“It is rare indeed when a person can profoundly touch the life of a school over several decades,” said Head of School Dr. Robert P. Macrae. “Topsy Post is such a person. Generations of classmates, students, and teachers have been the beneficiaries.”
The Alumni Award is presented each year to honor an alumna or alumnus who best embodies the statement from the school’s mission, “New Canaan Country School inspires students to be lifelong learners with the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world.”
While on campus, Mrs. Post spoke to Middle and Upper School students (grades 5-9) about “Finding One’s Voice” followed by a “PechaKucha,” a 20-slide presentation, entitled “The Tea Darlings of Darjeeling” featuring her own photography and narration.
In her remarks to the students, she shared how, with the assistance of her third grade teacher, Tot Wright, she overcame her painful shyness, developed a sense of self-worth and set out on a lifelong path - both figurative and literal - of finding her own voice; her purpose.
She related that her curiosity for the larger world led her first to India where as a student she studied the Hindi language, practiced the sitarand researched Ayurvedic Medicine. She also spent as much free time as possible travelling and exploring.
“The forks one takes can lead down many wonderfully unexpected paths,” said Mrs. Post.
Following graduate school, her travels led her to Pakistan, where she started a school, taught at the International School in Islamabad and designed literacy materials for UNICEF®.
Returning to Fairfield County in 1985, Mrs. Post continued teaching, ultimately joining Country School’s faculty in 1992 where, for the next 22 years, she imparted wisdom, worldly experience and a unique global perspective to Upper School students. During her tenure, Mrs. Post was a teacher of English and history, a Grade 9 academic advisor and the faculty advisor to the staff of The Column, a student-run publication. She also served as History Department Chair, overseeing the design and implementation of the school’s eighth grade World Cultures curriculum. In addition, she led student tours of the civil rights south as part of the school’s ninth-grade Expanded Studies program.
As a member of the larger school community, she was a valuable alto in the school’s faculty chorus and dedicated countless hours towards leading outreach initiatives to improve and uplift the lives of others. Mrs. Post is also the mother of alumnae Samar Jamali ’95 and Alexandra Jamali ’00.
Her retirement plans to pursue her love of photography were temporarily put on hold when she agreed to serve as a Co-chair of the school’s centennial, a task she managed with humor and efficiency, overseeing preparations for a series of celebratory events.
Characteristically, nowadays her time is spent in the service of others. Most notably, she focuses her talent and energy upon those who have found their way to our country and are working hard to improve their circumstances. Mrs. Post has become certified to teach English as a second language and does so both for female refugees at Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport and recent immigrants at Building One Community in Stamford.
“Having lived in Pakistan, I know first-hand how important language is to immigrate successfully to a new country and find meaningful employment,” said Mrs. Post. “I teach grammar and vocabulary, but also conversational English, so that they can develop the particular skills they need to work in their chosen field. For example, the vocabulary you would need as a home health aide might be different from that of someone working in the food service industry.”
“Having imparted an understanding of people and customs from different cultures to her students, by giving her adult students a voice through learning language and by depicting those on the margins through her photography, Mrs. Post takes pride in fostering the common humanity in all people,” said Country School Alumni President Steve Bloom. “She was a warm, thoughtful and caring teacher who treated my classmates and me as peers, not students. Mrs. Post taught us to speak our minds, yet respect the opinions of others.”
Previous New Canaan Country School Alumni Award recipients include:
2016-2017: Maurice “Mo” Vaughn ’82
2015-2016: G. David Forney Jr. ’54
2014-2015: Zach Iscol ’94
2013-2014: Katherine Ward ’79
2012-2013: Liz Barratt-Brown ’74
2011-2012: Matt Heineman ’98
2010-2011: Rick Ackerly ’60
2009-2010: Ted Hoagland ’47
2008-2009: Patricia Gates Lynch Ewell ‘4 1
2007-2008: Hardy Jones ’58
2006-2007: Elizabeth Spelke ’64
2005-2006: L. Paul Bremer ’56
2004-2005: Edmund L. Resor ’66
2003-2004: William A. Shutkin ’80
2002-2003: Emily Mead ’41
2001-2002: Keith H. Brodie ’54
2000-2001: Samuel Sachs ’50
1999-2000: Elizabeth S. Crow ’61
1998-1999: Hedrick Smith ’47
1997-1998: Jonathan B. O’Brien ’53 and Joan Dominick O’Brien ’53
1996-1997: Peter Goldmark ’55