Vincent Instructorship Awarded to Alex Tancrell-Fontaine


 Editor’s note: this address was given by Dean of Faculty Peter Valine during Assembly on September 25, 2019.

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.

The new Vincent instructorship recipient arrived on campus with the faculty class of 2015. She had just graduated from college the previous spring, but it was clear early on that she possessed both the energy and commitment to effectively meet the demands of an independent boarding school lifestyle.

In the classroom, her interactive lesson plans and her genuine investment in the students creates an environment conducive to learning. She is passionate about English and excited about working with adolescents. She employs small group work and graded discussions to keep her students engaged and responsible for their learning. Another student commented that she finds class discussions enjoyable and productive “because our teacher steps back and lets us discuss the book.”

Her students appreciate the structure she provides to allow the students to be successful in their work. She thoughtfully crafts lesson plans that help students identify and realize the content and skill emphases. She requires her students to read closely and annotate diligently, but she also reviews the readings while pushing the students to discover the important themes in the text. She monitors student progress by using checkpoints to help the students from falling too far behind, and encourages students to ask questions and seek extra help. Several students have commented on her tendency to answer email questions with prompt replies that are sent “at the speed of light.”

This instructorship also recognizes contributions outside the classroom, and the new Vincent recipient has earned the respect of her students and peers with her commendable work in athletics and residential life. In athletics she works with two varsity teams and her experience and expertise gained as a Division 1 athlete gives her an immediate credibility with her players. Since athletics was such an integral part of her own growth and development, she is eager to assist her players to accrue the same benefits from their experiences at Williston. As an advisor and dorm affiliate she builds strong relationships with students that enable her to earn their trust and these bonds help her be an effective advocate. In all areas of school life she serves as a wonderful role model for all the students in our community.

It is my pleasure to announce that the new recipient of the Vincent Instructorship is Alex Tancrell-Fontaine.