Ed. note: History and Global Studies Chair Sarah Klumpp received the Richard C. Gregory Chair during Convocation on September 15, 2017. Dean of Faculty Peter Valine presented the chair and delivered this address.
The new recipient of the Gregory Chair arrived on our campus in the fall of 2001. As an independent school graduate who had also taught for three years in boarding school before coming to Williston, she rapidly immersed herself in all areas of school life.
In the classroom, her energy, enthusiasm, and exceptional organization allow her to successfully transmit her passion for history and teaching. She brings history alive through her student-centered pedagogy. She encourages students to find their own voice through discussions and to challenge their understandings through debate. She asks probing questions about historical issues, and creates engaging projects that require her students to adopt the roles of discoverers and historians. She uses clearly articulated goals and objectives that assist the process of discovery, and then prods her students to apply the knowledge and skills that they gained. Her students feel well supported by her frequent and constructive feedback, her availability for extra help, and her positive reinforcement and praise when their work is well done.
While she is purposeful and professional in the pursuit of learning, her students also appreciate her spirited personality and her efforts to make learning fun. She varies her teaching activities, conducts role plays of historical figures and events, embeds music videos in her lessons, and teaches history and art through Sister Wendy video clips. As one student recently commented, “AP Euro is a course that is very challenging, but her energy and sense of humor make it super entertaining.”
She is a dedicated educator who wrote on a self-evaluation that “Teaching is a learning process and I am constantly learning how to perfect my craft from my students and colleagues.” She has also grown through her willingness to stretch herself by teaching new courses, acquiring an advanced degree, and embracing new roles as she did in 2015 when she became head of the History and Global Studies department. Like her students, the department members benefit from her strong organizational skills, her passion and zeal for a cause, and her determination to realize established goals. As she works diligently in support of the school, all of her colleagues have come to expect and respect her collegiality, her expertise, and her brutal honesty.
Outside the classroom, she has served as a long-time dorm parent, a caring advisor, a winter fitness supervisor, and a field hockey coach. In all these endeavors she brings a commitment to excellence and a positive outlook. She has also been an advocate for inclusion in both our curriculum and our community. For several years she served as the Multi-Cultural Coordinator for Williston and helped raise awareness of diversity on our campus. A legacy that she is particularly proud of is the addition of a Women and Gender Studies course to our academic program.
The Gregory recipient is an alum of NMH, was an intern at Miss Halls, and then she started teaching at Stoneleigh Burnham; so it took her a while to get it right and find the proper place in the Pioneer Valley to hone her craft. Now, sixteen years later she has found a home at Williston-and through her substantial contributions to the life of the school- she has made an indelible mark on our community.
It gives me great pleasure to present the Richard C. Gregory Faculty Chair to Sarah Klumpp.