For Sarah Klumpp, the process of becoming a teacher began with a love of being a student. “I was a day student at Northfield Mount Hermon, but most people thought I was a boarder because I spent every weekend there,” she explains. “I was there until 8 p.m. every night because I loved it so much. I grew up in Greenfield, Mass., which at the time was not very diverse. So when I went to boarding school, there were kids from all over the world and I thought, ‘Whoa! This is cool.’”
After earning her B.A. in history at Hamilton College, she kept thinking about that experience at boarding school and decided to give teaching a try. She came to Williston after cutting her teeth at the Stoneleigh-Burnham School and soon realized she needed to continue to grow as a teacher. “I really had no idea what I was doing,” she laughs. “I knew the content way better than I understood any of the philosophy behind classroom instruction.” Her solution was to return to Westfield State University to get her master’s in education, taking summer and evening classes as she continued to teach. Williston covered her costs, and the investment has clearly paid off. Sarah now heads the History and Global Studies Department, teaches AP European History (among other classes), and mentors history students in the Williston Scholars program. She has been a teacher at Williston for 17 years.
In that time, Sarah has come to appreciate the professional development opportunities that the school provides. She received an instructorship a few years ago and used the funds to tour the World War I battlefield sites of Europe. “Just to see those trenches and see the shells was amazing,” she says. More recently, she and other Williston Scholars teachers took part in a seminar on project-based learning through technology. She hopes to offer the same workshop to her whole department this year. “We’ve got our Microsoft Surfaces, so I feel like we have to put the technology to good use.”
And next summer she plans to travel to Poland to see the concentration camps, witnessing in person the places she has been covering in her Hitler and Nazi Germany class. This, too, is made possible through school funding, specifically the Cain Family Sabbatical Fund. “Teachers want to be better at what we do,” she notes. “It’s really wonderful to have the school support you in that effort.”