"This year's honorees represent a range of departments here at Winsor, and are as different from one another as individuals can be--with the exception that they are all outstanding educators, dedicated to their students and to Winsor, and very much sought after by colleagues for advice, support, and wisdom," remarked Head of School Sarah Pelmas. "Winsor is uniquely privileged to have such extraordinary faculty and staff with such remarkable tenure. At most schools, a few brave souls make it to the 20-year mark. Here, it is fast becoming only the first milestone, and a relatively early one at that! This is simply the best faculty and staff to be found anywhere, and we benefit from their exceptional work every day."
The following are extracted from the tributes Ms. Pelmas delivered in recognition of those honored, each thoughtfully crafted from countless pages of accolades, anecdotes, and appreciation shared by members of the Winsor community, both past and present.
When you ask people about Laura Cohen, the adjectives come flying out: calm, supportive, responsible, trustworthy, confident, and empowering. She is the epitome of the selfless leader, someone with clarity and focus who takes the emphasis off herself and allows the conversation to be about the other person, whether that is a student or colleague. Some believe the secret to her workplace demeanor stems from the fact that, at home, there may be more chaos than calm due to her seemingly endless epic construction projects.
That may be her secret sauce — in addition to her love for her dog, Batman — but the fact is that Laura loves math, and teaching. She has taught more or less every class Winsor has in the Upper School and, over the years, Laura has been quietly insistent that there be a woman teaching BC Calculus, modeling to her students that women can teach the highest levels of math and achieve anything they set out to do.
The Winsor community is enormously grateful for Laura’s ability to keep a straight face even when the bad puns lob about, her centered leadership, her mathematical brilliance, and her thoughtful support of each individual student.
Kate Grant is quite convinced that there is nothing “normal” in the world or in history, and one of her quests is to answer life’s most challenging questions. If you drop in the office, you may see her typing away and — without interrupting her fingers’ keyboard dance — posing questions, sharing peculiar facts, or launching perfect one-liners.
Along with her historical quests is her dedication to her students. In and beyond class, her students want to be around her and to talk with her about life. She is a truly gifted teacher and has a way of getting kids excited about almost any idea in history. She wants them to be happy, curious, successful, and self-possessed.
Kate is witty, crazy smart, and has a huge heart — a combination which makes for moments both profound and entertaining. Winsor is appreciative beyond description for her jokes, her questions, and her unwavering commitment to her students and colleagues.
Loyal and kind — and “the top prankster in the Facilities Department” — Steve Jasset is the sort of person who “bleeds Winsor red.”
Steve is a master carpenter, someone who loves teaching his craft to others, a can-do guy who will pitch in and help in any situation, a wonderful chef, and a great storyteller — especially about his family of five children, nine grandchildren, and four dogs. He is also an indomitable Red Sox fan and — shhh! — a closeted Cowboys fan.
Around Winsor, he can and will fix and build anything anyone needs or doesn’t yet realize they need. The new windows? Installed by Steve. The new wellness area and nurse’s office? Built by Steve. The beautiful Winsor coffee tables made out of scraps of wood? Steve again!
On occasion his passion lands him in trouble. A lover of motorcycles, Steve rebuilt an entire motorcycle in his living room not realizing, upon completion, that it wouldn’t fit through the door.
Steve invariably sees the positive in people and in situations, and he loves to help make things better for both his Winsor family and the family he and his wife created.
Clarissa Marshall turns the Winsor School into the Winsor Family. Day in and day out, she shows every single student — and member of our faculty and staff — how much they matter to the community. She sees everyone as an individual who is worthy of love and care.
And Clarissa is the first face visitors see when they walk in the door … what better way to welcome people to our school? She is dignified and professional, caring and warm. And the food she makes and shares with the community — there are no adjectives grand enough!
Clarissa manages attendance, mail, phones, visitors, parking passes, prize wrapping, and extra hours helping with UTL and reunions. And, since 2003, she has also played an important role in Single Parent Family Outreach. Clarissa knows something about everything and is invariably there to help, listen, and comfort.
Winsor was changed for the better when Clarissa joined the staff, and we are grateful each day for all her hard work, for her love, for her nurturing ways and willingness to bring us all into her family, for radiating God’s grace, and for shining that light on all of us.
With her fierce sense of humor, vehement dislike for holiday music, penchant for using her oven as storage space, and love of all things wool and knitting, Alice Stern has transformed Winsor’s library into a bright, welcoming, energetic, safe space for students to thrive and be themselves.
Over the last 20 years, Alice has been busy! She has been an advisor for the newspaper, the film club, the book club, Spectrum, and of course for the Knitting Club. Particularly attentive to the experience of minority students, she has added books about a wide-ranging list of topics to Winsor’s collection and displays them prominently to signal the community’s and the library’s dedication to creating an inclusive space. She has also served on and chaired several book awards committees, her connection to which led to her donation of over $30,000 worth of books to the library.
Winsor is incredibly grateful for Alice’s deep commitment to literature, learnedness, and the life of books; her remarkable ability to meet kids exactly where they are; and her generosity of spirit that helps make the library the most comfortable and welcoming hub in the school.