This has been a week that finally feels like the Spring we have earned over these grey, wet, and cold winter months! As I see grass that is finally green, trees blooming, and anxious putterers puttering away in their yards, I am reminded that this is a season of rejuvenation and reinvigoration. It is in this context, that I write this afternoon about our teachers’ professional growth. The faculty will tell you they love the opportunities the school provides for professional growth, especially as it relates to their professional development. It is a critical piece of being a great educator. There is no more exciting opportunity for our faculty than the grants offered each year from the Faculty Endowment Enrichment Fund.
Established as an endowment in the fall of 2014 through an incredibly generous donation of $500,000 to the school by Bobby and Melissa Frist, the Faculty Endowment Enrichment Fund provides Harding’s faculty members with summer enrichment opportunities and the ability to pursue an interest or activity toward personal growth, which may include travel, special programs or projects that are not directly related to their area of teaching or professional development.
The Faculty Enrichment Endowment Fund and the awards it enables is an incredible testament to the esteem in which we regard our faculty at Harding Academy. Through the generosity of the Frist family, not only are we able to fund our current teachers in their personal and professional growth and rejuvenation, but as we communicate and market these awards, we position the school favorably in recruiting highly qualified and engaging teachers to the school from around Nashville and the country.
This past summer, our faculty travelled to Greece, England, Spain, Cuba, New York and Arizona. They ran the track at the Stadium at Olympia, chased the ghosts of Beatrix Potter, the Bronte sister, and Mary Anning while getting lost on the Jurassic Coast, found Hemingway and old cars in Havana, reconnected with a passion for photography by capturing the daily life of Rota in Southern Spain, listened to one of the greatest summer symphonies in the world from the porch of a summer home in Chautauqua, New York, and centered themselves through the myriad activities offered at Canyon Ranch. The benefits for our teachers are obvious and the reciprocal benefits to our children are exciting to contemplate.
This year I am excited to announce the 2018 Faculty Endowment Enrichment Fund award winners. Again, they will spend this summer strewn across the globe in the pursuit of personal passions that will undoubtedly translate into an impactful student experience next school year and beyond.
Amanda Millikan will travel to Zambia and Tanzania and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Mark Jones will be backpacking through Colombia and Costa Rica.
Lauren Bidez will be exploring Denmark and France as she rekindles her love of French.
Braden Bell will immerse himself in the life of Broadway Shows in New York City.
We are very excited about these opportunities for these teachers and hope you will stay tuned as you will be hearing more about these experiences over the next number of months.