Miss Porter’s School is pleased to recognize the following faculty for their outstanding contributions to our learning community.
The Class of 1959 Fund for a Career in the Classroom was established in 2009 to recognize excellence in teaching by a faculty member in the first years of their teaching career. “The aim of this fund is to encourage professionals with talent to remain within the teaching profession and to retain their talents at Miss Porter’s School.”
This year’s recipient will be no surprise to anyone. She is one of our youngest teachers, but she already conducts herself and her classes like a seasoned veteran. She is beloved by her students in class, in the gym, and in the dorm; and she is appreciated by her older colleagues who have much to learn from her. In addition to teaching English, she has run Serious Fitness, is an important contributor to the Volleyball program, worked in our summer program, and now is the advisor to an affinity group.
This person understands and embraces the many hats that boarding school teachers must wear, and she puts care for her students at the center of all of her work. Although wrapping up her Penn Fellowship this year, we hope this teacher will remain at Miss Porter’s for many years to come.
This year’s Class of 1959 Fund for a Career in the Classroom recipient is Jamiah Bennett.
The Pauline Foster Reed Teaching Chair was established during The Farmington 80’s Fund by Pauline’s daughter, Priscilla Reed Gamble ’36 and is awarded to a member of the English Department.
This teacher was interviewed and joined the Miss Porter’s School in 2020; I think we can all agree it wasn’t an ideal time to start a new job. However, she was relentless in establishing a familiarity with the curriculum, getting to know her students in person and on Zoom, coaching crew and basketball and making friends with colleagues. This was no small task considering she taught 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade courses in her first year.
She has a passion for literature both medieval and modern, and she shows more excitement for JV basketball than anyone I have ever seen. This teacher oversees Salmagundy and she is now embarking on her first year as department chair with a leadership style that provides comfort and clarity to her colleagues. And as if that weren’t enough, always game for a faculty performance, we know that she can bang on the drums like no one else in our community as we saw in the opening to last Spring’s Demonstrations of Learning.
MPS is pleased to award The Pauline Foster Reed Teaching Chair to Melissa Schomers.
The Independence Foundation Teaching Chair was established in 1979 by the Independence Foundation of Philadelphia for faculty support and professional development. It is awarded to someone principally engaged in teaching based on excellence over time in the classroom, and leadership within an academic discipline.
Over the past six years, this teacher has witnessed the evolution of our daily schedule, our yearly schedule, and our approach to feedback and assessment. She never stops learning and truly embodies the saying “If you know better, you must do better.” This is reflected in independent research she did on assessment practices that resulted in her being the first teacher to pilot standards-based grading in a Porter’s classroom.
More recently, she finished up a graduate degree in Material Science from North Carolina State University, and these studies have led to a new A.I.S. class that helps students understand the relevance of chemistry to their everyday lives. Her students are at the heart of everything she does. This enthusiastic teacher will stop at nothing in order to support their growth as she helps them to appreciate the richness and possibilities that science has to offer.
In 2018, she was awarded the Class of 1959 Fund for a Career in the Classroom, and we are so glad that her career has continued at Miss Porter’s.
MPS is pleased to award The Independence Foundation Teaching Chair to Christine Scanlon.
The Lucile Thieriot Walker Teaching Chair was established during The Farmington 80’s Fund by the Weezie Foundation in her honor at the request of her daughters, Lucile Walker Hays ’56 and Elaine Walker Fiske ’64, mother of Kirke Hoffman Hall ’89. The Lucile Thieriot Walker Teaching Chair is awarded to a member of any department based on distinguished teaching, demonstrated excellence over time in the classroom, and leadership within an academic discipline. Starting her fifth year at Porter’s, this individual has expertise in a range subjects and truly embodies an interdisciplinary mindset. She teaches in the History Department, in the Science Department, she is certified with the University of Connecticut’s Early College Experience program. She is always coming to me with new classes she might want to teach and is as hungry for professional development as any teacher I have known. I’m not quite sure how she fits it all in.
This teacher brings a collaborative spirit to all that she does and is adept at mentoring other teachers, making her an exceptional department chair. The only things that come ahead of her department are her students in both an advisory and classroom capacity. She treats her advisees with the warmth of a family member and goes out of her way to ensure their success and make them feel supported when met with challenges. An enthusiastic supporter of women’s education, this teacher works everyday to help our students prepare to shape a changing world in order to assure that the future is female!
I am pleased to award The Lucile Thieriot Walker Teaching Chair to Lisa-Brit Wahlberg.