Our teachers bring unique passions and personalities to their classrooms. And yet they share some important qualities: a deep belief in the value of childhood as an integral part of life, an authentic respect for the hearts and minds of children, and an ability to gently guide young people through a process of continually discovering and rediscovering their best selves. THAT IS THE GIFT OF A GREAT TEACHER.

It was during Sue Friborg’s seventh grade U.S. history class that MARSHALL JOHNSON first fell in love with history, inspired by a lecture style he describes simply as “cinematic.” It was in the same classroom that he sat on Sept. 11, 2001, a profound moment in history for his generation. Today, it is his classroom. 

“The reason I got into teaching is because I love building and forming relationships. By the end if my students feel they are confident and able to interact with a teacher one on one, I feel I’ve done my job.”

Program developer, community builder, relationship nurturer, sounding board and friend, JODY SHELDON effortlessly moves through her day supporting colleagues, mentoring apprentices and listening to the joyful discoveries of the children.

“I remember her as my teacher in Extended Day. She always greeted us by the double doors at the end of the hallway with a big smile. Now fast forward to when I showed up on the NCCS campus as a first-year apprentice and I was nervous that Mrs. Sheldon wouldn’t remember me! She immediately gave me a hug and welcomed me home. I spent that next year working in Thacher beside her, and I could always go to her when I needed help, comfort or advice.” —Carrie Merrill ’08

Creativity is her middle name. Unconventional to some, a dreamer to others,
KRISTIN QUISGARD helps her students see a world without bounds.

“My enduring memory of fourth grade in Mrs. Quisgard’s class will always be the Friday bread baking. We would gather and eat freshly baked bread drizzled in honey. Mrs. Quisgard would choose one person each week who had done something helpful or kind for another student and highlight it in front of the entire class. This was a time everyone looked forward to and closed out each week on a high note.” —Henry Lanier ’04
The first in his family to have graduated from high school, BART FREDO started and then quit college before joining the U.S. Marines, where he developed habits of self-discipline. When he returned to college at Duke University, he brought a renewed focus and determination.

“I can’t teach curiosity, but I can enhance it by making the curriculum challenging while stimulating. Moreover, I try to show them on a daily basis how curious I am.”

Woodworker, maple sugar maker, sailor, fiddler and jeweler, CHRIS LAWLER is a master craftsman of many disciplines. He enjoys working outside in all four seasons, whether building and launching boats or constructing bridges, sugaring or making jewelry.

“As I’ve settled into a career in publishing, an industry driven by both lofty ideas and hard, fast deadlines, I have found the creative process to be an unerringly calm, steadying force. I think back on my time in the woodshop and recall the same sense of calm. Even as a kid, there was something kind of magical in the creative escape. I admit the technical skills have faded, but the mental space that Mr. Lawler built for us in that workshop — the space to create something from scratch quietly, attentively and with pride — has stayed with me for the long haul. And hey, maybe the technical skills took root, too … occasionally, I whip up a piece of furniture in my free time!" Mackenzie Craig "01
LILANI BALASURIYA, who grew up in Sri Lanka, says the importance of education was instilled in her from a very young age. When she chose teaching as her own profession, at first she believed it was her responsibility to impart knowledge to her students. Over the past 28 years, she has been pleasantly surprised to find that in fact it is the other way around and the children are always teaching her.

“I remember the emphasis Lilani put on imaginative play in Kindergarten. Later, when I returned to NCCS for the apprentice program, I was amazed at how well she knew the students and how she could articulate who they were as learners and as people.” —Steve Bloom ’03