Each January, we gather to honor our colleagues for their long-term service to the School. This year, we celebrated the milestone
anniversaries of 17 Brimmer faculty and staff. Over the next month, we will share highlights from the event’s inspirational speeches. We hope you enjoy learning more about some of the talented, dedicated, and dynamic individuals who help make Brimmer such a special place. Twenty Year CelebrationsFive Year Celebrations
Kelly NeelyHumanities Department Co-Chair Kelly Neely’s dedication to her students and her profession has led her to seek out numerous opportunities to learn and to improve her craft, to increase her knowledge and understanding of and experience in the world in order to provide an outstanding education to her students here. And who better, then, to lead the Upper School’s Global Studies Program? Her work, in all its facets--from creating courses and programming to planning classroom lessons and Global Studies Lunch Meetings to just “taking care of business” as a Department Head and Director of Winterim, Kelly has helped the School realize the global piece of its mission.
Debbie O'MalleyFor 20 years Deb O’Malley has sliced, diced, arranged, cooked, prepared, and cleaned up our food. She is a dedicated and hard-working person who always has a smile on her face and an inner strength that never falters. Always upbeat and positive, Deb always goes the extra mile to serve and care for those around her. She recognizes any special needs of our colleagues and students and goes out of her way to make something just right. Her easygoing demeanor, compassion, and understanding make her a good friend to many. We thank her for her concern for others and her kindness towards all of us--young and old! Fifteen Year Celebrations
Upper School Science Teacher Jill Iuliano’s classroom is filled with a lifetime of artifacts to look at and sort through. She has always strived to engage students in a way that goes beyond what the textbook has to offer. Science Department Chair Cecelia Pan shares, “Jill has been the type of person that advocates and fights for students who struggle. She sees what they are capable of doing and wants to help them reach their potential.” Her work with Earth Day has also left a mark on the School. She is passionate about the environment, and she has helped foster that passion and focus in our students at a time when it is critically important.
Administrative Assistant to the Head of School Patty Poulin is kind, patient, and trustworthy. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could be more professional and competent in what she does in her role. She handles difficult phone calls, last-minute requests from trustees, changes in the workplace, and the Head of School’s demanding calendar with perfection. She is always two, if not five steps ahead. Her professional standards are of the highest standard a person can expect, and she manages the daily demands of the job without showing a flicker of frustration. She has an exceptional ability to listen and reason, and she is known for her accuracy, efficiency, support, and commitment to our School.
Ten Year Celebrations
The Nikki Atkins story is one of a 10-year recognition but spans three decades, as she first joined the Brimmer community in the early 1990s but has come and gone several times since then. Nikki brings creativity, intellect, understanding, thoughtfulness, professionalism and so much more to the table for her Fifth Grade students and the School. She develops wonderful, memorable, and effective curriculum. She always seeks to improve her teaching craft to the benefit of her students; with this in mind, she completed training as a CFG coach, attends professional workshops regularly, and is thoughtful and self-reflective about her curriculum and pedagogy.
Not only was Jason Bock a great fit for the original job he was hired for at Brimmer, but he’s an even better fit for the job of Manager of Infrastructure that exists now, ten years later. Things change—people, jobs and their descriptions, educational practices and, most especially, technology. Jason has grown and adapted to new roles and responsibilities, always learning and never being complacent or satisfied. He’s a problem solver; detail oriented while still seeing the big picture and able to complete tasks ‘on time and on budget’ as is said in business. He’s a great teacher who has vastly expanded Brimmer’s offerings in computer science.
Taking care of nearly 400 students, 100 employees, and many coaches requires concentrated, organized, expert skill, and strong attention to detail. Parents and students know they can go to Director of Health Services Beth Escobar and receive a high standard of care with outstanding follow-through. She not only helps to keep us healthy but also takes the job of prevention seriously. Her commitment to getting flu shots lined up, to assuring we are complying with safety standards, and to finding educational programs for our students is excellent. Beth does this all with a sense of humor and gracious spirit. We are lucky to have such a balanced and well-educated health professional caring for us.
Smart, funny, sophisticated, stylish, an excellent storyteller, and an even better note writer, Director of Lower School Admissions Ellen Foley has been an invaluable member of the Admissions Office for the past ten years. She has been a caring and strong advocate for the Lower School team and families ever since she arrived at Brimmer, and she is the most dependable and trustworthy colleagues one could ask for. She is one of the more detailed-oriented people you will ever work with. She loves a good action item, is single-handedly keeping the Post-It market in business, and she can put together a high-level meeting summary in her sleep.
When you have a moment to reflect on Director of Innovation Kathryn Lee and her work at Brimmer—and if you lived through the 1980s—you will realize that she is, in fact, our flux capacitor: you can get “back to the future” if she’s working in her usual supercharged mode. However, if you are more a native of the current millennium, you will realize that she is, in fact, Brimmer’s tesseract, the four-dimensional hypercube that can control the fabric of space and teleport you anywhere— truly, a creative marvel. In either case, you understand that she is a high-energy, forward-thinking, dynamic force who exhorts our students to be their best possible selves.
Kitchen Assistant Belarmina Sepulveda is truly a master at what she does. She has a tremendous work ethic—she strives to be the best she can be and takes pride in the quality of her work, which is always top-notch. Her colleagues say she is the unsung hero of the kitchen who puts her head down and gets the job done. What is most impressive is that she does all of this with a smile on her face and while always dressed to impress! It is an honor to work with Bela—she has been a teacher and caretaker of so many over the past ten years.
As co-director of international students, Helen has worked directly with dozens of families from multiple countries and continents during her five years at Brimmer. She has interviewed international students, worked with the Development Office to have conversations with families around fundraising, assisted with difficult conversations as an interpreter and advocate for families while being mindful of important cultural differences. She has also hosted many campus events and even had students and parents to her home for the Chinese New Year. It goes without saying that we have all benefited from Helen’s graciousness, professionalism, and her “CAN DO” attitude.
Matt was hired in the summer of 2014 and, after having completed his Ph.D. and teaching mostly at the college level, he was honest about being a bit unsure about diving into the world of Middle School. However, as it turns out, teaching Middle School is exactly where he is supposed to be. Matt is committed to inquiry and project-based learning and has an innate sense of how to extract the best of each of his students. As Dean of Students, he has taken on an essential leadership role in the Middle School. He is the consummate colleague, respected for both his work ethic and how he embodies our Core Values.
As you walk into the Art Barn, you immediately hear the sounds of music filling the space, which greets Brent’s students as they enter into their art classes. Brent works to strike the balance of creating a relaxed, laid back vibe in the creative arts space while maintaining standards of learning and providing constructive criticism. Creative Arts Department Chair Bill Jacob shares that during the interview process the department was impressed above all with Brent’s approach to his work, the questions he raised, and the way he looks for answers.
If you ever need a dose of cheerfulness, stop by Nicole's office. In addition to chairing the World Language Department and teaching French, international relations and cultural competencies, her role on the Wellness Committee is perfect for her sunny disposition. She always tries to look at every situation with a positive outlook, and we have all benefited immensely from her knowledge and leadership. Nicole’s department members often comment on how supportive she is, and they can always count on her for anything they need. She is just as committed to her students and to instilling a love of the French language in them all.
In his role of Director of Food Services, Michael has elevated the quality of our meals by integrating new and unusual ingredients, committing to new experiments in food like fermenting his own vegetables for kimchee and harvesting kale from our gardens both indoor and out. A true community member, Chef Michael’s influence extends well beyond the dining hall walls; he runs 6 different cooking clubs per school year for both Middle and Lower School students and works with students during the school day in our gardens harvesting food and educating students about healthy eating and cooking.
Stepping into Kenley’s classroom means walking into a thoughtfully and intentionally designed space where you are surrounded by different types of seating, softer lighting, and an assortment of fantastic, carefully curated wall decorations. Not only is the space a haven for students, but it has also become a haven for teachers. Humanities Department Co-Chair Kelly Neely shares, “Kenley challenges her students to work beyond their perceived capacities, and she fosters in them an excitement for literature.” This sentiment is confirmed by senior student testimonials during their exit interviews each year, where they admit their appreciation for annotations.