At the 2022 Board, Faculty, and Staff Awards ceremony, members of the Steward community gathered for a late-afternoon celebration in the Lora M. Robins Theatre. Seven faculty and staff members were honored for their exemplary contributions to the Spartan community, including Upper School Curriculum Dean Melissa Freed, who received the fourteenth-annual Paul R. Cramer Award. This award is given in memory of the former Steward headmaster to a faculty member who best embraces the characteristics of balance, perspective, and humor. Ms. Freed will also receive a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award.
Special guests at the ceremony included Ms. Freed’s parents, husband Josh, and daughters Kaitlyn ’27 and Kara ’29.
Head of School Dan Frank spoke about Ms. Freed’s love for her family and friends; her dedication to all things Steward; and her quick wit.
Ms. Freed “has managed to pull off more areas of excellence than I’ve ever dreamed of attempting,” shared Mr. Frank. “She is an outstanding daughter, wife, mother, dancer, violinist, librarian, teacher, intrepid ‘entrepreneurist,’ and dean.” He continued, “[Her] work ethic is incomparable; she steps in to help everyone; she wants the kids to have spirit and opportunities. She loves — breathes — Steward and is always thinking about it, imagining its future and her and her family’s life in the school.”
Mr. Frank also cited Ms. Freed’s work as Steward’s Entrepreneurship Program faculty guide.
“Melissa has sought out and formed relationships with organizations across the city and worked intimately with the kids to get them prepared,” he said. I’ve been to all of the final pitches, and it’s incredible to watch our kids confidently pitch, answer questions, and sometimes go toe to toe with the CEOs. Thank you, Melissa, for seeing and meeting the kids’ needs in the classroom, in their personal lives, and in their futures.”
Previous Cramer Award honorees include Margaret Maclin, Heather Jeter, Robin Ricketts, Catesby Jones, Bonnie Anderson, Carolyn Brandt, Beverley Fox, Gardner Mundy, Rugene Paulette, Janet Rice, Louise Robertson, Chris Tickle, and Lynn Zinder, each of whom also received a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award.
Following Ms. Freed’s award presentation, six additional awards were presented to faculty and staff to recognize their outstanding contributions to Steward. Each recipient received an engraved plaque and a monetary gift.
The Lower School award is named for Debbie Hanger, a trustee and beloved member of the community who served as director of Lower School for a decade. The 2022 Debbie Hanger Outstanding Lower School Teacher Award was presented to Kindergarten Teacher Catherine Hathaway.
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 2022 Roger Coulombe Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award was presented to Middle School English Teacher Shannon Elsea.
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 2022 Carolyn Brandt Outstanding Upper School Teacher Award was presented to Upper School English Teacher Stephanie Arnold.
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 2022 Robert Sanders Jr. Outstanding Staff Member Award was presented to Coordinator of Auxiliary Programs Chuck Robinson.
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 and respectful, engaged citizens. This year’s awards were presented to Cross Country Coach and Upper School Science Teacher Laura Akesson and Assistant Girls Varsity Basketball Coach and Middle School Social Studies Teacher Wallace Inge.
Two additional staff members were recognized at the event. Nurses Becca Heck and Kendall Hrabak were presented with flowers and thanked for their dedication to the health of the Steward community, especially during the last two years.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed refreshments in the lobby and art gallery, and on Waddell Terrace. Congratulations to all our award recipients! Take a look at the Steward Snaps from this event.