Director of College Counseling Heather Jeter Receives 2018 Cramer Award

Seven faculty and staff members and coaches were honored at the 2018 Board, Faculty, and Staff Dinner.

At the annual Board, Faculty, and Staff Dinner on Thursday, February 15, several awards were presented to members of the Steward family. Heather Jeter, longtime independent school educator and director of College Counseling in the Upper School, received the eleventh annual Paul R. Cramer Award, given in memory of the former Steward headmaster to a faculty member who best embraces the characteristics of “balance, perspective, and humor.”

Mrs. Jeter joined The Steward School in 2012 after 13 years at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, where she quickly rose to the same position she serves currently at Steward. She has been active in college counseling professional organizations on a regional and national level, serving as the coordinator of the annual conference of the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC), which named her Virginia Counselor of the Year in 2009. She has also served as chair of the editorial board of The Journal of College Admission of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Mrs. Jeter earned her B.A. from Bridgewater College, her M.A. from James Madison University, and has completed doctoral coursework at The George Washington University.

In her role at Steward, Mrs. Jeter assists every single student in the Upper School with each step of the college application and admissions process. She guides students based on the philosophy of selecting a school with the “best fit” for both their academic and social pursuits. So far this year, six different seniors have been accepted into competitive programs at Georgetown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Notre Dame, Vassar College, Wake Forest University, and Tulane University.

In his introductory speech, Head of School Dan Frank spoke about the immense compassion and care that Mrs. Jeter brings every day to her role at Steward and in her personal life, citing her deeply bonded relationships with her family and Steward community as key examples.

“Heather gives everything she has and more to each person that walks into her office; they are each the most important person in the world at that moment,” Mr. Frank said. “To faculty, kids, and parents alike, she is a confidante, friend, and mentor … She gives guidance and advice shared in a way that the kids are more likely to be able to hear; she can talk about things that the kids can’t hear from their parents; she gleans honesty from the kids they wouldn’t otherwise give.”

He continued: “When the students consider transferring colleges, they come to her. When the universities are on winter break, her office is packed with alumni. When they need life advice, she is there. Her relationship with the kids and families does not stop at graduation.”

During her acceptance, Mrs. Jeter said: “It is such an incredible honor to be your colleague, and there are so many of you who deserve this … I’m so humbled, so thankful, and so grateful. Thank you.”

Previous Cramer Award honorees included Robin Ricketts, Catesby Jones, Bonnie Anderson, Carolyn Brandt, Bev Fox, Gardner Mundy, Rugene Paulette, Janet Rice, Louise Robertson, and Chris Tickle, each of whom received a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award.

After Mrs. Jeter’s award presentation, six additional awards were presented to faculty and staff members to recognize their outstanding contributions to Steward. Each recipient was given an engraved plaque and a check.

The Board of Trustees presented three awards—one to a teacher in each division.

  • The Lower School award is named for Debbie Hanger, a trustee and beloved member of our community who served as director of Lower School for a decade. The 2018 Debbie Hanger Outstanding Lower School Teacher Award was presented to Lower School Enrichment Coordinator Suzanne Casey.
  • The Middle School award is named for Roger Coulombe, former director of Middle School and head of school who was known for being compassionate, caring, and deeply committed to Steward’s mission and community. The 2018 Roger Coulombe Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award was presented to Spanish teacher Cierra Gillard.
  • The Upper School award is named for Carolyn Brandt, who spent 32 years at Steward and was—and continues to be—an integral part of Steward’s growth and a champion of the school’s mission. The 2018 Carolyn Brandt Outstanding Upper School Teacher Award was presented to science teacher Kristen Householder.

The Parents Association presented a staff recognition award named for former Director of the Physical Plant Bob Sanders, who spent two decades supervising the growth of Steward’s campus. The 2018 Robert Sanders, Jr. Outstanding Staff Member Award was presented to Executive Assistant Stephanie Bowlin.

The Spartan Club presented two awards to coaches who have made a significant impact on their teams and at Steward, inspiring our players to be competitive athletes as well as respectful, engaged citizens. This year’s awards were presented to field hockey and lacrosse coach Annie MacKimmie and soccer coach Peter Hurley.




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