Each year at division commencement ceremonies, Rowland Hall proudly honors faculty who have demonstrated exceptional teaching and mentoring.
Sumner/Larsen Excellence in Teaching Awards
The Sumner/Larsen Excellence in Teaching Faculty Awards are given each year to outstanding faculty members in each division who have demonstrated a love for teaching and excellence in their fields. This award was established in 1985 by Kit Sumner and his wife, Molly, who have shown an unparalleled commitment to Rowland Hall for three generations. In 2022, Kurt Larsen, who shares the Sumners’ high regard for Rowland Hall’s faculty and dedication to the school, joined Kit Sumner in funding this award to increase its impact. The newly renamed Sumner/Larsen Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award is one of the highest recognitions of excellence in teaching at Rowland Hall. Congratulations to the following recipients.
Beginning School: Gail Rose, 3PreK lead teacher
Gail Rose is like a unicorn: she is magical, enchanting, and adventurous, and her hair looks great in the wind. She inspires wonder in those around her, and her enthusiasm for learning and play is equally contagious amongst young children and adults. An insatiable learner and enthusiastic advocate for early childhood education, she reads widely, attends tons of webinars, and soaks up every opportunity for professional development—learning that translates to new ideas, connections, and passions to share with her young students and colleagues. She has been a beacon of steady positivity, and she and her merry band of students delight all who visit their classroom. She is a spark of joy, curiosity, and tenacity that lights a fire in others.
Lower School: Susanna Mellor, first-grade teacher
Susanna Mellor is an exceptionally reflective and thoughtful practitioner, with a nearly infinite well of patience and compassion. Her classroom community brims with positivity, deep thinking, mutual respect, and just the right amount of silliness. A highly effective and admired teacher, Susanna has worked hard to hone her craft, and is always open to learn more, tackle new challenges, and connect with colleagues for their perspectives and insight. She is calm and centered, and an exemplary colleague, providing a listening ear to those who need one, helpful advice when asked, and, even in the busiest, most stressful times, prioritizing care and community as an ally, advocate, and friend.
Middle School: Anna Wolfe, seventh-grade science teacher
Anna Wolfe is respected by her colleagues and beloved by her students. She loves teaching, seeking out opportunities for professional growth, collaboration, and development. Full of energy and cheer, Anna goes above and beyond: volunteering for committees, organizing events for students and teachers alike, single-handedly running Student Council, organizing a seventh-grade class trip, and more, all in addition to planning and engaging dynamic lessons. She sets the bar high for herself and for her students in the science classroom. She works tirelessly to bring out the best in every student, believing each is a scientist and aiming to ensure they see the connection between science and the world around them.
Upper School: Lisa Friedman, math teacher
Lisa Friedman loves teaching. She is continuously looking to grow her craft and focuses on improving student learning outcomes and the student experience. Lisa empowers students, placing them in dialogue with each other and encouraging them to work together. She is not afraid to set a high bar, and does it with a seemingly endless reserve of support, patience, and kindness. She is also a consummate professional and a respected colleague, embracing aspects of being an educator beyond the classroom and volunteering for service in other areas of school life: she’s a ninth-grade advisor, serves on the Honor Council, organized a pandemic-era Interim tennis tournament, and has gone on countless hikes with students.
Cary Jones Faculty Mentor Award 2022
The Cary Jones Faculty Mentor Award is presented to Rowland Hall faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching, serve as mentors to others, and contribute to the Rowland Hall community. This award was established through an anonymous gift to the school in honor of Mr. Jones’ dedication to the faculty when he was the chair of the Board of Trustees.
This year’s Cary Jones Faculty Mentor Award has been awarded to two Rowland Hall educators: Ben Smith ’89, computer science teacher, and Christian Waters, director of technology integration. Ben and Christian have reenergized the computer science program, growing some of the most sought-out electives in the middle and upper schools. Self-taught computer scientists, they model many of the traits we aspire to at Rowland Hall: a love of lifelong learning, resiliency, and empathy, to name but a few. They are receptive to the needs of students and our community, regularly offering professional learning opportunities and workshops for students, teachers, and parents/caregivers. They encourage a safe classroom environment, supporting and challenging students to think creatively and critically—when you walk into their classroom, you see and hear students actively creating, collaborating, and solving problems. When we look at our future programming, their classroom and vision is at the forefront of our strategic priority work.
For their teaching excellence, mentorship, and contributions to the school community, Rowland Hall proudly honors Ben Smith and Christian Waters with the 2022 Cary Jones Faculty Mentor Award.