The Distinguished Service Award is the preeminent service award which the school bestows upon members of our community. Since its inception in 1959, the Distinguished Service Award has been given to individuals who have shown through their actions an exceptional measure of devotion to The Williston Northampton School. This year, we are delighted to recognize two truly extraordinary and unparalleled faculty members with this award whose service to the school is characterized by their deep commitment, genuine compassion, resourceful creativity, and stalwart leadership.
It is our great honor to present the Distinguished Service Award to Ann Pickrell and Greg Tuleja, in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the academic, athletic, and cultural life of Williston Northampton School.
Ann Pickrell came to Williston Northampton in the fall of 1982, having spent four years at Cushing Academy where she was Associate Director of Admissions and coached field hockey, skiing, and track and field, and started a girls lacrosse team.
At Williston Northampton, Ann began by teaching science and physical education at the Middle School, but soon was hired as Associate Director of Admissions, a post she held for 10 years. She then spent 20 years as Director of Admissions and has served as Assistant Head of School for the last 10.
Over those four decades she also was head of John Wright dormitory (which at that time was the school’s newest girls’ residence), traveled extensively around the world as an admissions representative, compiled impressive records as the head coach of varsity field hockey for 30 years, and launched the girls golf program in 2003.
She also been a helpful advisor to her colleagues. Greg Tuleja has said that when he arrived on campus a year after Ann, “She was crucially important to him in trying to figure out how to navigate the boarding side of things, noting that “Ann always professed finding the balance between being authoritative and being approachable. You can’t be friends with the teenagers, but you can be friendly with them. They should feel they can talk to you. We have that balance as coaches and as teachers, but in the dorm, it’s crucial to find that.”
Of all the roles that Ann has played at Williston Northampton, she maintains that it is her work as a student advisor, “helping students and getting to know their families” that she has found most rewarding. As Ann recently noted, she’s “… been here long enough that for some of the students that are now at Williston, she was their parent’s dorm parent, or advisor, or coach … and she’s still in touch with people that went here 40 years ago. The deep and lasting positive impact Ann has had on generations of students was recently summed up Olivia Moses Clough ’09, who posted this tribute on the Williston website, “What Williston, and specifically Ms. Pickrell, taught outside the classroom are the lessons I carry with me every day. I am forever grateful for the privilege of her counsel.”