In November, Head of School Rebecca Upham named Upper School (US) History Teacher Leigh Hogan and Middle School (MS) English Teacher Rachel Jamison as the third recipients of the Jeanette Markham Master Teacher Chair (JMMTC) and Paideia Master Teacher Chair (PMTC), respectively.
Every few years since 2009, Ms. Upham has recognized faculty members across campuses by awarding them with master teacher designations. The JMMTC recognizes senior faculty for excellence in teaching and faculty leadership, and the PMTC honors teachers who reflect the essential role that faculty play at BB&N, Ms. Upham said.
When contemplating candidates for the awards, Ms. Upham said she sought input from campus directors and other administrators to help her with the nominations and selection.
She said she decided on Mr. Hogan, who has taught at the US since 1983 and chaired the history department, because of his intellectual curiosity and his ability to bring about new ideas.
“Being a very early leader, Mr. Hogan was one of the first faculty members to make suggestions to broaden the scope of curriculum to include more about world history,” Ms. Upham said.
Jacob Tuck ’19, who took Global History I and Global History II with Mr. Hogan, agreed with the choice.
“Mr. Hogan is a fantastic teacher who makes the effort to have fun in his classes while incorporating learning into that fun,” Jacob said. “He stands out as one of the most personable and enjoyable teachers I have ever had.”
Mr. Hogan said receiving the Chair was completely unexpected.
“[It was] out of the blue and more than a surprise. There are so many of my colleagues who are deserving of this type of recognition,” he said. “It’s nice that the school has established these chairs and is recognizing faculty in this way. It honors the faculty as a whole.”
Ms. Jamison also said she was surprised when she received the news, and she expressed gratitude for the opportunity to teach at the school.
“In my experience, BB&N is a supportive environment that welcomes challenge of all kinds, and as many people know, I enjoy a good challenge,” she said. “I have been, and continue to be, impressed with the [school’s] commitment to teaching and learning, and the chair positions are a wonderful acknowledgement of this.”
Emily Brower ’18 said she has enjoyed Ms. Jamison both as an advisor and an English teacher.
“Ms. Jamison always struck the perfect balance of humor and learning in her classes,” she said. “She is honest but kind, and all her students benefit from her strong feedback and her comfortable class environment.”
Ms. Upham awarded Ms. Jamison the PMTC because of her ability to lead curricular initiatives and integrate technology into the classroom, she said.
“When we were looking at redesigning the Middle School, it was Ms. Jamison who piloted new technology in her classroom to see if it’d work,” she said. “She served on the planning committee for the renovation for the Middle School. Her insights were crucial for that design.”
Ms. Upham added that choosing the two master teacher chairs was a difficult task made manageable by considering who is most deserving at a particular point in time.
On November 9, Ms. Upham hosted Mr. Hogan and Ms. Jamison for a reception with hors d’oeuvres at her house with members of the Board of Trustees, several faculty, and former Chair holders. Past recipients of the JMMTC include former MS World Languages Department Head Margaret Hardy ’61 and Lower School Math Specialist Bill Hritz, and former PMTCs include MS History Department Head Bill Rogers and US English Teacher Rob Leith.
“Almost all the past master teachers were present, and the event paid homage not only to the new recipients but also to the rest of us,” Mr. Leith said. “I found it very touching.”
Mr. Rogers also enjoyed honoring the teachers at the event.
“To be in the company of Rob Leith and Rachel Jamison underscores the meaningfulness of the chair,” he said. “Margaret Hardy, Bill Hritz, and Leigh Hogan further enrich the honor as Markham awardees. This is a team that could teach a great class.”