August 2016 New Staff Announcement
Dear Parents and Friends:
I write with my usual report on summer projects, new faculty and new initiatives at Saint James School.
Happily, despite the heat, the campus is still green, and we anticipate more rain before school starts. In addition to the usual work on faculty housing, we have refinished the floors in our academic buildings and dormitories, renovated the three upstairs bathrooms in Claggett, installed underfloor wiring in Kerfoot Refectory (which was no mean feat), and upgraded all our campus lighting to LED fixtures and bulbs. This final project was, as you would expect, expensive, but we anticipate that it will pay for itself within three years in utility savings and will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint, which is an institutional goal. We have also cleared the site for a new duplex for faculty housing, and will begin construction soon in anticipation of the new Pohanka Fine Arts Building, for which we have raised over $4 million, and on which we will begin construction next spring. Because of the siting of this building below Claggett overlooking the Bai Yuka, we will need to replace Rich Cottage, where Mr. Camp is presently living. The new building, by the way, is truly beautiful, and it will be a significant addition to the look of our campus and will further improve the quality of our music, art, and drama programs.
This year, we are happy to welcome five new teachers: one in English, two in science, and two in math and science. In making these appointments, we are replacing four younger teachers after two to three years with us, and adding a position in math and science to reduce class sizes and to provide more flexibility in scheduling. I just had the pleasure of meeting with all five of our new colleagues for an orientation session and for a welcoming dinner last night, and I was very impressed by their strong qualifications for teaching at Saint James and their enthusiasm for all that they will do here.
A graduate of Virginia Episcopal School and The College of William and Mary, with a BA in English and Religious Studies, Colin Ponder comes to us from a very busy year at Grand River Academy in Ohio where he taught English and coached boys’ lacrosse. At VES, he played varsity football, basketball, and lacrosse, and he played rugby at William and Mary. He also was a prefect at VES, sang in the glee club, and acted in plays, and he served as a senior counselor at their summer camp. With us, he will live on Claggett III, teach English 3 and American Literature, and coach boys’ basketball and football. Ed Haubenreiser comes to us from the University of the South, Sewanee, where he earned a BS in Ecology and Biodiversity. At Sewanee, he played goalie on the varsity lacrosse team, and he served as a head counselor at Kieve Camp for Boys in Maine during the summers of 2013 and 2014; he is also an Eagle Scout. He will live on Whittingham II, teach Environmental Science and Biology, and coach boys’ basketball and lacrosse.
Charnice Charmant comes to us from Smith College, where she earned a BA in Chemistry and Dance. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Charnice attended Rabun Gap – Nacoochee School in Georgia, so she is very familiar with life at a boarding school, as is Mr. Ponder. At Smith, she served as a lab assistant and teaching fellow and a STEM POSSE residential intern, and as the Artistic Director of the Celebrations Dance Company. She will live in Holloway, teach Anatomy & Physiology and Physics, and coach girls’ soccer and winter dance. Katherine Proctor comes to us from the College of Charleston with a BS in Mathematics and Secondary Education. A graduate of the Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, she served as a teaching assistant at the College of Charleston and at two Charleston Public High Schools, and as a teaching intern at Northfield Mount Hermon for the last two summers. She will live in Coors, teach IPS and Algebra 2, and coach volleyball and girls’ tennis. Already known to us as one of our football coaches and the head jv wrestling coach for the last two seasons, Todd DeWalt comes to us from the Greencastle-Antrim School District, where he has been serving as a long-term STEM substitute teacher. He has a BS in Education specializing in Math and Social Science from Shippensburg University, and he will be teaching IPS and Algebra 1. He will live in Mattingly and coach football and wrestling.
As I wrote to you earlier, this will be our last year with Sandra Pollock, Marty Collin, and Chick Meehan, and we have begun to plan for the transition in June. Mr. Collin’s retirement will require a new appointment in English and a new director for the fall and winter productions in drama, and Mr. Meehan’s retirement will require a new appointment in math. Ms. Pollock will be replaced by Marc Batson, who is serving presently as the Director of College Counseling, but has also served as Dean of Students, as Dorm Head of Onderdonk and Mattingly, as a boys’ soccer and lacrosse coach, and of course as a versatile and highly effective English teacher. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College with a MAT from Johns Hopkins University, he came to us in 2000 from Trinity-Pawling School in New York, where he taught, coached, and served as College Counselor. He is therefore fully qualified to assume Ms. Pollock’s responsibilities as Assistant Headmaster, beginning in June, and we are grateful that he is willing and eager to do so. Happily, he will continue to work with Mrs. Martirano as Registrar and Mrs. Zawie as Director of Academic Support, both of whom are well trained by Ms. Pollock and already doing very good work.
Jennifer Sherman, who came to Saint James in 1993, and presently serves as Head Librarian, Foreign Language Department Chair, and as our senior teacher in Spanish, will also assist Mr. Batson as Dean of Faculty, helping with faculty recruitment, curricular development, and with faculty evaluations and contracts. Beth Flowers, who came to us in 2008, will assume Ms. Sherman’s role as Head of the Language Department, and Ted Camp, who came to us in 1995, will assume Mr. Meehan’s role as Senior Master. Finally, we will appoint a full-time Director of College Counseling to assume Mr. Batson’s duties.
It is again very difficult for us to say goodbye to three much-loved and greatly valued colleagues who have served Saint James with such evident loyalty and devotion for so many years, 27 years for Ms. Pollock and Mr. Collin, and 48 years for Mr. Meehan; but Mr. and Mrs. Meehan will be just down College Road from us, and Ms. Pollock and Mr. Collin just down I-81 in Charlottesville. I hope and expect that Mr. Meehan will visit often, cheering our teams at games and cheering us all with his positive, encouraging presence; Mr. Collin will still be making music, attending to his voluminous correspondence with our alumni, and writing plays; and Ms. Pollock will be joining the Southern Teachers’ Agency, where she can keep an eye out for good Saint James candidates. We will celebrate their time with us and thank them properly for all that they have done for us on Alumni Weekend at the end of April, and I hope that you will join us.
But we have another party to plan as well: our 175th anniversary in the fall of 2017. Because even though “time like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons (and daughters) away,” schools, especially good schools like Saint James, can last much longer than we do with an ever-renewing company of teachers and students, staff and administrators, parents and alumni, which changes every year, like the water in the pond below the Bai Yuka, steady and stable, but always changing and constantly refreshed by the spring of living water which feeds it. So, in the end, we all get our time here, but it is up to each of us and all of us, in whatever capacity we find ourselves, to make the most of it.
My very best wishes for what promises to be another wonderful year.
The Revd. D. Stuart Dunnan, D. Phil.