At the annual Corporation and Parents’ Association open meetings, held via Zoom on Thursday, May 14, the Belmont Day community came together to celebrate the 2019-20 academic year. To open the meetings, head of school Brendan Largay, recognized the following members of the faculty who have reached milestones in their service at Belmont Day. Congratulations to all!
Alice Henry, pre-kindergarten teacher
For twenty years, there has been a delightfully mischievous twinkle in the eye of Alice Henry with every puddle she sees, every patch of mud she discovers, and every winding path through the woods that she comes across. Alice Henry sees the world through the eyes of a child, and for twenty years she has helped countless children realize the joyful opportunity that the natural world provides to them. A gifted collaborator with a true growth mindset, Alice selflessly approaches her work with an eye for finding and embracing the collective, learning from and with her peers, and always celebrating the powerful journey of childhood. But Alice’s love for learning is not limited to her lucky pre-kindergartners alone. Alice is a true “teacher of teachers” who has comfortably and enthusiastically guided associates along their path towards education with grace and care, and her experience in the classroom has been an invaluable resource to us all. Most notably, perhaps, throughout each of her twenty years, Alice Henry has understood the power and the gift of time. She is patient with the pace of discovery in childhood, thoughtful in her consideration of a question from a colleague, and ever-understanding of the value that can be found in the stillness of a moment. For those many invaluable moments over her twenty years of service to Belmont Day, we are grateful to Alice Henry.
Bea Rooney, director of summer programs
There is a distinct type of joy that summer brings to Belmont Day. It is marked by the splash of a pool, the return of an alum as a counselor or lifeguard, and the chorus of campers singing the Belmont Day Summer Camp Song. Without question, summer’s “Queen Bea” is the force and the spirit behind that joy. In fifteen years, Bea Rooney has worn a number of critically important hats all rooted in supporting and promoting the importance of community at Belmont Day with her time, energy and creativity. Whether as a director of alumni relations or as the beloved director of summer programming, Bea’s role has been, in keeping with her enviable work ethic and sense of responsibility, a comprehensive one. Whether extending the community of Belmont Day into the summertime by welcoming countless new families and children onto our campus, reaching into the community of Belmont as a kind and generous representative of our school, or inviting alumni of all ages to reconnect with our school as camp counselors, Bea is a shining example of what is best about our school and the people who work and play here. A true team member, Bea’s professionalism and commitment to bring her very best to Belmont Day has made our school and our camp a better place to be for fifteen years.
Sarah Barrow, business manager
Equipped with an incredible work ethic, an acute attention to detail, and an inspired understanding of why we all do what we do as members of a school community, Sarah Barrow has arrived at school each day ready to put her community first. With her steady and committed leadership, the school has successfully navigated a rapidly changing and challenging financial landscape, and her work considered in the context of that landscape becomes that much more remarkable: stewarding our school through a major capital campaign; playing an essential role in the financial management of the Barn construction project; establishing a ten-year model for our operating budget that has become the Rosetta Stone for our decision-making processes; offering a listening ear as an invaluable human resource to others; and always keeping the Belmont Day experience for the children front and center in her work. Ever humble, Sarah works to the highest of standards and, in so doing, has positioned the school for future success, even as she sets the bar higher for each of us every day. We congratulate Sarah on her ten years of service to Belmont Day.
Beth Krebs, grade 1 teacher
For ten years, Beth Krebs has marked her passage through the Belmont Day first grade classroom with one singular sentiment driving all that she does: her love of children. Whether she has been taking on a new and dynamic curriculum as a math teacher, re-imagining a cross-disciplinary social studies curriculum with woodworking or the garden, or eagerly anticipating her lunch duty and the chance to connect with her students, Beth has always put her students first. Add to that, Beth’s commitment as a leader of the faculty mentor-mentee program and her sincere appreciation and love for her colleagues, and Beth’s impact on Belmont Day is a meaningful and important one. We are also grateful to have a tradition that Beth’s creative and joyful mind brought to life: the first graders’ 100th day of school celebration each February. This event, which students and parents celebrate together in Coolidge Hall, is a memorable one for all who take part in it each year. We thank Beth for all she has done and for her ten years of service to the school.
Tara Lightbody, chef and kitchen manager
They say the quickest way to a community’s heart may be through their stomachs. At Belmont Day, that must be true, because our students, teachers, and parents alike have certainly been well fed in every way by Tara Lightbody, parent and head chef at Belmont Day. Of course, Tara’s impact extends well beyond her masterful work in the kitchen. A true innovator and community-oriented school leader, Tara has spent her time at Belmont Day in pursuit of collaborative opportunities–whether working with the garden to help educate students about food systems, teaching enrichments to create the next generation of master chefs, or thinking carefully and strategically about the future of food services at Belmont Day–Tara has taken advantage of every opportunity to integrate into the fabric of our school. As a parent, she has kept a loving and watchful eye on her two children, and as a caregiver for our school, she has kept a careful eye on us all–from providing a lemon-ginger tea on a cold and blustery day to a daily menu that is the envy of other institutions. We congratulate Tara for ten years of service to Belmont Day.
Mary Norman, grade 4 teacher
The mummified hen. The Egyptian pyramid. The plant sale. In Mary Norman’s ten years at Belmont Day, these critical opportunities for learning have become more than scientific or mathematical units, they have become part of the joyful and community-oriented culture of fourth grade, and they are all born of the creativity and curiosity that Mary has sought to inspire in each of her students. Beyond the classroom, Mary’s desire to build community is equally clear whether she is designing a scavenger hunt for students to better understand the non-teaching faculty at Belmont Day, thoughtfully engaging in faculty-led discussion, or playing a key role in articulating the Labyrinth experience, Mary’s commitment to every facet of Belmont Day is clear, and we are grateful for it all. We congratulate Mary on her ten years at Belmont Day.
Nathalie Pellenq, lower school and grade 6 French teacher
With an impeccable pronunciation and an appropriately sing-song delivery, the halls ring each morning with Madame Pellenq’s ‘bonjour’ as ten years of class after class of lower and middle school students arrive for French. With a deep commitment to developing a love of culture and an ear for language, Nathalie Pellenq has been the steady presence behind the hallmark French program at Belmont Day. Deeply committed to her craft, Nathalie doesn’t merely pursue professional development, she engages with it as a means of honing her work and immediately implements the best of what she learns, fearlessly trying new strategies or ideas, and generously seeking feedback in her efforts to improve. Beyond the walls of Belmont Day, Nathalie’s commitment to singing or bike riding echo the school’s commitment to a whole child education, and in all domains, Nathalie showcases her strengths. In the community, Nathalie is gracious with her time, offering to support others in every way she can–whether by offering to serve on a hiring team or offering a kind word at just the right moment. For ten years of commitment to Belmont Day, we offer a humble ‘merci’ to Madame Pellenq.
Bill Smith, woodworking and 21st century skills teacher
Tables made from the very trees that needed to come down to build the space in which they are housed. Student work adorning every inch of his space. A student-constructed canoe hanging from its rafters. The gentle hum of music on the radio and tools at work. These are the sights and sounds of a wood shop that seems itself to be alive with the story of Bill Smith. For ten years at Belmont Day, Bill has been imagining the possibilities. Whether he has been considering all that a half a cubic foot of wood might become in the hands of his students or how to ensure that every child has a physical connection with their work, Bill has sought to make the most of the Belmont Day experience for his students. Strong in his convictions, Bill has stewarded a program at Belmont Day that has a deep and important tradition with care, kindness, and innovation. Working with other art teachers, Bill has collaborated on the ways in which the tradition of his space might be integrated with the innovative tools of the twenty first century, and the students are the ultimate beneficiaries of his vision. We are grateful to Bill for his ten years at Belmont Day.