Five Madeira faculty awarded title of Master Teacher

January 24, 2018
Heidi Freeman '89, Sasha Newman, Jean Wright, Dr. Stacey Boyette, and Dr. Tulio Campos

Five Madeira faculty members have been awarded the title of Master Teacher. The Master Teacher designation was created with the generous support of donors, to recognize incredible teaching at Madeira. 

The newest Master Teachers at Madeira are:

  • Dr. Stacey Boyette - Tyler and Talbot Cain Master Teacher
  • Dr. Tulio Campos - Priscilla Payne Hurd II Master Teacher
  • Heidi Freeman - Dottie and Earl Craig Master Teacher
  • Sasha Newman - Ella West Freeman Master Teacher
  • Jean Wright - Prince Charitable Trust Master Teacher

The description of an ideal Master Teacher is as follows: The Madeira School Master Teacher embodies what we are called to in our Mission Statement. He/she excels in all elements of teaching - planning and preparation, instruction, classroom environment, and professional responsibilities. Master Teachers develop an outstanding rapport with their students, treating students as diverse individuals who have their own passions, dreams, and intellectual potential, while never forgetting the teacher’s proper role as an adult. The Master Teacher’s classroom has an atmosphere of excitement and is expertly managed to encourage students to explore their interests, develop their abilities, act with self-confidence and compassion, and assume responsibility for their actions in the global community. Finally, Master Teachers demonstrate a strong commitment to lifelong learning.

In order to be considered for a Master Teacher title, faculty must submit a portfolio of his/her work in the fall, which is reviewed by all Department Chairs. The candidates are narrowed down, sent to the Dean of Faculty, and finally approved by the Head of School.

At a recent All School Meeting, the Master Teachers shared their personal paths to teaching with the community. Read a summary of their comments below.

Dr. Stacey Boyette shared her story of perseverance and determination. She was the first generation in her family to attend college. When Dr. Boyette realized she wanted to pursue teaching as a full-time job, she found it difficult at first, having been rejected by 12 schools. This minor setback did not stop her from pursuing and achieving her dream of teaching, however, and she accepted her first job at Georgia Southern University. After seven years, Dr. Boyette moved on and found her way to Madeira. Her messages to everyone: 1.) “Don’t have it all figured out!” 2.) “Prepare and plan - keep heart and mind open to suggestions.” 3.) “You will end up right where you are supposed to be.”

Dr. Tulio Campos did not originally intend to become a teacher. He was studying to be an engineer in his home country of Peru. After graduation, his first job was as a teacher and he immediately fell in love with the profession. He loved the personal interactions with the students and the fact that he could anticipate his students’ needs. Dr. Campos originally taught math, physics, and literature, but transitioned to languages because of his passion for them and his desire to teach a subject that can transcend cultures. “I believe the field of languages gives you plenty of opportunities to make connections, to consider new ideas, to imagine different worlds, and ultimately, to become someone else.”

Heidi Freeman ‘89 has a long and storied history with Madeira. After graduating from Madeira, she attended Northwestern University to major in Biology, where she had intended to go to medical school. As time progressed, she changed her mind and decided to pursue teaching. Shortly after graduating from Northwestern, she returned to Madeira and started what would become a long career at the school. She and her husband even got married on campus, behind the Chapel/Auditorium. “While I didn’t take the path I originally set for myself when I was younger, I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to try teaching. I fell in love with the profession that I’ve now been doing for 25 years. Along the way, I found that teaching is a give and take – I’m sharing my knowledge and experience and I’m always learning from others – both my colleagues and my students.”

Sasha Newman also had an indirect path to teaching. She fell in love with the arts at an early age, particularly visual arts and being onstage. When she was at Boston University, studying Design and Production, she learned about the design process and why it is so important to foster creativity and imagination. After working in London for several years, Mrs. Newman returned to the Washington DC area. She helped with a production of Alice in Wonderland at Madeira and found out how rewarding it was to work with the students. The following fall, Mrs. Newman became Technical Director and Set Designer. “I love being a teacher because I get to share my passion for the arts and impact students' lives in small and sometimes large ways. When a student enters my classroom or the scene shop, full of hesitation or fear, I make it my goal to help them push beyond their perceived limitation, to try and sometimes spectacularly fail, to pick themselves up and try again.”

Jean Wright seems to have been destined to become a teacher. As a young girl, she would prop her stuffed animals up on her bed and run classes for them. She was also the first in her family to go to college. Immediately after graduating from Ohio University’s Honors College, Mrs. Wright entered a Master of Arts in Teaching co-op program at Duke University. While she was in school, she was also teaching full time in Durham, North Carolina. It was in that setting that she discovered what a difference she made in her students’ lives. After five years, Mrs. Wright moved to Northern Virginia where she taught at McLean High School for 31 years. After a well-deserved retirement from McLean, she realized she was not finished with teaching and sought out a job at Madeira. Her personal philosophy is: “Make them believe it’s worth the effort. Even if the subject is hard I try to find a path for everyone to succeed. I am always there for my students and colleagues whenever they need me and I know it’s worth the effort!”