From Lisa Diffenderfer:
Teacher’s College Reading Writing Project Pilot Group (Ann Smitherman, Katie Florio, Cindy Proctor, Heather Russell, Mariel Nicolary, Eric Leonard, Katie Molin, Shelby Guarino, Kate Shanahan): Thank you for your commitment to improving writing instruction for our Lower School through exploring the TCRWP’s Writing Program and implementing a Unit of Study. Your time is precious, your work is admirable, and your thoughtfulness is invaluable. I’m inspired by your passion for your craft and by your dedication to helping our little ones find their voice.
Seesaw Pilot Group (Cindy Proctor, Grace Wallace, Hillary Carroll, and Ali Bo): Thank you for piloting this new-to-Harker technology in your classroom. You inspirational women are always on the forefront of using new technology thoughtfully and meaningfully in the classroom. Your students are lucky to be learning in such dynamic classrooms where engagement and expectations are high!
Elementary Tournament of Books Committee (Ann Smitherman, Kathy Clark, Scott Murphy, Kristin Giammona, Colin Goodwin, Kate Shanahan, Mariel Nicolary, Katie Molin, Lauri Vaughan): Thank you Ann Smitherman for bringing the Tournament of Books to Harker; the tournament has done more to create a community of readers than any other program that I’ve witnessed at the Lower School. Thank you to the teachers who are reading, discussing, and ultimately choosing books for the 2020 tournament. The conversations that I’ve had with many of you about potential tourney books have led to some interesting philosophical conversations about who we want our students to be. Your dedication to shaping the tiny humans into caring and considerate global citizens is laudable.
The LID Team (Elizabeth Brumbaugh, Diane Main, and Abigail Joseph): I’ve never had more fulfillment working on a professional team! We LAUGH with each other, LEARN from each other, and SUPPORT each other. We listen attentively, disagree respectfully, and show appreciation for one another’s talents. This is my Dream Team!
From Abigail Joseph:
America Salazar - I acknowledge your openness to share your culture and family traditions through your stories about Dia de los Muertos with your students and faculty. It was nice to be reminded of the importance of storytelling and connecting to our history in order to connect with our students. Sharing stories is important to feed our souls. Thank you for feeding my soul.
Melanie Ramsay - I acknowledge your willingness to take risks and get messy, literally and physically, with your curriculum when designing immersive experiences for your students. I thank you for your invitations into your classroom which I feel is an invitation to your thinking. Every time I step into your classroom I experience a sense of joy and inspiration that I know your students enjoy.
Karan Lodha - I appreciate how thoughtful you are about our communities’ experiences both in and out of your classroom. You inspire me to make everyone feel seen as we move through our busy day to day activities.
Patricia Burrows - I acknowledge you for bringing me back into the Harker community. You have been invaluable to helping me transition into my new role and a support to making many of my crazy ideas take flight.
Sharmila Misra - I appreciate your openness to having a new occupant that steps through your classroom on a routine basis. I have enjoyed the opportunity it has presented me to see the evolution of the Computer Science program I started and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
Sara Pawloski - I acknowledge your flexibility. Whether it be looking at advisory in a new way or showing me how to use the VR equipment, I thank you for the numerous times you have shared with me what you know to light the path to where I was trying to get.
Sam Linton - I appreciate your collaboration on electives and clubs. Your questions always spark discussions that drive me to deepen my understanding of curriculum and pedagogical approaches to learning that will help our students engage with their learning more deeply.
Elidio Solorio-Espinosa, Jim Gavron, and Matt Ortiz - Thank you many times over for the tearing apart, the locating, the moving, and the cleaning of furniture for my office. I am amazed on a daily basis how I managed to piece it together into something that is comfortable for both me and my 10 advisees.
The Diversity Committee - I appreciate all of the hard work you have done while I was gone. I thank you for providing the space and place for me to jump back into issues that are near and dear to my heart. You ground me in the work that I do.
Blackford Faculty and Staff - I am grateful for the warm welcome back to Harker. You have all made me feel like I never left which has made it all that easier to transition to my new position.
From Diane Main:
Jeff Draper -- although Victor will always be my first Class Dean, you hold a special place in my heart too, for your dedication to making the Harker Freshman experience one that is both exciting and smooth-running at the same time.
Kerry Enzensperger -- for your encouragement and support, and for always seeing and bringing out the best in the kids you work with.
Jeanette Fernandez -- for organizing and overseeing Test Center, which helps so many colleagues keep kids caught up when they miss tests for one reason or another.
Christopher Hurshman -- for giving up your room for my Digital World classes, for getting me to start walking, and for being a good friend.
Eric Kallbrier -- for your enthusiasm to jump in with both feet into Schoology as a tool for student communication, for Spirit, clubs, and student government.
Jane Keller -- for all the ways you support our students and faculty, inside and outside the classroom, and for being a great listener and friend.
Karl Kuehn -- for all you do with us faculty/staff dancers to prepare us for and include us in the Dance Show, and for being a constant ray of sunshine in my life.
Dan Molin -- for being an awesome Advisory buddy and covering for me when I am not here, and also for checking in on me.
Lola Muldrew -- for all the insights and resources you share, to help me and others be better, and for being a supportive friend and excellent hugger.
Brian Oldziewski -- for the care and dedication you devote to Robotics, and everything you do that no one ever sees, and also for all your help with my Digital World classes.
Abel Olivas and Robbie Korin -- for everything you do with and for GSA and the kids who need that place to turn to. I love being on this learning journey of self-improvement with you, and I love how you both keep it real.
Agnès Pommier and Galina Tchourilova -- for always trying new things (which keeps me on my toes), including using virtual reality experiences with your French students.
Sue Prutton -- for your grace and strength under pressure keep ALL our kids safe and all of us adults accountable. Your patience and good humor helps us all serve our Harker families to the fullest.
Kate Schafer -- for checking in and listening. It means a lot.
To my awesome LID Team colleagues: Lisa, Abigail, and Liz -- I am so grateful for the work we do together, what each of you does for the folks you serve, and for what each of you brings to the team. We laugh so much, it doesn’t even feel like work sometimes!
ALL my esteemed upper school colleagues -- for being a fun and exciting group of people to serve. I feel your love and appreciation daily.
From Liz Brumbaugh:
There isn't a day that passes when I am not filled with gratitude for each of you and what you do for each and every student, parent, and one another. Last year, I spoke of the community here at Harker, and that same feeling has only grown. We are better, stronger and kinder than the sum of our parts.
I am immensely appreciative of our LID Team: Lisa, Abigail and Diane, for their dedication and steadfast focus on keeping our practices innovative, pedagogically sound and relevant.
The SIS Success Team and Hand Holders (Nicole Hall, Danielle Holquin, Amy Streeper, Brighid Wood, Sue Prutton, Lori Villareal, Amira Townzen, Amy Hauck, Aarthi Ragupathy, Hoang Ngo,Brian Oldziewski, Preeti Sharan, Lauri Vaughan, Nick Gassman, Troy Thiele, Vonda Reid, Marianne Rager, Lola Muldrew, Imelda Cantu, Cathy Hsieh, Pat Burrows,Julie Pinzás, Kelly Horan, Ohad Paran, Robyn Stone, Carol Green, Susan Nace, Jenny Achten, Kathy Peng, Ramsay Westgate, Hava Sasson, Agnes Pommier, Ritu Raj, Eric Nelson, Triya Seshadri) for their interest and focus on helping to choose the best fit SIS for Harker and their continued willingness to help and support the larger effort. Most of all, thank you for your time. You didn't have to care, but you did; I see that and appreciate it.
The SIS Implementation Team (Jennifer Gargano, Jesse Lara, Preeti Sharan, Lori Villarreal, Evan Barth, Kristin Giammona, Troy Thiele, Marianne Rager) - chosen in part by virtue of your titles and what an outside vendor said will assist our efforts. You've leaned in, engaged and are always willing to help me synthesize and communicate this project at a moment's notice. I'm honored to work alongside you.
The entire Preschool Staff & Faculty - Your love of your division and the children is felt everytime I walk on campus.
Food Services for keeping me and my family fed.
Security and Transportation for keeping us safe (and ensuring we don't get run over).
Advancement for engaging the community in such a plethora of ways that allow us all to continue to be a genuine community.
Office of Communications for assisting and creating great PR plans for whatever cray ideas are thrown your way.
ITSS for making all the parts both inside and outside of the walls run smoothly. It's an intricate puzzle with more moving parts than anyone may ever know, and I thank you everytime I can get on the internets.
Human Resources for encouraging us all to be our best, healthiest selves.
Summer Programs for providing rich, vibrant programs in a condensed timeframe - you're basically magicians.
Finance for always being open and willing to explain things to me (over and over and over).
Sue Smith and the Library Staff and Faculty for your wealth of knowledge, warm cider on cold mornings and perspective.
Facilities and Maintenance for keeping all our environments safe, clean and the ideal spaces for learning and creativity.
Wishing you all a peaceful and restful break.