Faculty Awarded Teaching Chairs

One of the highlights of the first faculty and staff meeting of the school year on Tuesday, August 19 was the announcement of the Finkelstein Faculty Grant and the awarding of two McDonogh teaching chairs. After announcing that Pat Tasher of the Upper School World Languages Department used the generosity of the Finkelstein Grant to attend a counseling program during the summer, Headmaster Charlie Britton presented two faculty chairs. This year, as in the past, the deserving recipients were completely surprised and overwhelmed by the honor.

Andy Gill First Recipient of Charles C. Kinard Teaching Chair

Three members of the Class of 1952 were on hand for the inaugural presentation of the Class of ’52 Charles C. Kinard, Sr. Endowed Teaching Chair, which their class established in memory of Charles C. Kinard, Sr., a McDonogh English teacher who served from 1938 until 1964.

After explaining that Mr. Kinard impacted the lives of many McDonogh students in wonderful and innovative ways, the Headmaster began speaking about the first recipient of the chair. Without revealing the recipient’s name, Britton described the faculty member as a highly respected master teacher and coach.

He said, “Ask any graduate who has been fortunate enough to have had this wonderfully kind individual, and they will say that it’s the combination of his knowledge, his teaching style, and his sense of humor that they fondly remember. His dry wit may be his most winsome characteristic.”

It soon became apparent that the winner of the Kinard Teaching Chair was Math Teacher and Cross-Country Coach Andy Gill. Before being presented with his award and joined by his family, Britton quoted Jeff Sanborn who said, “Over these last three decades, few have been as fortunate as I to be joined nearly every afternoon by Andy Gill. He has been a friend and a trusty companion over many meets and many miles. On those occasions when my exuberance might steer us astray, Andy would imperceptibly right the course and bring greater perspective to the team, the season, even to our intertwined careers. I am grateful that our tenures have so closely overlapped.”

Nancy Lewis awarded Thomas R. Harper Teaching Chair

As soon as Britton began reading from an essay entitled, “The Day the Turtle Died: In Loving Memory of Speedy,” by an Upper School student about his compassionate Lower School teacher, Nancy Lewis gasped with the realization that she was the main character of this story. She knew she was about to be awarded the Thomas R. Harper Teaching Chair established in 2001 by alumnus Bob Chilstrom to honor his 1963 classmate, Tom Harper. Harper retired in 2004 after teaching English at McDonogh for 36 years.

Britton described Lewis’s qualities that earned her the honor, particularly her insight into how young children learn. “She has high expectations of her students, never underestimating what they can accomplish,” he said referring to the songs and plays she’s written about social justice issues for second graders to perform.

“When she believes in something wholeheartedly, she is undaunted, even if others find her opinion unpopular. She holds tight to her beliefs and can support them with data, and yet she is also an amazing listener. She is not compelled to change anyone’s mind but rather she strives to make people mindful.”

He continued with adjectives and accolades shared by her colleagues who said, “she is irascible, unconventional, and unwavering” and “she makes me think harder and laugh harder than anyone.”

As the gathering of faculty and staff rose to their feet with applause, Lewis was again surprised at the sight of a handful of family and friends who came to share the moment.

Endowed teaching awards recognize outstanding service to the school by a faculty or staff member. Recipients hold the chairs for three years and receive an annual stipend in addition to salary.

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McDonogh School | 410.363.0600 |
8600 McDonogh Road | Owings Mills | Maryland | 21117