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2020 Presentation of Faculty and Staff Awards

May 28, 2020

A toast and word of thanks,” said Head of School, Aaron Schubach. He continued with the following award citations at a final faculty/staff Google Hangout Meeting of the year.

Let me state the obvious — nothing about the 2019-2020 school year was easy, except for selecting the 2020 recipients of the E.E. Ford, Mary Flynn Flemke, and Sarah Hoiles awards. This year’s three most prestigious faculty and staff awards go to three women with a collective 24 years of service to The Colorado Springs School, each of whom is being honored for the first time today.

The Sarah H. Elizabeth Hoiles Outstanding Faculty Award

Natalie Hanson, the recipient of the Sarah H. Elizabeth Hoiles Outstanding Facul First, The Sarah H. Elizabeth Hoiles Outstanding Faculty Award. Sarah Hoiles graduated from CSS in the Class of 1994, and after she died tragically in an auto accident, the school and the Hoiles family established an annual faculty award in her honor. The Sarah Hoiles Outstanding Faculty Award is given to the individual who provides exemplary service to the CSS community, has been here three or more years, demonstrates commitment above and beyond the standard job requirements, demonstrates enthusiasm for teaching, learning, and helping others, and serves as a role model for all faculty and students at The Colorado Springs School.

This dedicated educator joined us 4 years ago after previous work in education and as a professional scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency. No single teacher has received more nominations for a teaching award in the last six years. The faculty have spoken, and eloquently as usual.

She’s highly competent and very humble, and I know her well enough to know that she doesn’t like it when I compliment her repeatedly, which I’m about to do.

When she saw the need for CSS to enhance its environmental curriculum, she made it happen in the following ways. The CSS garden, under her leadership and inspiration, is working toward a multi grade-level curriculum. She also has a passion for creating environmental stewards — her peers so appreciate her work with the Green Team, which made CSS the only high school in Colorado to practice commercial composting.

When asked to help with the yearbook, she also made it happen. Yesterday we saw the fruits of our labors in a beautiful yearbook. More importantly, she has built a strong yearbook program with very committed students.

When she determined that her students should be preparing independent research, consulting local scientists, and presenting the results of their experiments publicly, she also made it happen. She has also taken on various new preps like anatomy - complete with a visit to a cadaver lab - and AP Psych.

When she determined that the way we share information and show appreciation to faculty could be enhanced, she sought out constructive conservations and, yet again, made things happen. Additionally, she co-founded the Wellness Club for faculty to help boost morale and create social networks. When she and Amanda Abrahams saw that they could help other teachers find professional resources and enhance their skill sets, they made it happen with a comprehensive website.

In the words of one of her nominators - her active participation in every CSS activity makes her a perfect candidate for this award. She is driven, optimistic, innovative, and exceedingly kind. She is, of course, Ms. Natalie Hanson.

Edward E. Ford Excellence in Teaching Award

Jolly Cunha, the 2020 E.E. Ford Excellence in Teaching Award recipient Our next faculty award is the Edward E. Ford Excellence in Teaching Award.

This award is given to a faculty member who has taught at CSS for a minimum of five years, epitomizes the CSS concept of teaching, is committed to the growth and learning of students both in and out of the classroom, is an example to other teachers, and has devoted a significant portion of their time to classroom studies.

This talented educator has worked in the ECC for the last 6 years, and she is equally comfortable with Orton Gillingham, manipulatives, and phonemes as she is with fartleks (a fartlek is running workout that is named after the swedish term for speedplay). She’s widely regarded by her peers as a humble but substantive academic and instructional leader. When we went through a school-wide process Google certification several years ago, she got a level 2 - for fun. She uses this prodigious expertise and intellect to help colleagues navigate Google Suite and to brainstorm the best ways to design and manage lessons for students in the Children’s School.

Her peers often cite her willingness to grow and take risks shows in the curriculum, particularly in the realm of instruction technology but also in other areas as well. The physical space of her classroom says it all - everything, literally, everything, is a chance for students to learn.

Back to the subject of fartleks, she has been an inspirational leader and a very knowledgeable head coach of our Upper School cross country team for six years. As head coach, she has helped push our students to excel, and the team has earned four straight trips to the State Championships. From the fastest to the newest runner, she helps each of her athletes get better.

When the going gets tough, as it sometimes does in kindergarten and on the running courses, her nominators note that she always demonstrates patience and grace with her students and peers. In the words of one of her nominators, the phrase “above and beyond” could be used to describe everything she does. Jolly Cunha, it is my pleasure to award you the Edward E. Ford Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Mary Flynn Flemke Leadership in Education Award

Jessica James received the Mary Flynn Flemke Leadership in Education Award The Mary Flynn Flemke Leadership in Education awards outstanding individual accomplishment in the education of students and the advancement of the school. The award is given to a faculty member who leads by example, who is fiercely loyal to the school, who exceeds the traditionally high standards of our faculty, who combines the managerial skills to make sure that things get done right with the leadership skills to make sure we do the right things.

This year we will honor an employee and a leader who has distinguished herself through a lucky 13 years of service.

Leading a communications and advancement team through a highly successful head search, requires precision, an eye for detail, and an incredible amount of hard work. That was hardly the last or only challenging event this year. This leader also applied her widespread talents to intricate and strategic communication with various constituencies as our experiential education program was impacted by COVID-19 during our Experience-Centered Seminars and Seminar II terms. That task no sooner completed, she took the lead, again in communications, strategy, and risk management as we collectively pivoted CSS from a brick and mortar school into a highly effective and well-organized e-Learning institution.

Again, no sooner was this promethean task completed, it was time to pioneer again, this time to the critical subject of fundraising. Our highly successful e-Gala & Auction was a result of her vision, optimism, and ability to combine strategic planning with strategic doing. In this ability, she epitomizes the words of the Mary Flemke Award, which notes that the winner should make sure we do the right things, well. Her techniques for bringing people together online and raising much-needed funds have made CSS a thought leader in the new normal world. Finally, and most recently in the last several weeks, CSS has redesigned what I can say humbly are the highest quality end-of-year ceremonies I am aware of in any location - locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

Our faculty and staff know that we can count on her to be thoughtful, to run all ideas through the lens of equity and fairness, and remind us to be cognizant of the human element. Jessica James, as you recently said so well, “we seek to blend the tradition and authenticity of the school’s sixty years of tradition with the reality of the times and innovative technological tools.” Well said, and well done.

Thank you for helping this fine school, and everyone in it, consistently be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

10-Year Service and 20-Year Service Acknowledgements

Anne Hatch - 10 Years of Service
Margaret Rich - 10 Years of Service
Jody Welch - 10 Years of Service
Karen Lawson - 20 Years of Service
Lori de Juan - 20 Years of Service

Natalie Hanson, the recipient of the Sarah H. Elizabeth Hoiles Outstanding Facul
Jolly Cunha, the 2020 E.E. Ford Excellence in Teaching Award recipient
Jessica James received the Mary Flynn Flemke Leadership in Education Award