News & Views

Former and Current Faculty & Staff Honored During Evening Celebration

More than 170 members of the school community gathered in front of the Athletics & Wellness Center May 13 to celebrate the faculty & staff, reflect upon the unprecedented trials and triumphs of the profession during the past three years and to pay tribute to those who have recently or will retire in June.

“Our school has had a leading voice in childhood education from the very beginning,” said Head of School Aaron Cooper. “From its progressive roots a la Maria Montessori and John Dewey in 1916 through the 1960s and pre-civil rights integration and the founding of the Horizons program, to the turn of the current century as a pioneer in non-cognitive skills measurement and social-emotional learning.
“And, of course, a central reason this school has successfully thought, led and innovated time and time again is our faculty and staff. Never has that been so evident as over the past two plus years, where we have provided an oasis for so many against a world that is so difficult due to the incredible effort, care, ingenuity, and dedication of our faculty and staff. That is why we honor them tonight.” 

Mr. Cooper went on to individually honor retirees Tom Giggi, Dave Stoller, Michal Speck, Lilani Balasuriya, Fraser Randolph, Pat Grace, Terry Gumz, Raphe Elkind, Laurie Bepler, Kathy Diomede, Susan Chiavaroli, Lisa Schultz, John Hastings and Jean Stevens for their numerous contributions and dedicated service. Cheers, inside jokes and good natured heckling could be heard from the numerous former faculty, staff and alumni in the audience during the festive occasion. 

Trustee Tucker Golden ‘90 then took the podium to acknowledge the many people who had contributed to the school’s multi-year master plan, the most recent highlight of which was the construction of the Athletics & Wellness Center. “Chief among a long list of all-stars are former board members Randy Salvatore and Stephanie Zeigler ‘81 who easily logged 1,000 hours on the project.” Current board members Sharon Teles ‘88 and Tara Coniglio joined Tucker and Aaron for an official ribbon cutting to symbolically open the building which was completed during the pandemic.

Revelers mingled around the entrance of the new building, dining on grilled salmon and mini-hamburgers while re-telling tall tales, re-living the good old days and reconnecting the warm bonds of lifelong friendships. Alumni, who returned in large numbers (10 from the Class of 1992!), embraced their former teachers and offered words of gratitude and expressions of thanks.
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New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.