While we weren’t able to gather in person to honor our deserving faculty, we still want to recognize their outstanding accomplishments. Congratulations to all our award-winners!
These three coaches will be attending the US Olympic Trials for Track and Field in the epicenter for all US Track and Field athletes: Eugene, Oregon. There, they will have the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best coaches as they prepare their athletes for the trials. In attending the trials and meeting with these outside coaches individually, they will gain valuable insight and understanding into the most elite practices that can be immediately implemented in their work with the athletes here at MICDS. As a bonus, they will support several former MICDS Track and Field athletes who are competing. The trip will serve as an elevated opportunity to strengthen their relationships built on athletic achievement that will in turn help build and strengthen the foundation of the MICDS Track & Field teams.
Steven will be traveling to Senegal in West Africa to experience the country’s remarkable history and rich culture firsthand. This trip will be an immersion into the non-Westernized francophone world and into a culture that, for all its cosmopolitanism, is distinctly different from his own. This gained knowledge and worldview will be developed into expanded curriculum and experiences for MICDS students, including possible travel opportunities to visit cultural centers outside the United States such as the new Museum of Black Civilizations and the House of Slaves on Gorée Island. It will also help further the World Language Department’s work to elevate non-European francophone cultures within French studies while supporting the MICDS mission to educate informed citizens of the world who “embrace all its people with compassion.” Outside the classroom, Steven plans to share this experience with the wider MICDS community through our assemblies, STLinSTL and Winter Term, hoping to invite in MICDS families of West African descent to share aspects of their own heritage.
Missy will be attending the Broadway Teachers Workshop in New York City, put on by the Broadway Theater Group (BTG). During this three-day conference, Missy will participate in masterclasses with professionals working on Broadway, attend productions and post-show discussions with cast members, and expand her knowledge of the most current teaching methods and advanced production skills. Drawing on this experience, she will be able to guide her students here at MICDS through a more meaningful and authentic journey, tapping into a wide range of interests including writing, directing, performing and the technical aspects of putting on a production. Her experience will also allow her to be an even better resource for students, colleagues and the entire MICDS community.
These two Beasley teachers will be attending PBL World, the world’s most highly regarded Project Based Learning training, in Napa, California. As Project-Based Learning is a required part of Beasley’s curriculum, the information presented to Kelly and Ghada will be valuable not only for them, but for their colleagues in the Lower School and across divisions. This opportunity will provide a chance for extended hands-on experience with top minds in Project Based Learning and the exchange of ideas with like-minded educators from across the US and around the world.
In an effort to help bring the Age of Exploration to life for himself and his students, Chris will be travelling to Lisbon, Madrid, London and Portsmouth. These cities were the beginning of three European empires’ quests for wealth and power. During his time there, Chris will tour historical sites, museums and neighborhoods, allowing him to teach his 6th and 8th grade history lessons on this topic with greater clarity and passion. The trip will also be a continuation of his passion to more deeply explore the history that led to the current world and its many different cultures. Beyond his classes, Chris hopes to share his experience with his colleagues and the community through presentations, the “Every Child, Every Day” newsletter and other MICDS communications and social media platforms.
Next summer, Barb will be attending the “Kids, Choir and Drums” course presented by World Music Drumming. While she states that “singing is the backbone of the Beasley music program,” she also places great importance on rhythmic competency skills and the use of various percussion instruments for her Beasley students. This course will be an opportunity to work with educators from across the country to develop teaching strategies that combine these skills. Additionally, the focus on West African, Latin and Caribbean drumming and song will enable her to bring an enhanced global view to the repertoire her students learn and present to the community.
In preparation for facilitating the World Peace Game here at MICDS, Courtney will be attending the World Peace Game Master Class with the game’s creator, John Hunter. As Courtney describes it, the World Peace Game is a “massive political simulation game that invites students to develop compassion and critical thinking skills in an engaging environment.” During this master class, she will learn the ideas and beliefs behind the game, observe students playing and attend workshops focused on “designing problem-based lessons, facilitating student-based ownership of learning and open-space curriculum design.” After attending, she hopes to not only offer the game as a Winter Term course for Upper School students, but to further develop and incorporate this learning into the curriculum.
Sarah will be attending “Approaching Walden,” a six-day seminar for educators at the Walden Woods Project in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The workshop will model Thoreau’s example of living deliberately and provide discussions and sessions on Transcendentalism, social reform, conservation and the environment, historic land use, nature journaling and of course, Thoreau’s life and writing. In the end, Sarah plans to use her enhanced knowledge and Thoreau’s ideas and philosophies to co-create a Winter Term course focused on building relationships with the natural world around us here in the Midwest.
Krystal will be attending the Park City Mathematics Institute in Utah for a three-week “Teacher Leadership Program,” where she will attend daily classes on developing mathematical ideas and number sense, consider and reflect on assessment and feedback practices with fellow math educators, and contribute to the profession by creating an end product with a Working Group. She is hoping to be a part of the Working Group “School Mathematics for Social Change,” which will allow her to combine her passions of teaching math and working towards social justice. In this group, she will learn to empower students to take risks, position them as “doers of mathematics,” and encourage them to be facilitators of social change. Krystal is hoping to spark actionable steps from this experience to bring back to the MICDS community as well as reconnect her with the student perspective.
Talent? Check. Patience? Check. Sense of humor? Check. This is the triple threat that makes Josh’s classroom such a remarkable place to learn. Across multiple grade levels, Josh spends his days balancing a wide range of students and all that it takes to help them find their love for music. And it starts with the connection. He quickly learns the names and interests of his students, he shows up at lunch and recess and assemblies with a smile and a willingness to chat, and he finds ways to extend the reach of his program across the full community. Students know that there are high expectations in this class and are willing to work hard to create the sounds that make it all worthwhile. Always a champion for the beauty of music, we congratulate Josh Baumgartner as the recipient of this award.
Becky is relentless in her commitment to both students and her discipline. Similarly, she shares the fruits of her work in the classroom with the community in a variety of venues and supports students and colleagues in the process. With infectious enthusiasm and creativity, this teacher encourages her students to work collaboratively, to explore creativity and to make great music in the process.
A strong contributor to the well-being of the Lower School community, Sue always goes above and beyond in helping both her colleagues and her students. Her work with students serves as evidence of her deep commitment to promoting high standards for physical literacy as well as to the social-emotional growth of every child she interacts with daily in grades JK-4. Sue cares deeply about her relationships with students and with all of the teachers, and she is the first to lend a hand when anyone is in need. She empowers her students to develop confidence in their ability to tackle any physical challenge.
While the demands of championing and shepherding a senior class through the highs and lows of their final year on campus are always a challenge, this year’s pandemic and its interruption of so many senior milestones invoked even greater obstacles. Never one to shrink from responsibilities, Nicole took on these daunting odds with her typical aplomb and nurturing commitment to her students and the Class of 2020 as a whole. In so doing, she modeled the importance of resilience and adaptability as both backbones of great teaching and great learning as well.
While impossible to quantify, it is hard to imagine a more qualified recipient of the Extra Effort Award. Dedicated, patient and skilled, Pat goes out of his way day in and day out to ensure a rich and meaningful learning experience for every single Middle School student. Whether it is providing a department with training on a specific new application or spending time with 5th grade Flexplorations or co-teaching with a colleague, Pat always finds the time to offer his time and talent to the community. This has been especially true as we navigated the onboarding of distance learning. He has spent countless hours preparing the technology behind the scenes to provide students and faculty with the tools and capacity needed for success. His fierce commitment to best practices is unparalleled and, while he doesn’t occupy the physical space, there is no doubt that every middle school classroom is a better place because of Pat Woessner.
Dana has established himself as a tireless proponent of student learning and is a lifelong learner himself. He epitomizes that axiom of great teaching: the most impactful teachers adeptly manage to challenge their students in profound ways while also making each and every one of them feel empowered, supported and capable. He is devoted to his discipline and is a masterful teacher of the most complicated concepts. Given that his students are often called to demonstrate their learning in public performances, Dana puts in significant effort to provide our broader community with powerful and beautiful examples of the arts in action.
Student-centered is the name of the game for Lev. Students in his classroom know from the very first day that they are in a space where risks are safely taken, mistakes are moments of growth, and support is always in supply. Math can easily intimidate and he goes out of his way to show that there is great beauty in the numbers and great joy in the solutions. Students’ points of view shift and their confidence blossoms as they make connections and deepen their understanding of complex mathematical concepts under Lev’s remarkably positive and energizing direction. As an extension of the classroom, he has also built an impressive collection of instructional videos to offer learners additional resources for their lessons—just another way to be sure they feel secure in their learning. Always a positive presence, it is a delight to honor Lev Guter with this award.
We all know that the secret to great teaching is not just what takes place in the classroom, but also what happens far ahead of the lessons. For Branson, the exceptional preparation and planning are quite evident as one watches a lesson unfold. Just as a scientist might design an experiment, these lessons reflect a clear intention of goals and a well-scaffolded plan to be sure students achieve these targets. Mix in high standards, an understanding of developmental needs and innovative technology (as well as a few moments of fire and destruction) and you have all of the elements of a very engaging science classroom. Our youngest Middle Schoolers benefit greatly from the outstanding dedication and talents of Branson Lawrence.
Kind and earnest and deeply contemplative, Chris is committed to ensuring that his students grow as thinkers. His care for his students and his passion for understanding the human brain and its influence on the human condition are both central to who he is as a teacher and a coach. He is a thought leader in his department and our division as a whole and frequently presents emerging brain research that directs and deepens our commitment to social-emotional learning.
Few teachers are as committed to service to colleagues as Andy is. He is always the first to volunteer to cover a class or help with an activity. Similarly, he is devoted to supporting students in their intellectual interests as well. Over the course of the past couple of years, he has resurrected and championed a resurgent Debate program and his mentorship has been celebrated by the students in his charge as well as their parents. His success is rooted in his commitment to the well-being of those around him, and his students respond by embracing the learning experience that his classroom has to offer.
Kelly brings a patient yet resolute approach to her work with students that is quickly mirrored in how they respond. Her classroom is a place of high expectations and similarly elevated support. She cares deeply about her craft and her discipline, not to mention the students in her care. As a result, the learning that takes place under her tutelage is remarkable and clearly reflected in AP Chemistry scores and other indicators. She is a mentor to her students, a model for her colleagues and truly a master teacher.
It takes only but a few moments to fully immerse in Emily’s classroom experience. Cheery, organized and well-paced, students happily settle into the routines of language acquisition under her careful guidance. Everywhere you look, there is positivity, routine and structure intentionally designed to help students make the most of their time in Spanish. Always aligned with best practices, Emily goes above and beyond to craft lessons that bring the language and culture to life and to prepare students with the foundations needed for countless joyful years of Spanish studies. A masterful practitioner and revered colleague, Emily Coppersmith is truly deserving of this award.
An innovative teacher who recognizes the importance of leading by example, Maggie sets high expectations for all of her students from the start. She carefully assesses and measures student growth and then works with her students to help them understand the areas where they can improve. Maggie is tireless in her efforts to help each child become more independent as a learner. She celebrates every success, encouraging and guiding students through the ups and downs of learning, and her enthusiasm and passion for working with 2nd graders are evident. Her students are eager to share their ideas and to celebrate every milestone they achieve with Maggie.
Denise is a master of her craft, a skill that impacts the learning and creative growth of her students. Her commitment to supporting the hard work and creativity of others truly sets Denise apart and this work ethic extends far beyond her time with students. She works to manage the Messing Gallery rotation of artwork from a variety of artists and mediums. From communication with artists to the enormous task of moving an exhibition’s worth of work into position, she lends her artistic vision and commitment to the community to the installation of art for the MICDS community to enjoy.
The true measure of a teacher’s impact is as much about the relationships they form beyond just what is evident in their classroom. To be fair, five minutes spent in Al’s classroom confirms that there are rich relationships and learning in place as a result. But to truly understand his impact on students is to experience the radiance with which former students expound on him as a teacher, a mentor and a human being. A significant health issue threatened to both pull Al out of the classroom this year and also threw his ability to communicate with students effectively in jeopardy. With extraordinary humor, courage and grace, this teacher fought through daunting challenges and did not miss a single day of classes this year and remains a similarly impressive communicator against all odds. There are no words for how important Al Begrowicz is to our Upper School community. He is a master educator.
Calm, quiet, peaceful…these are not the first images that come to mind when thinking about a Middle School class but they are exactly what you can expect when you visit Summer. Students have the gift of stepping out of the hustle of their busy days and into a space where time slows down and their minds and bodies can benefit from relaxation and mindfulness. In the dance studio, students are welcomed with a soothing routine that teaches them the benefits of breathing, stretching and clearing the mind. In addition to yoga, students also have the chance to experience the beauty of dance and creative movement with this talented teacher. With so much expertise and a warm presence, students are truly lucky to find themselves in a class with Summer Beasley.
Bridget forms deep relationships with each of her young students. She embraces the students’ interests and the emotions they so easily share as they learn how to interact with peers in a school setting, and she is able to find humor in even the most challenging of situations. Her empathetic nature helps her build strong partnerships with all of her families, and she embraces the students’ interests and their opportunities for growth, designing creative and differentiated learning tasks to meet each child where they are to help them grow both academically and socially.
Lower School Recipient: Greg Stevens
Remarks by: Christy Moore
This Sesquicentennial award could not go to a more deserving person. He is always willing to step in whenever and wherever he is needed. His most common response to a question is “Sure.” Greg, can you take my carpool? “Sure.” Greg, can you cover my playground duty? “Sure.” Greg, can you step in at lunch? “Sure.” Not only does he value helping his colleagues, but he consistently puts the needs of the students first. Greg is frequently found on the playground interacting and mentoring the students. Every month, he compiles the goings-on around Lower School and crafts the ever-famous “Beasley Broadcast.” Greg is always willing to stop what he is doing to help solve your problem. During our distance learning, Greg was invaluable at keeping all of the online platforms (as well as the teachers) running smoothly. He invariably puts the needs of the school first. When he was due to retire and realized that this would be a difficult time to get a replacement, he put his retirement on hold. My hat is off to Greg for being an amazing person and a good friend.
Middle School Recipient: Pat Woessner
Remarks by: Mark Duvall
David Hasselhoff. Seinfeld. Golden Girls. A Chinese gong. These are all examples of gifts Pat Woessner has mysteriously placed in my office these last four years while we have been neighbors. Every single one of them has a meaning and a purpose; every single one of them made us laugh together, strengthened our relationship, and made us better colleagues. I am not unique in the relationship I have with Pat. Countless others in the Middle School and the MICDS community have a great relationship with Mr. Woessner. I know this because his office door is open, and I see the number of people that pass by daily. Need canvas help? Pat is the go-to. Have a computer issue? Pat is a must. Want a new technological tool? Pat is there to explore. He is a person of many skills. We are lucky to have him. More impressive are the bonds he creates with students. Each year, a small group of 6th and 7th graders create a home in his office during FLEX, recess or any other free time. These students flock there because they feel safe; they appreciate him and want to be there. Like those students, so many of us enjoy being around Mr. Woessner that we visit him daily. Very simply, Mr. Woessner, thank you for always being there.
Upper School Recipient: Janet Purdy
Remarks by: Brian Coco
Getting to know someone can often be a challenge. For some, you need to spend a significant amount of time with the individual before you get to know the person. However, for Janet, all you need is a short conversation with her and you fully understand who she is. In five minutes, it will be obvious that Janet possesses an incredibly large and sincere heart, she has a passion for helping others, everyone is her friend, and she is willing to immediately get to work in order to accomplish a task. From day one, these were traits I knew Janet possessed. And, after working with Janet for several years, these traits remain the same. In fact, I am not the only individual who recognizes Janet’s positive traits. Proctor, one of Janet’s math cohorts, shared the same praises. He stated Janet is joyful, possesses an infectious enthusiasm and promotes a sense of warmth and productive engagement. Janet is a perfect recipient of this award because she knows no boundaries when it comes to helping students, colleagues and the mission of the school. Janet has been and continues to be a wonderful asset to the MICDS community!