Proctor Community: We Are Thankful!

Posted by Scott Allenby


Students have departed campus for the week and we wade through the grading of final exams, writing of end of term comments, plowing of weekend snow, and tying up of loose ends before a few days truly "off", we pause to thank those that surround us. Working at Proctor is a choice. It requires each employee to put into perspective the greater goals of the work we do: empowering a generation of young people to make a difference in the world around us. It's hard, emotionally and physically exhausting work, but also incredibly rewarding to work with this group of students AND adults who have chosen Proctor.


We asked the adults in the community what they are thankful for this year, and received the responses below. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Proctor! 

Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff

Raz (Learning Skills Department): 
This time of year the calendar gives us opportunity to reflect on those things and people we are grateful for and give thanks. As I look around me, there are so many reasons to be thankful. The "unsung heroes" of Proctor Academy: maintenance, housekeeping, business office, development office, dining services, admissions...I am thankful for all of their hard work. I am surrounded by a group of boys who keep me on my toes twenty-four hours a day. Thanks, Burbank East boys! The third floor of the Learning Center keeps my mind engaged. Specifically, my eight boys that I meet with on a daily basis. We live to learn and learn to live every day, thanks for that boys! The six girls in my advisory are like branches of my family tree. They are "my girls" and it is my honor to walk beside them on this path. My friends, who I don't get to see as much as I would like, are part of the fabric that keeps me held together. I give thanks to the Earth, the fire, the water, and the air. It is my faith in the universe that gives me hope for a better tomorrow. I am thankful for this day and every day that comes after it. 
John Boutin (English Department): 
As someone new to Proctor, I am grateful for how warmly my family and I have been welcomed here. 
Kyle Connolly (Social Science Department): 
I'm thankful for the day-in, day-out grinders in the Social Science Office. The brain power that goes into planning creative and impactful classes, providing meaningful feedback, and navigating classroom management can be truly exhausting; that energy drain is the biggest obstacle I feel when trying to accomplish my goals each day. The insights, suggestions, jokes, reminders, and words of wisdom from my colleagues in the department make the completion of work that much easier. With the leadership and vision of Geoff at the helm and the support of Tim, John, Caroline, Brooke, and the many others, I am thankful to be part of a powerhouse department. 
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Amy Makechnie (Science Department): 
I am grateful for our athletic trainers on multiple levels! Not only does my entire family run (limp, sometimes crawl) to Kelly, Chris, and Gabriela whenever we have an ache or pain, but the athletic training team often steps into the classroom at Shirley Hall to teach our students about injuries, bones, and muscles. Below is a picture of Christ Jones with our A&P students. It was a literal hands-on class as Chris taught us about his ACL surgeries (and upcoming one this March), and gave us the opportunity to pull his tibia forward to demonstrate how the leg moves anteriorly without the support of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. The students were fascinated, peppered Chris with questions, and stayed so long after class that I had to shoo them away for sports. I am grateful for fantastic educators who love their jobs, have an incredible skill set, and are happy to jump in anywhere, anytime.
Becky Cassidy (Communications and Marketing Team): 
Thankful for my ever-supportive FAMILY of co-workers, during good and tough times this year!  :)
Erik Cole Johnson (World Language Department): 
I am thankful to the kitchen staff for nourishing us day after day with interesting and tasty food. It is such a key part of life at Proctor! Thank you to the Art department for a wonderful evening of art exhibition, live music, and theater. The art department and their students are so talented!
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Annie Mackenzie (Learning Skills Department): 
Woods Team, out of sight and out of mind are unsung heroes of our community. Not only did they have to forge on without their fearless leader Dave this fall, they made due with just several students. The wood fired dorms will be warm this winter because of their efforts. The trails are cleared, bridges built, and the sauna wood is stacked. No one announces their achievements in assembly, but our community would not function as well as it does without their efforts. Thank you to Woods Team!
Debbie Krebs, you are an awesome multitasker who works so hard and makes our community shine. You are more then appreciated. Bonny, you have a gift for making people feel comfortable. Jill Makechnie, everything seems brighter when you are around. Morgan Wilson, you bring out the best in the rest of us and are so good at figuring things out. Jane Walker, our community is better because you are a part of it. Nate Mazur, you bring out the best in people. Alex Estin, you are always willing to lend a helping hand. Dawn Cook-Hoy, you make a bigger impact than you realize. Chris Bartlett, your ability to recall random factoids at just the right time is impressive. Bill Chamberlain, everything would be better if more people were like you! Diane Benson, you are so kind to those around you. Terry Stoecker, you always find something special in the most ordinary things. Becky Walsh, any "Team" would be lucky to have you on it. Casey McCormack, you are really something special. Anna-Marie Hanlon, your capacity for kindness is boundless. Spanky, you have such a generous spirit. Wendy McLeod you are a gift to those around you. Seth Currier, you're a constant reminder that people can be so, so good. Ethney McMahon, thank you for making one feel they have something of worth to contribute
Adam Jones (Technology Department): 
James Cox is a man of many talents and responsibilities. I am grateful for all that he does behind the scenes to help Proctor run smoothly. I started to make a list of all that James does on campus, but it is largely a fruitless task because I am bound to miss something! I mean, the man pulled the wires and dug the trenches for the original phone and internet systems back in the good ole days! He has worked tirelessly every summer that I've been at Proctor to upgrade our technical systems and make sure Proctor is on the cutting edge. I am hoping that he'll see his way to taking some time off this summer! He is a master teacher who is able to balance holding the line with his students and fostering long-term relationships. Additionally, the work that he and Seth have done preparing the new academic classrooms on the west end of campus has been nothing short of extraordinary. James -- on behalf of the Proctor community, thank you for all you do and for continuing to be a mentor of mine, both in words and deeds.
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Lindsay Brown (Mathematics Department): 
We are incredibly thankful for the work that Candi does to take care of us and keep us healthy and clean over at Cortland.  She is an outstanding worker and community minded.  We are super thankful to B.C. (who wishes to be unnamed:)) from maintenance who grabs and delivers big packages for us because he knows we are juggling lots every day.  It is super thoughtful and much appreciated. I am super thankful for the time I get with Patty Pond.  She is one of the most amazing people I know and I LOVE working with her side by side building curriculum.  #grateful #admiration
Ross Young (World Language Department): 
Thankful to have Gaby teaching Spanish. She's great to have on campus and we're grateful to have her in our department.
Alex Estin '83 (The Store): 
I am so thankful for this community.  I have become the person I am today, thanks to the teachers I had when I was a student here at Proctor.  I have kept up many of the relationships with those faculty and classmates.  My advisor, Sarah Will, who I joke with that she didn't know being my advisor meant for life!  Ha, Ha!  I know that when you are going through a tough time this community is outpouring with love and support, which I haven't seen anywhere else.
Nina Kozain (Learning Skills Department): 
I am thankful to be part of the Learning Skills Department at Proctor. Not only do the learning specialists support the students, they also support each other. They collaborate and share new research and techniques and sub for each other if needed. Most of all, I am grateful for our tireless leader, Jen Fletcher. She is a calm and reassuring presence in the department, always going the extra mile to assist faculty and students alike. It is a great place to work!
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Joan Saunders (Learning Skills Department): 
My thanks are numerous. My gratitude for the special friendships with my colleagues, the role-modeling, and the compassion of so many people over the time I've been at Proctor teaching. I am truly thankful for Terry Stoecker, Michael Littman, and Karl Methven, to name a few. I also think about those folks who have been at PA but moved on, and I miss them and thank them for being mentors and friends. I am also thankful for Proctor's education of my 4 children-who were so well-prepared for college because of their opportunities here.
Anonymous Submission: 
It's been a tough year, but we had one of the best audits to date (which occurs during the month of July when we would rather be on vacation!), had a workman's compensation audit, 401(k) audit, we've filed several tax returns, and we will be around during the holidays to be sure bills are paid and payroll happens!
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Kyle Tremblay (Learning Skills Department and Residential Life Coordinator): 
I'm really grateful for Shauna Turnbull for being an important mentor to me in my Proctor career. She makes it a point to empower the other women she works with to push ourselves forward and to value the gifts we give to our students and community. She knows when to walk along side me and when to get behind me and start lighting a fire. She sees the big picture and values what is best for the whole community over herself, which is inspiring. I truly appreciate how she takes the time to support others, from encouraging professional development opportunities (and coming along with to support the work) to the quick, and usually humorous, notes she sends to make us all laugh at the exact right moment. She's a fearless leader to her colleagues and students. She sets her expectations high, but she guides others along the way in meeting those expectations. We all need a Shauna on our side!!
Kelly Griffin-Brown (Athletic Training): 
I am so thankful to live in this amazing community! From the dining hall crew, to maintenance, to everyone who helps when there is a moment of need. Thank you for making this place so spectacular! We are beyond lucky to call Proctor our home!
Derek Nussbaum Wagler (Academic Dean): 
I am thankful for the team of folks that I get to work with every day. I want to draw special attention to our Department Heads (Shauna, Geoff, Buz, Susan, Adam, Jen, Mike, Ross, Bill and Gregor). This group of people meet weekly to discuss everything from calendars and scheduling, to our long-term vision for the school. While they do not always agree on everything, there is never a question that every single person in that group is looking out for the best interest of our students. 
I am also continually grateful for the work that Morgan does. She tirelessly supports the work happening all over campus; Weekend cards, answering the phone, sorting mail, receiving birthday cakes, organizing family weekends, managing the school's many calendars, changing academic schedules, and on and on.... Her energy, attitude and positive support help make Proctor what it is and will continue to find ways to make Proctor even better.
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Maggie Kennedy (Wellness Team): 
I am thankful for so many people here but especially to Erica and Wheels for willingly taking care of Oakley on multiple occasions. Erica has also helped with my class which adds a lot of depth to discussions with her in there. I also am thankful for my wellness group - Megan, Terry, Junior, and Erica for being a constant support for me. Also incredibly thankful for Kelly and Ale for being such great surrogates in the dorm. It's so nice to have them taking care of the girls allowing us to get some time to relax and go to bed early! There are so many people here that I am thankful for that are incredibly helpful and supportive. I am thankful to be surrounded by such an amazing community. 
Valerie Ferris (Learning Skills Department): 
I am grateful for the talented team in the Dining Commons who cook us amazing, tasty, healthy food.  I am also grateful for the wonderful people in both Maintenance and Housekeeping who keep our campus safe, in good working order, and clean.  I am also grateful to be a part of the community we call Proctor as there are so many people that are all integral to the smooth running of our school.  Thank you all!
Proctor Academy Faculty and Staff
Mark Tremblay (English Department): 
I'd like to thank Scott for continually reinforcing the Proctor brand and being a machine in all things communications. I'd like to thank Kyle Connolly for his dedication to wit and comedy through his weekly emails.  A big shout out to Ian for being the faculty barista and DJ at every Friday morning Java Hut, and Patty for always making delicious baked goods. Small commitments like this to faculty culture go a long way! Thanks to Shauna for being so 'woke', and, lastly a huge thank you to "the magician" Kyle Tremblay for all of her work with parents, students, advisors and dorm faculty around all things Residential Life, but particularly housing, roommate conflicts, sisters program and dorm leadership at Proctor.
Morgan Wilson (Academic Dean Office): 
I am thankful for Patti Durkin and all the support and mentoring she has provided me over the past year. She has guided me through my Proctor journey and has helped me to grow as a person and professional. All she does for me and the Proctor community is greatly appreciated and has such a positive impact on us all.
Gregor Makechnie '90 (Director of Athletics): 
I am grateful for our fall coaches who invested significant time as well as physical and emotional energy working with our athletes and afternoon activity participants.  We had an excellent fall afternoon program season.  I am also grateful to the athletic department staff: Trish, Bill, Becky, Kelly, Gaby, Chris and Scott for their commitment to our afternoon program.  From event management to transportation logistics, laundry and equipment, injuries and sports media coverage, the staff is fully invested in ensuring the athletic experience at Proctor for our athletes and guests is exceptional. I am also incredibly grateful to Debbie Krebs, Housekeeping, Maintenance and the Dining Services crews for their energy on Holderness Weekend.  They went above and beyond to make the weekend a success.
Corby Leith '95 (Art Department): 
I am thankful for my studio sisters Jill and Kate, my studio brothers Gordon, Greg and Brooks, and my studio cousins Jen and Dave.
Click here to read our Week of Thankfulness Posts 

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