Seven faculty and staff members and coaches were honored at the 2023 Board, Faculty, and Staff awards presentation.
At the 2023 Board, Faculty, and Staff Awards ceremony, members of the Steward community gathered for an early-evening celebration in the Lora M. Robins Theatre in the Paul R. Cramer Center for the Arts. Seven faculty and staff members were honored for their exemplary contributions to the Spartan community, including Lower School Theatre and Upper School Acting Teacher Craig Smith, who received the fifteenth-annual Paul R. Cramer Award. This award is given in memory of the former Steward head of school to a faculty member who epitomizes the characteristics of balance, perspective, and humor. Mr. Smith will also receive a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award.
Mr. Smith’s “personal passion for creativity and the arts are in perfect balance with his dedication to the craft of teaching,” said Head of School Dan Frank in his remarks at the award presentation. Citing Mr. Smith’s boundless creativity and his commitment to students, Mr. Frank noted, “Craig writes every grade-level play, every year, from whole cloth. He adapts the kids’ words and their work, based on collaboration with their teachers’ curricula. It’s fresh and relevant every time!”
At Steward, Mr. Smith has held a variety of teaching roles (including English, public speaking, and acting) and has served as department head and main stage director within the Performing Arts Department. The students in his classes, and those on the mainstage, “would say he challenges and encourages them, holds them to the high standards they have for themselves, and that when they leave they know they have a friend they can call, visit with, and find an authentic connection to,” noted Mr. Frank. Mr. Smith’s purpose,” he said, “is to shine a light in each of these kids and show them what they’re capable of.”
Previous Cramer Award honorees include Rugene Paulette, Janet Rice, Chris Tickle, Carolyn Brandt, Louise Robertson, Gardner Mundy, Beverley Fox, Bonnie Anderson, Catesby Jones, Robin Ricketts, Heather Jeter, Margaret Maclin, Lynn Zinder, and Melissa Freed, each of whom also received a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award.
During the event, 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 2023 Debbie Hanger Outstanding Lower School Teacher Award was presented to Kindergarten Teacher Mary Ann Taylor.
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 2023 Roger Coulombe Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award was presented to Middle School/Upper School Choral Teacher Heidi Taylor.
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 2023 Carolyn Brandt Outstanding Upper School Teacher Award was presented to Upper School English Teacher Peter Hurley.
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 2023 Robert Sanders Jr. Outstanding Staff Member Award was presented to Plant Operations Staff Member Matthew Blackwell.
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 Girls Swim and Dive Coach and Upper School Science Teacher Eric Hopp and Head Golf Coach Catesby Jones.