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Faculty and Staff Honored for Excellence and Service
Faculty and Staff Honored for Excellence and Service

Distinguished Ravenscroft faculty and staff were recently recognized for their teaching excellence and service to the school. The awards, which were formally announced during Commencement, were shared with faculty and staff on Monday, May 14, during the Faculty and Staff Recognition Event and Reception. During the event, faculty and staff celebrated the winners of the Helton Award, the Qubain Award for Teaching Excellence and the Parents' Association Distinguished Faculty Award and honored their colleagues who are retiring.

The Helton Award, established in 1991 by Charles and Barbara Helton, recognizes excellence in teaching and distinguished service to Ravenscroft. The 2017-18 Helton Award winners are Woody Davis and S.K. Chipley (top left photo).

  • Woody Davis, maintenance supervisor, was recognized for his commitment to make sure projects and work are done right; for his ability to work with faculty and staff to find solutions and see them through to positive completion; and for his willingness to take on additional responsibilities and workload during an already busy summer.
  • S.K. Chipley, pianist and private lessons instructor, was recognized for her willingness to support students and colleagues in such a meaningful way that her work as an accompanist — while integral — often disappears into the texture of a production; for possessing skill and talent across a variety of genres; and for being a positive driving force behind the success of our students and ensembles across all three divisions.

The Qubain Award for Teaching Excellence was established by Janet and Munther Qubain in 2002 to recognize and reward excellent full-time teachers at Ravenscroft. The 2017-18 Qubain Award winners are Kat Belk, Emily Roach, Mary Craig Brown, Alfie Hobbs and Michelle Nunalee (top right photo).

  • Kat Belk, Upper School mathematics teacher and senior class dean, was recognized for her tireless commitment to her students, spending almost every tutorial, lunch and after-school time giving extra help; for her ability to make meaningful connections with those she teaches and those she does not; and her unique ability to get students to understand — and like — math.
  • Emily Roach, Middle School computer science and video production teacher, was recognized for her positive collaboration, bringing insight, ideas and a sense of humor to her work; for being a compassionate advisor and teacher; and for serving as a role model for women in science and STEM+ by teaching Digital Communication and Computer Science, as well as starting a Girls Who Code club at Ravenscroft.
  • Mary Craig Brown, kindergarten teacher, was recognized for her commitment to knowing her students well and differentiating instruction to meet their unique needs as learners and individuals; for always putting in extra time and energy to communicate and connect with students, parents, colleagues and the greater Ravenscroft community; and for her leadership in Lower School to develop a community focused on kindness and compassion.
  • Alfie Hobbs, Upper School computer science teacher, was recognized for being a changemaker who always places the students' interests and needs at the center of every action and decision; for his collaborative approach in classroom pedagogy and with his department colleagues aligning curriculum; and for his incredible work as an advisor, coach, teacher and faculty leader of the affinity group, My Brother's Keeper.
  • Michelle Nunalee, Middle School science and engineering teacher, was recognized for being a passionate, life-long learner who hones her pedagogy, expands her content knowledge and sharpens her skills; for using nature as a learning laboratory, helping students appreciate the world around them; and for serving as a role model and catalyst in developing the STEM+ program in Middle School, offering the first STEM+ course, Middle School Engineering, and helping to expand and support the program through other electives.

Mary Ripple, Lower School counselor, received the Parents' Association Distinguished Faculty Award, which honors, encourages and rewards excellence in teaching and was established by a special endowment in June 2000. Ripple (bottom right photo) was recognized for her steadfast commitment to the well-being of our young Ravens and their families; for being the driving force behind the "Secret Agents of Kindness," an anonymous group of Lower School students who shared encouraging notes across campus; and for her willingness to share her clinical training and experience with our community through the lens of Lead From Here.

The following retiring faculty and staff (bottom left photo) were recognized for their many years of service to the school:

  • Leana Stewart has served in the Ravenscroft community for 12 years as a Middle and Lower School Spanish instructor and as the director of Camp Ravens Nest. She has cultivated a great sense of curiosity and excitement for the Spanish language and culture, and her classroom has been a learning environment filled with joy. She has been able to share her artistic talents with her students as well, and one of the most memorable projects for students has been the third-grade weaving project.Retiring this year, five members of the faculty and staff were celebrated and their careers honored:
  • Ed Durham has served Ravenscroft for 21 years. Initially starting in our Middle School, he then moved to the Upper School, where he spent the next 11 years. Mr. Durham has also coached wrestling and football and taught math courses ranging from the middle grades to AP Statistics. His knack for being direct while empathetic has earned him a reputation among students and colleagues as a caring teacher and colleague who holds his students and athletes accountable.
  • Toni Katen (not pictured) began her 30-year career in the Upper School and then joined the Admissions Department in 1992. Over the past 26 years, she has been the first point of contact for thousands of families, having visited with parents, tested children, counseled families through the admissions process, and welcomed families into our school community. Her passion for Ravenscroft is obvious, and her tireless work and commitment is evident in all that she does.
  • For the past 38 years, Marcia Jones has been a Ravenscroft institution, respected by her colleagues and adored by her students past and present. Her office is a regular stomping ground for alumni who return to see her. As a longtime department chair, Ms. Jones has her fingerprints on much of the curriculum development and departmental philosophies that exist today. She has mentored dozens of master teachers and turned out hundreds, if not thousands, of readers and writers who are expertly prepared to tackle college and graduate-level work. She has been a dedicated advisor who forms strong connections with each cohort entrusted in her care.
  • With 40 years of service and the care for all of those around him, Ed Yohman has brightened our days with his unique sense of humor. Over his long career, he has given of himself in so many ways, serving as a math teacher, an advisor, a championship-level soccer coach, the service learning coordinator, and — believe it or not — Ravenscroft's first website developer. There is no doubt that Mr. Yohman is a man of many talents and skills. Above all, he is truly the salt of the earth, as shared through the Edward C. Yohman Character Award, given to seventh-grade students who demonstrate humility, leadership and integrity.

In addition, these faculty and staff members were recognized for their duration of service. Please join us in congratulating all of these distinguished members of our community.

10 Years of Service

Julie Cardillo, Middle School/Upper School visual arts teacher

Jim Gibbons, Assistant Athletic Director and P.E. teacher

Carmen Hernandez, Lower School world language teacher

Payton Hobbs, Head of Lower School

Dennis Lane, Director of Protective Services

Michelle Nunalee, Middle School science and engineering teacher

Teresa Taylor, sixth grade language arts teacher and team leader

15 Years of Service

Grace Edwards, Assistant Athletic Director for Administrative Services

David Kates, Director of Global Education and Initiatives, Upper School world language teacher

Carter Norwood, maintenance technician

Colleen Ramsden, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs

20 Years of Service

John Fiedler, fifth grade teacher

Millie Florio, assistant to College Counseling

Colleen Girouard, Middle School world language teacher

25 Years of Service

Roz Cooper, Middle School visual arts teacher

Barbara Paul, fifth grade teacher

30 Years of Service

Toni Katen, assistant to Director of Admissions

35 Years of Service

Chris Harper, Lead From Here coach

Janet Smith, Upper School academic skills and AP Psychology teacher

40 Years of Service

Ed Yohman, Middle School Student Activities Coordinator

Additional Years of Service

Renee Riggs (31 years), first grade assistant teacher

Steve Swaim (32 years), Upper School world language teacher

Greg Long (34 years), P.E. teacher

Ned Gonet (37 years), Athletic Director

Melony Lightfoot (37 years), Middle School academic skills teacher

Jimmy Cox (41 years), P.E. teacher and department chair