In acknowledgment of the countless contributions by each member of Foxcroft’s faculty during an academic year of pivots and innovation, the School took the unusual — but well-deserved — step of honoring the entire faculty with its highest teaching award, the Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award.
“This year it is impossible to select only one teacher who stands out,” said Head of School Cathy McGehee during her remarks. “Each member of our faculty has worked tirelessly to help students achieve success during this unprecedented and challenging time, not only for teaching and learning but also for social-emotional wellbeing.”
She went on to say, “They knew that each of their students had unique needs during the pandemic. They adapted their classrooms for both in-person and virtual learning, concurrently sometimes, which is extremely hard. They stretched themselves professionally, they learned many new skills and methods for the classroom, and no matter how long each one has been teaching, they each had to rewrite their entire curriculum for this year. While they, too, had personal, family, and health considerations to contend with during COVID-19, they centered their energy on and gave their hearts to their students. There is no better way for me to share what this means to Foxcroft than to read what the student body sent to me about how much they value their teachers.”
McGehee shared some of the many comments from grateful students:
“I appreciate my teachers because they make me smile even if I’m having a bad day.”
“Foxcroft teachers are special because they care about you beyond just your grades, they care about you and your learning process, your growth, and your mental health too. Each one of my teachers this year has made it clear I am able to reach out to them when I am in need and they are there. I can tell teaching for them goes beyond a job, it's a passion and that makes all the difference to students.”
“They have really helped me this year by always being there if I'm having trouble. Some of their classrooms have really become a safe space, and that has helped a lot.”
“I appreciate how one of my teachers wakes up early to have class at 8am to accommodate those not learning in eastern standard time.”
“My teachers have really helped me this year by working harder than ever to keep learning fun and engaging. Distance learning presented a great challenge to our typically interactive and hands-on way of learning at Foxcroft, but I am so thankful I had teachers who kept me wanting to learn more.”
“My Foxcroft teachers are special because they encourage me to be myself and hold high expectations for me that they know I can reach.”
“I'm grateful for the patience all my teachers have shown me this year not just because of COVID, but also just getting through senior year in general. I'm so grateful for their hard work and for making this year the most special one.”
McGehee concluded, “You can see from the students’ own words, our faculty live out our philosophy of making sure each student is known and valued for who she is.”
While this award typically conveys a cash gift to the honoree, this year, the award will provide funding to support a speaker of the faculty’s choosing during the 2021-22 school year.
Congratulations to the entire Foxcroft faculty on receiving the 2021 Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award!
The Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 2014 by Foxcroft’s Board of Trustees to honor the retiring Head of School who spent 40+ years at the School as a teacher and administrator. The award annually recognizes a classroom teacher with a tenure of at least three years who connects with and challenges each student to develop her analytical ability, critical and independent thinking, communication skills, and personal integrity. Previous recipients are Maria Evans, Ph.D., Susan Erba, Steven McCarty, Stephanie Young '00, John Scharfenberg, Jr., and Alex Northrup.