of war bonds and

see the same care, compassion, determination and selflessness

stamps that contributed to the school raising enough money

from our current faculty and staff — characteristics that have

to purchase a “Quack” amphibian Jeep for the Army. By the

sustained NCCS during unexpected and unprecedented events.

mid-1940s, much of the school’s focus was on the war, including

My hope for this incredible group of educators is that 75 or

extensive plans for teachers and staff members to move

80 years from now, they continue to be honored and remem-

children out of buildings and into low-lying areas of the

bered for their vital role in the same vein as our amazing 1940s

grounds in the event of an air raid.

colleagues. Fortune Favors the Bold!

Through all of that fear, anxiety and uncertainty, due to the incredible efforts of the NCCS faculty and staff, school continued and students learned not only their lessons, but also a greater sense of their role in the world and their responsibility to

Above: During World War II, roller skating parties in the Assembly Hall were held to raise funds for British war relief. This photograph was taken in the fall of 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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