The Head's Heads UP
As a school, we cannot live into our mission at Chesapeake Academy without the coaching, modeling, nurturing, enthusiasm, high expectations, and love of this dynamic group of faculty and staff. Each one plays an important role in the lives of our students and families. This year, more than any other, school people are feeling the weight of education in a pandemic. And while we are so truly lucky to be in person doing the work we do, this marathon of a school year has required each of us to dig deep and meet our students needs in unprecedented ways.
As we approach Valentine's Day, I hope you'll indulge me in my own reflection about the people who make up this community of professionals and allow me to share with you a little glimpse of what makes each one so special.
Beth Clark has an intuition about people of all ages and she brings deep empathy to a child's journey. She affirms others' gifts and sees the best in each child. Her ability to partner with parents and her deep understanding of what makes the early childhood years special is a treasure.
Susan May has stepped into the librarian role to bring her love of literature to the children she loves. Whether in extended day or in the library, she responds with care and attention in any situation so that kids feel safe, valued, and understood.
Rosetta Struse has embraced new roles this year in PE and art instruction, bringing her nurturing and creativity to every part of her day with students. Her love for children and her gentle nature shine through in every interaction with or about students.
A pied piper of kindergarteners, Molly Vanderpool leads them on adventures of every kind in and out of the classroom. With an eye always on “what if we..?” Molly models creativity, joy, and inquiry with the students and adults throughout CA.
Courtney Reisner, volunteer extraordinaire, has a connection to each student who has ever been in a classroom where she has worked in the last 11 years. Plus, Ms. Courtney send cards for every holiday, making each CA employee feel special.
Ashley Duncan has jumped right into various roles and quickly made herself indispensable. She balances a positive spirit with her ability to engage a group of students no matter what the task. Always flexible and helpful, she embodies “team player.”
Catherine Emery has a natural gift for working with middle grade students and advisees. She is always patient, always kind, and always insightful. She is a passionate writer and wordsmith who shares her gifts with middle schoolers easily.
A gifted musician and gatherer of children, Barbara Hays celebrates the rhythm within each child, bringing students together to create beautiful music. In COVID times, she has adapted what she does to make sure music is at the heart of things.
An expert in learning support, Kenzie Manetz takes on new challenges eagerly, and sees ways to integrate topics she loves in new ways so she can share her enthusiasm. She supports each teacher and each student so that our students are successful, loving learning as much as she does!
Sonja Smith jumps right in with her creative thinking and problem solving. Sonja is always an upbeat and flexible team player who can work with anyone – student or adult--to yield great results.
An amazing ambassador for CA, Kelly Antonio welcomes families with a warm smile, ready to help them see themselves at Chesapeake Academy. Kelly knows our program well and believes in everything we do–she shares that love easily!
Martha Rogers is the consummate cheerleader for her students and her colleagues. Always ready to try a new approach or a new project, Martha models risk taking and a “can do” spirit for her students. “Ok, cats, we got this!”
Insightful and purposeful, Niki Allen is able to make first graders feel grown up and responsible without losing the fun and giggles of young learners. She shines a light on each student and helps parents see all the ways in which their children are rock stars.
Marshall Novak is a natural teacher, whether she is working with pre-k students, summer campers, or middle schoolers. She inspires students in Spanish, Algebra, and US History, all the while making learning fun, accessible, and relevant.
Kaitlin Benson easily shares her love of technology, art, travel, history, and games with students. A team player, she helps teachers across the board with Canvas, taking photos, and working with students.
Dean of Students, coach, advisor, math teacher, literature teacher, Hillary Smith wears every hat with the same commitment to the development of young people as learners and leaders. Hillary has an innate sense of what each student needs at any given moment. She pushes the students to bring the best each day and to approach their learning with creativity and curiosity.
Ellen Crist is a woman with the strongest of work ethics. An Air Force vet, Ellen ensures that the school is ready for the students each day. She is friendly, kind, and helpful, always ready with a smile.
Katie Parker brings imagination and resourcefulness to the classroom every day. Always with a smile, Katie pushes students to see that they can take risks and that it is okay to regroup. Katie gives and gets a lot out of her work with colleagues.
An experienced educator who “fits” anywhere, Kelley Calkins has been so flexible in helping our teachers and students. Upbeat and fun, she keeps second graders on a path to success in math and language arts.
Connie Smith, the keeper of our world, is efficient and effective, and always seems to have every detail of the school in her head. Even more important, she is always kind, caring, and responsive to the those of us who rely on her capabilities. In 16 years of knowing her, I've never seen her lose her temper!
Catherine Emry has an encyclopedic knowledge of every child, family member, grandparent, special friend, and donor who has been part of the CA community. She has a devoted following of folks who want to help CA because of her–she is expert, organized, humble, and genuine. Catherine makes our events shine and makes supporters of the school feel so special.
Kim Dynia is the consummate innovator, never resting on her laurels but always engaging to lead what's next. Kim is a lead learner, and invites others to learn along with her. She supports the faculty in their work and always looks to what's next.
Always looking for how to best position CA for today and the future, Richard Abbott brings expertise as well as humor to his work. Richard is the backbone of operations in every sense and helps anyone who needs his help.
Robin Blake, or “the Energizer Bunny” as I call her, is full of energy and enthusiasm. She jumps in with both feet to whatever will benefit the students and school the most. Spirited, engaging, and dynamic, Robin gets kids hands on with their discovery of the world around them.
Dave Buttram brings a life time of stories, adventures, and expertise to the middle school classroom. Dave appreciates the many nuances and challenges of the middle school years. And, he's always willing to help with any project or task!
Lily Reihs and Kayla Oren support our kindergarteners and Ms. Vanderpool, making sure that everyone is learning and smiling throughout each day in K! We're proud to have these future educators (fingers crossed) on our team!
“Collaboration is not about gluing together existing egos. It's about the ideas that never existed until after everyone entered the room.” These folks give their all every day and come up with a magical mix of creativity, expertise, good humor, flexibility, and teamwork that I've never seen anywhere else. Send them lots of love this Valentine's Day!