Ravenscroft Staff Step Into New Roles This Year
This year has been full of new adventures for everyone, including non-instructional staff at Ravenscroft. From helping out at recess so teachers can have a quick break to taking temperatures at morning carpool, our staff — with members of the Leadership Team leading the way — have stepped in to help outside their normal day-to-day job description. We asked them to share their favorite moment from the school year and why they have stepped up. Here's what they had to say.
Doreen Kelly, Head of School: I have enjoyed covering carpool, study halls and recess this year and getting reconnected to students on the day-to-day. Recently, I covered a PreK recess, and all I can say is there is a special place in heaven for PreK teachers! The kids were wonderful and active! I love being connected to the "why" of our work! I also enjoy seeing other staff members in these areas. It's a lovely way to connect in a different way.
Phil Higginson, Associate Head of School for Philanthropy: It is great joy to support Middle School carpool every day. I have enjoyed covering study halls in the Upper School, lunch coverage in Lower and Upper School, and supporting a virtual teacher in the Middle School.
Leonard Johnson, Associate Head of School for Business & Finance: I share temperature-taking duties for the Upper School carpool each morning with Margaret Mills. I have also done first-grade recess and 11th-grade lunch. Each area has been fun, and seeing the students is the highlight. Even behind mask I can see smiles, and it improves every day. I am happy to have reinforced to me each day how polite and friendly our students are. I have experienced another of "life's firsts" in the Upper School carpool when I took the temperature of two students and their beautiful bulldog!
Jennifer Davis, Director of Marketing and Communications: It's been fun doing it all: carpool, study halls, recess saints, lunch saints and parent screenings at athletic events! My favorite has to be lunch saints and having time to talk with the kids. One day, it was so beautiful that Mrs. Patterson's class and I enjoyed our lunch outside near Holding Garden. We played "This or That" (for example, I would say "bananas or apples," and students would cheer for the one they like most), ran a few laps around the circle and then, best of all, we took a stroll across campus toward the Upper School to sneak a peek at the construction happening at the Finley Center. None of the students had seen it, so it was precious as they all got on their bellies to look under the blue construction fencing. The "oohs" and "ahhs" were adorable!
Kat Belk, Upper School Math Teacher and Senior Dean: I drove the JV soccer team to an away game at Durham Academy. My son happens to be on the team. The funniest part was that my son Bo yelled up to the front of the bus to ask me something and said "Hey, Mom!" and the teammate said "Why are you calling her mom?" Bo said, "She's my mom," the teammate said, "NO WAY!"
Jennifer Baccus, Assistant Director of Admissions: I have had the best time helping out in a variety of ways around campus, but especially in Lower School. Every Day 3 I have been covering lunch and recess in Mrs. Hunter's class during the first-grade team's planning time. I love the little notes and accessories that students have made me. Especially the hat that I am modeling with my friend, Alex, in this photo. The funniest moment I have had was the only day we couldn't go outside for recess due to rain. After attempting to go out and determining it was too wet, we went on a walk under the covered walkway and then returned to the class for indoor recess. Several students suggested we do some "GoNoodle" activities. Since I didn't have my laptop with me and Mrs. Hunter was using hers in her meeting, we could not pull up GoNoodle on the smartboard. I promised that I would bring my computer the next time if it was raining. Hayes quickly spoke up to say, "I will write you a note, so you don't forget!" He then wrote me a very clear "DON'T FORGET YOUR COMPUTER!" note to take with me.
Sarah Macey, Donor Engagement Officer: I help out covering Lower School lunches and recess. On my first day, when I walked in, everyone yelled "Yay, it's Santa!" It was a great way to break the ice. Now I have become a permanent fixture, and I have loved getting to know the different personalities along with seeing our Lead From Here work in action with the little ones.
Margaret Mills, Director of Enrollment Management: I have been a Lunch and Recess Saint, helped check in parents at the JV football game last week, and have proctored Upper School study halls and lunch. My favorite story was when I took Ms. Acai's class to recess. One little girl became my friend for the entire recess. She walked along the playground with me and shared about her sister, her favorite meals, what they will do for Thanksgiving and where they go on vacation, and she asked me questions about myself and what I liked. A classmate ran up to her and asked her to play to which she responded, "I can't. I'm talking with Mrs. Mills," and she kept on sharing. I loved it! I love the opportunity to be with our students of all ages. Every time, I walk away so impressed. I am also grateful to engage with faculty members and I hope that, in some small way, we are helping them to manage their days.
Lia Prugh, Co-Director of College Counseling: Because Mr. Thomas stepped into a new role as the Junior Class Dean, Mr. Kennedy and I took over his group of advisees, who are seniors. Normally because of our schedules, we are not able to have an advisory. Working with our group of 11 seniors has been the best part of my year so far! They are funny, honest and have given me such a better perspective about what it is like to be a senior in high school. I look forward to getting to see them every morning! I love getting to help them navigate their senior year, which of course look very different this year. We try and make each day fun for them by sharing stories, getting outside and giving them space to rest when they need it. Now that we have begun to hear their senior speeches, it is so rewarding to hear them speak about how much fun they are having in advisory this year despite the circumstances! We love our Kennedy/Prugh advisory!
Dan Ressner, Alumni Engagement Officer: I'm so honored to have been given the opportunity to be an advisor in the Upper School this year. It's been a great experience getting to learn about a wonderful group of seniors and to guide them through a challenging year. They've shown resilience and adaptability and had some fun so far. It's definitely rewarding! I look forward to getting to share in many of the special senior experiences they'll have throughout the year. I hope that I'll be able to play a small role in making their final year at Ravenscroft a memorable one.
Brooke McDaniel, Advancement Coordinator: I cover Middle School carpool, Lower School recess and Upper School study halls. It has been fun to get to do a little of everything across all three divisions! In addition to filling in here and there, I've really enjoyed my "regular" first-grade recess with Mrs. Hunter's class and my Upper School study hall. Believe it or not, I've gotten waves across campus from little ones and BIG kids too! For those of us who are usually in an office setting, it's really nice to see the joy and feel the energy resonating from the students. It feels great to be able to say "Yes, I'm happy to help!" I can feel that the faculty are grateful and hope that they know they are supported by their fellow staff members. I look forward to those causal in-passing conversations every day.
Tinnie Salzano, Head of Middle School: By helping out with Middle School carpool this year (on a much more regular basis than in the past), I definitely think divisional leadership team members, when possible, should make carpool a priority. Seeing students and parents in the early morning as well as in the afternoon helps me remember why we are here — why we do what we do: it's all because of our students! I've also enjoyed going to the Lower School and helping with PreK recess. The energy and joy of our youngest Ravens inspires and rejuvenates me. As well, I have been to the Upper School as a "lunch saint" and this Friday will cover a study hall there. It's been a pleasure to be back in the Upper School hallways and classrooms — I love it there! In spite of all the changes we have had to make because of COVID-19, sharing the wealth of various duties across campus is one change that I hope is here to stay.
Karen Taylor, Communications Writer and Editor: I cover Lower School front carpool two days a week, and I have had so much fun with the children! The younger girls are definitely raising the bar for sparkle and shine with their sequins and tutus and unicorn backpacks! I love how some children arrive at school just bursting with exciting news — a lost tooth, an upcoming visit with a beloved relative, something they're bringing for Show & Tell — and I'm the lucky First Person they share it with. I've also covered lunch for an Upper School teacher each week, and I've been able to watch my daughter (in her first year as a Raven) play varsity volleyball in my role as the team's official photographer/ball and hand sanitizer.
Mary Kornegay, Digital Marketing Manager: I have loved covering recess for Mrs. Barnett's PreK class! Each time we walk back to the classroom, they ask if we can "surprise" Mrs. Barnett. They hide against the wall and pretend like they have all gotten lost on the way back to the classroom. Then, when Mrs. Barnett walks out (feigning shock), they yell "Surprise! We are right here!" And get tickled every single time. All of the teachers are so kind and appreciative. I'm happy to be able to help in this small way by giving them some free time (which they usually spend working!).