Please join Winsor in applauding Theresa Evenson, this year's recipient of Winsor's Pennypacker Prize, awarded to a teacher of great promise.
[NOTE: The following is an excerpt of the announcement of the 2018 winner of the Pennypacker Prize. Head of School Sarah Pelmas unveiled the surprise at the annual Faculty-Trustee Dinner, held Dec. 4, 2018.]
The Pennypacker Prize is a special way for us to recognize a Winsor teacher of great promise. Created in 2002, the award is "given annually in the name of Henriette Pennypacker Binswanger '52, with respect and admiration for the educational excellence of the Winsor School and the memory of an extraordinary experience."
For me, this award speaks to the very best of Winsor, to our extraordinary teachers and to the love and respect their students and colleagues have for them.
And this year's winner joins impressive company: our list of past recipients includes Andrea Chase, Josh Constant, Julia Harrison, Jeremy Johnson, Meara Kaufmann, Denise Labieniec, Dana Martin, Kim Ramos, Ken Schopf, and Lisa Stringfellow, to name a few. OK, to name a lot.
The Pennypacker Prize is awarded each year to a teacher relatively new to Winsor who is in at least in his or her third year of full-time teaching here. It's intended to encourage the recipient's continuing educational growth and development.
Since she joined us five years ago, tonight's winner has taken on the Class I and Class III science curricula and really made them her own. She has a keen interest in making sure that her students are global scientists, engage with real-world problems, and participate in citizen science.
Her collaborative work with her Class III science colleagues has exemplified her innovative approach. She has such a natural way of bringing the material to life for her students. Walk by her classroom during one of her new volcano labs, and you'll see the tremendous energy and excitement that she creates for students. You might also see her leading her Class I students off to the Muddy River to experience science firsthand. As Kim Ramos notes, it's made her something of a nature specialist on campus; both students and faculty seek her out when they come across an animal in need in the courtyard or when they've spotted our resident hawk.
Speaking of care for animals, this year, she spearheaded a new program at Winsor called HATCH, a conservation program run through Zoo New England to give endangered Blandings Turtle hatchlings a headstart in growth before releasing them back into the wild this spring. Class I and AP Environmental Science are coordinating their efforts in learning about and caring for our two hatchlings. (Click here to read more.)
The birds gathered at the feeders outside her window, the herbs and lettuce that her Class IV students provided for the dining hall, the snakes and turtles and now a blue crayfish that she willingly adopts when people bring them to her--all these are a sign of her ability to be both an incredible teacher and an animal whisperer.
Beyond the classroom, she has stepped up to contribute in many significant roles at Winsor—class coordinator, field hockey coach, and STEM assistant, to name a few.
Whenever she's coordinated a grade level, you can count on her knowing everyone in the entire class extremely well. She manages all of the exciting rally points throughout the year, the important small-scale organizational tasks that need attending to, and the challenging social dynamics and trends that happen along the way.
Her department colleagues also know they can count on her to step in to help whenever they ask. When we needed another chaperone for the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecological Trip, she gladly raised her hand to volunteer. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the care with which she managed the last few days of our beloved turtle, Flash. She cared for him, took him to the vet, made him comfortable, and then came to talk to me about what kind of service we might have for him. What a lucky turtle to have known her, and what a lucky school that she works here!
Please join me in congratulating this year's recipient of the Pennypacker Prize: Theresa Evenson.