Harpeth Hall celebrated and recognized its outstanding faculty at a special All-School Assembly on Monday, May 7th.
Assembly began with a warm welcome from Judi O'Brien, Director of the Middle School, and Armistead Lemon, Director of the Upper School. Seniors, Lia Hayduk and Bushra Rahman shared reflections of their time at Harpeth Hall, and the impact their teachers have had on their lives. Through humorous stories of accidentally calling a teacher mom and being lost on the first day of 6th grade in the Middle School hallway, Lia and Bushra both touched on the meaningful relationships they've built with teachers during their time at Harpeth Hall.
Praise for faculty and staff continued with remarks from Board of Trustees Chair, Emily Cate Tidwell '75. "Thank you for the gift of strength that you are building in each girl today and throughout all their years here." Tidwell thanked the faculty "for caring so much about the students and their potential and their futures." She closed,"Thank you for helping our girls discover their strength, realize their potential, and recognize their power to do good in the world. Because of you teachers, they have the strength to take on this charge."
Following a standing ovation for the faculty and staff, Judi O'Brien and Armistead Lemon began the recognition portion of assembly by recognizing faculty and staff "who have made long term commitments to Harpeth Hall, and who have provided continuity, strength and wisdom."
Harpeth Hall is thrilled to celebrate all of our faculty and staff members who were recognized for their commitment to our school for ten to thirty years.
Amy Evans, Associate Director of College Counseling
Cathy Richarde, Middle School Social Science, Middle School Tennis
Jenny Jervis, Upper School World Languages, Cross Country
Robert Womack, Upper School Latin and Art History, Varsity Bowling
Jingli Jurca, Upper School World Languages
Joan Curry, Visual Arts
Lisa Keen, Department Chair, Upper School Science, 5th Grade Cross Country
Nancy Turner, Department Chair, Performing Arts
Scottie Coombs, Director of Alumnae Relations
Denise Croker, Upper School English and Media Arts
Dora Biegl, Upper School Math
Janette Klocko, Theatre
Harpeth Hall also wants to recognize and thank Middle School Cross Country and Volleyball Coach, SEEK Program Chair, and English Department Chair, Mrs. Pamela Carver, for her twelve years of service to Harpeth Hall. This school is better because of her, and we wish her well in her retirement.
The final portion of the assembly focused on three faculty awards given to exceptional faculty members based on each award's respective criteria as well as recognizing Emily Cate Tidwell '75 for her "steadfast devotion to Harpeth Hall".
Heath Jones Prize for the Promise of Excellence in Teaching
The Heath Jones Prize for the Promise of Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Dr. Adrianne Jacobs, Upper School Social Science Teacher. This prize is dedicated to A. Heath Jones, teacher and academic dean at Harpeth Hall from 1984 to 1996. It is awarded to a full-time teacher who has had five-years or less of classroom experience, and who has taught at Harpeth Hall for two years or more.
Upper School Director, Armistead Lemon, spoke to Dr. Jacob's time at Harpeth Hall. "In her two-years at Harpeth Hall, she has won the hearts of both students and colleagues alike for her inventiveness and collaboration. Her innovative work in her department has led to significant and forward thinking changes including the wildly successful Colombian Exchange Project that launched this year...Most importantly, she listens to and knows her students well....Her classroom is a space for invention and risk-taking that allows her students to thrive and find the joy in curiosity and learning."
Lulu Hampton Owen Chair for Excellence in Teaching - Benny Abraham
The Lulu Hampton Owen Chair for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Benny Abraham, World Languages Teacher. This recognition is awarded annually to an outstanding member of the Harpeth Hall faculty who demonstrates excellence in scholarship, an unusual ability to communicate with students, excitement about teaching and learning, a commitment to the moral and intellectual development of students,and dedication to the life of the school. The appointment is for one year, and carries with it honor, remuneration, and a Harpeth Hall chair which serves as a symbol for this award.
Middle School Director, Judi O'Brien spoke to Abraham's time at Harpeth Hall. "This recipient is not only a true academic and scholar of his subject. He also understands and easily interprets its significance in the broader context of history and place. His field of study is not merely a passion for this teacher, it is deep within his core. He possesses the intellectual prowess of any member of the faculty at Harpeth Hall or any college or university yet he chooses to keep the flame burning for our youngest and eldest students in order to produce a new generation of scholars."
Ellen Bowers Hofstead Chair in the Humanities
The Ellen Bowers Hofstead Chair was awarded to Dr. Mary Ellen Pethel, Upper School Social Science Department Chair and School Archivist. This award was established by James W. Hofstead in loving memory of his wife, Ellen Bowers Hofstead. Mrs. Hofstead was a 1934 graduate of Ward-Belmont Preparatory School, and a 1935 graduate of Ward-Belmont Junior College. The Chair is awarded for a period of three years. Candidates will have demonstrated a high level of distinction in learning and teaching, have earned an advanced degree, and have made a full-time commitment to Harpeth Hall for a minimum of five years.
Upper School Director, Armistead Lemon, spoke to Dr. Pethel's time at Harpeth Hall. "Beloved for her engaging and witty story-telling and interdisciplinary approaches, students learn about the history of our country through analyses of art work and film or through projects that hone their digital skills. She has for years balanced her teaching and archival work at Harpeth Hall with significant writing projects. Publishing what seems to be a book a year...We have all learned much from this individual's cutting edge scholarship, historical research,and teaching pedagogy, it is perhaps who she is as a person that has instructed us the most. She has never met a stranger, and her kind and inclusive spirit touches everyone on this campus."
Closing the assembly, O'Brien and Lemon both gave heart-felt thank yous to Emily Cate Tidwell '75 for her unrelenting devotion to Harpeth Hall throughout the past four years as the Board of Trustees Chair and as Acting Head of School for the past three months. Lemon applauded Tidwell "for her integrity, her grace, and her wisdom", and O'Brien added, "Always attuned to mission, Mrs. Tidwell has lead us confidently. We will be forever grateful to her for the countless hours she has devoted to ensuring continuity and steadiness in the wake of our community's loss. Girls, this is what leadership looks like at Harpeth Hall. Mrs. Tidwell is the consummate model."
Watch the full assembly here.