While summer at IMS seemed a bit quieter, our faculty and staff were still buzzing with activity. Many were on both campuses throughout the summer, actively preparing for the start of the school year. Rebekah Jordan, our new Lower School Head, started working in July and has been settling in, gradually getting to know our families. After getting married, Alan O’Neill, our new Director of Admissions, also joined us in July. He had to quickly learn the ropes as our admissions team received a flurry of late season interviews, which helped to bring in the largest number of boarders in our school’s history.
Faculty have been doing everything from traveling to Alaska for a honeymoon, to working at camps, tutoring, attending workshops, and getting in shape. For recreation, a number of faculty worked on their golf swings at the Hotchkiss course or hiked and ran through the rolling hills of the Berkshires. I hope all of our students have been active and are as enthusiastic as we are for the year to begin.
Our buildings and grounds crew has been renovating spaces throughout our school facilities, painting and spackling, installing floors, carpeting, roofing, expanding the health center, and moving and revamping the faculty workroom. The technology crew installed a new phone system, added Smart Boards, prepared the new iPads for our ninth graders, and improved the functionality of our IT systems.
During our opening faculty meetings, Dr. Elizabeth Englander, author of one of our summer reading books, Bullying and Cyberbullying, made effective presentations to faculty at both campuses. Dr. Englander drew on recent research from an organization she founded and directs called the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center that can help us to develop more effective ways to combat mean behaviors at school and better support students and parents during different stages of child development. She will be making a presentation to parents on October 2. Please mark that date on your calendar.
As all of us transition into a new year, I wanted to introduce our new faculty. We all know that the core of the outstanding programs at Indian Mountain is driven by our dynamic faculty. They inspire our children and provide the strong foundation that serves as a springboard for further growth and development.
New Internal Shifts:
After focusing on raising her two lovely daughters for the last few years, Juliana Pecchia is ready to step back into a full-time position again as the Director of Secondary School Advising and Ninth Grade Dean. Juliana served in this role prior to Carney O’Brien, so she has a wealth of experience and already has a good rapport with admission representatives from the secondary schools to which our students apply.
Having served effectively as the Assistant Director of Residential Life,Emily Page is ready to take over the Director’s role. Her title, Director of Residential Life and Student Activities/Admissions Associate, will now include student activities to recognize some of the work Emily has already been doing.
Alex Hodosy is stepping into the role of Director of Faculty. In a short period of time, Alex earned the respect of his peers and willprovide the support and leadership that will serve the faculty well.
Sarah Bonk has blossomed in her roles as a teacher, coach, trip leader, dorm head, and a key member of the faculty council. She will be a great asset teaming with Emily as the Assistant Director of Residential Life.
Liz Kelly has been named Assistant Head of our Upper School. Each year she has taken on more responsibilities, and she is enthusiastic about stretching herself professionally. I am confident Liz will be a real presence in her new role.
These individuals understand the heart of IMS and have the tools to add quality to our administrative team. We are fortunate to have stellar individuals from within our community step into these important leadership roles.
New Full-Time Faculty:
Joanna Astrom – Upper School English teacher – B.A., Bates College; M.Ed., UMass
Michael Charles – Co-director of Lower School After School Program, Upper School Study and Digital Skills, tutoring – B.S., State University of New York
Mary Kay Elwell – Lower School Second Grade – B.A., University of Connecticut; M.A., University of Bridgeport
Phillip Hodosy – Upper School English/History teacher – B.A., St. Lawrence University
Taylor Page – Upper School History teacher – B.A., St. Lawrence University
Meghan Kenny Plouffe – Lower School Pre-K – B.A., Mount Ida College
Mariana Silliman – Upper School English teacher – B.A., University of Puget Sound; M.A., University of Denver
Heather Sweet – Lower and Middle School Spanish teacher – B.S., Georgetown University
Caroline Vreeland – Film Intern – BA, Lynchburg College
Other new assignments include:
Jessica Metcalf, who has tutored in the past and is expanding her role teaching two LAD sections – B.A., Fairfield University; M.S., University of Bridgeport
As we begin the school year, I want to remind everyone that it is critical that you slow down when driving on Indian Mountain Road, and driveveryslowly when on campus. There is no reason for anyone to drive a vehicle at more than 5 mph at school. Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our children.