Gilmore. Sheehan receive Anne K. McGuire Award for exceptional service

Surprise presentation of Foxcroft's highest honor 

The Board of Trustees and Head of School Mary Louise Leipheimer Friday bestowed Foxcroft's highest honor — the Anne Kane McGuire Distinguished Service Award — on Assistant Head of School for External Affairs Rebecca B. Gilmore and Director of Riding Ellen (Nelly) Sheehan. Both women have dedicated themselves Foxcroft for more than 20 years.
At an all-school meeting that included the Board of Trustees, Alumnae, and a number of surprise guests — recipients’ relatives and friends — Gilmore, the Assistant Head of School for External Affairs, and Sheehan, the Director of Riding, were presented with framed citations and heartfelt appreciation by Stuart D. Thayer, Chairman of the Foxcroft Board of Trustees. The assembled students, faculty, officials and friends responded with deafening applause and standing ovations. A lunch in their honor was held later Friday.

Gilmore, who will become Head of School at the Augusta (GA) Preparatory School in July, came to Foxcroft in 1987 to work in the Admission and Development offices. Over the years, she served as Director of Admission, Dean of External Affairs, and Director of Advancement before becoming an Assistant Head of School. Gilmore, who has a BA from Duke University and a Master’s of Education from the University of Virginia, previously taught Biology at the Madeira School and Concord (MA) Academy. At Foxcroft, where she, her husband Roger and children John and Sarah (Foxcroft ’11) have spent their entire family life, Gilmore leaves a major impression.

“For twenty-four years Becky has served Foxcroft with distinction,” Thayer said. “More importantly, she has served as a ‘school person’ in the classic sense of that description. Never bound by job titles, never above ‘getting her hands dirty,’ . . . never too busy to answer a call for help either professional or personal, always an approachable and attending ear, always creative and talented, never arrogant, always ready to risk the new and to push others to follow suit, Becky’s being, her fiber, has made Foxcroft’s tapestry even stronger.”

A graduate of Lake Erie College and accomplished equestrian, Sheehan became Director of Riding at Foxcroft in1989 and, among other things, reestablished Foxcroft’s relationship with the Middleburg Hunt, introduced international equestrian travel opportunities to Ireland to foxhunt and England for an exchange program with the Stonar School and coached the Foxcroft Riding Team to numerous Tri-State Equitation League and Mid-Atlantic Horse Trials championships, even as she taught hundreds of riders at all abilities, from rank beginner to champion.

“The warm and welcoming smile, the oft pink in the cheek, the shy demeanor,” said Thayer, “are the first external impressions of a resilient, creative, hardworking, energetic, compassionate, and faithful woman who has served Foxcroft School for twenty-two years as the Director of Riding, as a school person par excellence, and as an ear to students and colleagues alike.”

Sheehan, a Lovettsville, VA resident, also served on Foxcroft’s the Judicial Council, Curriculum Committee, several Virginia Association of Independent School accreditation teams, and other ad hoc committees, as well as advising scores of students. “Service without ego, caring with no agenda, team play with enthusiasm, injury with ‘I’ll be back,’ heart with an even playing field as its guide — all are retrospective images of a long and honorable tenure,” added Thayer.

The Anne Kane McGuire Award was established in 1984 in honor of a former trustee and Chairman of the Board who guided the School through some very challenging years. Including Sheehan and Gilmore, only 29 individuals have received the coveted award.
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.