Four Teachers Honored with Instructorships

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At an all-school Assembly on Friday, September 16, 2022, Dean of Faculty Corinne Fogg ’99 awarded instructorships to four faculty members in recognition of their work in the classroom and with students. What follows are her citations for each teacher. 

 The Emily N. McFadon Vincent ’49 and Bob E. Vincent Instructorship was established in 2007 by Emily N. McFadon Vincent, Class of 1949, and her husband Bob to recognize a young faculty member’s initiatives in and out of the classroom. This year’s recipient is a consummate professional educator, within her classroom and in our afternoon program. Keeping students central to her work, offering them access to the world through language and culture, she is eager to grow. Of her teaching, her students share that her clear and present focus on them, as learners of the Spanish language, fosters a space where they can “take chances in their learning and practice bravely.” Witnessing this outside of the classroom, I have seen plainly how students are drawn to her in the dorm, as a coach – stretching herself in new ways, and in our student life activities. To be accessible, as she is, to students is a masterful skill and one that shows students you are reliable, steady, accountable, and caring; this is her gift. World Language Department Chair, Nat Simpson, describes Ms. Kokozka as a “resourceful, inventive language educator who promotes cultural competency and prioritizes her students’ ability and confidence in the target language.” This promotion and prioritization of students is precisely what makes her such a talented educator. 

It is my pleasure to award the Emily N. McFadon Vincent ’49 and Bob E. Vincent Instructorship to Ms. Darlenia Kokoszka.  

 

The George Gregory and Catherine Gregory Instructorship was established in 2007 by Dick Gregory, former faculty member, in honor of his parents. The purpose of the instructorship is to recognize the initiatives of a young faculty member of the fine arts—in and out of the classroom. 

This year’s recipient of the George and Catherine Gregory Instructorship makes art of life. A charismatic and empathetic educator, she is patient in drawing out the best from within her students. A hallmark of her students’ shared experience in her class and in interactions within the dorm is their common reflection on her capacity to model creative expression, to demonstrate sculpture or architectural design, and to meet her students authentically as artists. Her gentle, welcoming approach to curating a classroom speaks to her students of her passion for fine arts and of her commitment to the composition of their learning. Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair, Natania Hume, shares that “Ms. Staples is an enthusiastic and talented teacher and colleague. She has non-stop creative ideas and works with groups of all ages to foster and cultivate their imaginations, creativity and personal growth. She has high standards for herself and her students which are regularly met by both. She embodies the tenants of boarding school life; she is a wonderful teacher, dorm parent, artist and colleague.” In this, Ms. Staples initiates creativity each day along her path at Williston. She brings light, contrast, and depth to the canvas of our school community. 

It is my pleasure to award the George and Catherine Gregory Instructorship for 2022 to Ms. Wendy Staples. 

 

Established in 2001 by alumni and friends, The Karin O’Neil Instructorship is named for former Associate Head Karin O’Neil who, until her departure that year, directed much of the School’s program for over 30 years and enabled the School to achieve great progress and to aspire to the highest levels of scholarship and engagement with student success.  

Karin O’Neil was unequivocally one of Williston’s finest teachers, and she possessed an adroit penchant for logistics. Humble in his leadership, this year’s recipient of the Karin O’Neil Instructorship is equally savvy and steady in managing multiple opportunities as they arise. Whether covering swiftly and reliably for his departmental colleagues, meeting with students outside of class to ensure lasting understanding, or selflessly offering support to colleagues regardless of their tenure, this faculty member adapts and responds to all. Unafraid to try new pedagogies, to examine grading practices, or to tackle theorems and proofs, Mr. Mailloux is an accomplished mathematician and educator. He epitomizes what it is to lead from the classroom, much like this award’s namesake. Of his teaching, Mr. Mailloux’s students share that he “takes time and isn’t afraid to pause to address questions, meeting us where we are.” An infinite learner himself, Mr. Mailloux has taken up new professional learning and his own scholarship each year of his tenure at Williston. As Department Chair, he is the early to offer support, to cover classes across the spectrum of content offerings, and he provides consistent support for the Williston Math Department to engage with students on their journey towards numeracy and mathematic achievement.  

It is my pleasure to award the Karin O’Neil Instructorship for 2022 to Mr. Mike Mailloux. 

 

Established in 2001 to recognize a young faculty member’s initiatives in and out of the classroom, the Sandra and Joe Mesics Instructorship is awarded this year to a faculty member who embodies the zeal, professionalism, and seriousness of purpose that Heads of School and Deans of Faculty search for in their hiring. Last year, truly at almost every turn, Williston community members shared their high praise for this young educator – in the dorms, on the court, and in the classroom. Students and adults alike shared, unsolicited, what a joy it was to learn from and collaborate with this faculty member. She was, in fact, one of the first faculty members I met when I arrived at Williston last year, and it was clear to me as well that she was possessing of something truly rare in our field. In observing her work over this last year, she has been readily willing to take feedback, mindful in reflecting on her practices, and delighting in her students’ personalities and in their acquisition of knowledge. Her classes are grounded in fostering long-lasting understandings of the human condition, of the mind, and of our world – flawed and bright. Board of Trustees member, John Booth, describes Ms. Taylor in saying, “There are often two types of leaders—those who lead by example, rarely vociferous in their guidance, and those who are extremely extroverted and vocal in their leadership style. The rare leader, one such as [Ms. Taylor], does both.  [She has] always led by example and yet, when needed, used her voice to challenge and motivate.  And because of that, fellow classmates and even adults like me, were eager to follow her in whatever cause she was taking on at the time.  Her passion and competitive nature run deep. [Ms. Taylor] makes leadership look effortless and yet we all know how hard leading can be.  In my eyes, she is one of the best natural leaders I have ever encountered.” Ms. Taylor is a bright and shining addition to our campus, and she is an educator of true promise. 

It is my pleasure to recognize Ms. Tyla Taylor with the 2022 Sandra and Joe Mesics Instructorship.