Alumni Faculty – "Returning the favor"
Posted 09/25/2012 02:36PM

by James Rugen '70

New faculty members Al Freihofer '69,
Sarah Zimmerman '97,  Liz Bucceri '07, 
and Maggie Kennedy '05 (not pictured:
Christine Steiner '83 and Missy Pope '04)

With the exception of the earliest years of the school’s operation, when the alumni body was beginning its slow growth, graduates have been drawn back to the institution as members of the faculty. This year, six alumni have joined the faculty: Albert F. Freihofer ’69, director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good and teacher of English; Christine Mangiafico Steiner ’83, director of the Parent Annual Fund; Sarah M. Zimmermann ’97, librarian; Melissa "Missy" Pope '04, Director of Social Media in the Communications department; Margaret “Maggie” Kennedy ’05, teacher and coach of athletics; and Elizabeth M. “Liz” Bucceri ’07, teacher of mathematics and assistant swimming coach.

These six new members of the faculty continue in the tradition established by first Headmaster Nathaniel Horton Batchelder, who called liberally on graduates to fill faculty positions. Among them, admissions director Hull Maynard ’19, science and mathematics teacher and director of development George Savage ’23, English teacher Sidney Eaton ’23, physics and mathematics teacher and later dean Charles A. Pratt ’23, business manager Norman Smith ’35, science teacher Howard E. “Squirrel” Norris ’28, and English teacher Norris Orchard ’29 profoundly influenced the school’s development during its formative years.

Later graduates such as Daniel H. Wells ’34, Brayton “Bud” Porter ’35, Aaron P. Pratt Jr. ’35, Miriam “Mims” Brooks Butterworth ’36, Martha Porteus ’38, Elaine Title Lowengard ’46, Glover E. Howe ’48, Jane Mackay Howe ’49, and F. Evelyn Smith ’50 dedicated themselves to the continued growth of the school and the development of its students. David C. Burnham ’46 served as associate headmaster, and Margaret “Margot” Green Torrey ’46, wife of Headmaster Frederick G. Torrey, headed the humanities program and influenced the school in innumerable ways.

The appointment this year of six alumni faculty boosts the alumni presence on the Island to 19, accounting for 12% of the faculty. Ranging from the class of 1969 to the class of 2007, these graduates all share in the rewards of serving at a school where their own dreams and aspirations were fueled.

Maggie Kennedy writes: “I came back to the Island because Loomis gave me so incredibly much as a student, and I wanted to give back in some way. The athletics department allowed me to reach my full potential in sports; academically I was pushed out of my comfort zone in the best possible way. I want to try to make someone’s experience as special as mine was.” Liz Bucceri adds: “The thought of being able to be a part of the faculty that got me through my four years here really excited me.” And Sarah Zimmermann writes: “Working at a place that brought me so much happiness when I was a student strengthens my commitment to my work here. This job is deeply personal in a powerful and inspiring way.”

The new alumni faculty members are re-discovering their school from a different vantage point, and their experiences as both students and as members of the faculty give them a rich sense of how the school remains open to change while being true to core values. Al Freihofer comments: “Loomis excels in self-evaluation; it’s a place that continually asks the difficult and vitally important questions of ‘why’ and ‘how’ in teaching and learning while sustaining its commitment to a healthy community. The energy here is both leading-edge relentless and old-school soulful, and as an ‘older’ new teacher and alum, I am delighted at the confluence of old and new, classic and leading-edge on the Island.”

Sarah notes: “The most familiar aspect of Loomis is the warmth and kindness of its faculty, staff, and students. As was the case during my time as a student, the people here are always quick to greet me with a smile even if they don’t know me. The most unfamiliar part is calling faculty members I knew as a student by their first names!”

“It is noticeable the impact that Sheila Culbert has made,” writes Liz. “With her guidance the addition of the Kravis Center for Excellence in Teaching, the Center for Global Studies, and the Norton Family Center for the Common Good will enhance the school tenfold.”

It is apparent that their experiences as students will deeply affect and strengthen their impact and approach as members of the faculty. Liz writes: “I know what it’s like to be in students’ shoes. I have experienced the excitement and the fear of going to your first class as a freshman. I know what it is like to live in a dorm or to be on a team, and what it takes to be successful.” Al adds: “I spend most of my time with underclassmen. If I can ease their concerns while sustaining their appetites to engage with the life of the school and challenge themselves, I will be returning the favor of so many wonderful teachers who coached me through some difficult early months.”

All members of the Loomis Chaffee faculty invest themselves deeply in the mission and character of Loomis Chaffee. But alumni on the faculty have a special sense of stewardship, imbued deeply in them from their days as students. Christine Mangiafico Steiner writes: “I think as alums we are connected and vested in a different way. We look at what Loomis was able to provide us when we were students, and we feel that we want to impart that in what we do here now. I also think the students look at you differently when they know you are an alum. It makes them think about what kind of place this is that would make you want to come back here to work.”

Loomis Chaffee has long been enriched by the many alumni who have returned to the Island. The community eagerly embraces the six latest in a long line of graduates, committed to the school’s mission and to helping students realize their potentials and dreams.

Loomis Chaffee Alumni Currently on the Faculty or Coaching Staff (2012–13)

Albert F. Freihofer ’69                                   

            English Dept.; Director, Norton Family Center for the Common Good

James S. Rugen ’70

            Music Dept.; Associate Director of Communications

Kathleen “Kitty” Johnson Peterson ’72

            Foreign Language Dept.

Seth N. Beebe ’78

            Director of Information Resources

Jeffrey M. Scanlon ’79

            English Dept.; Director, Loomis Chaffee Summer Program

Robertson R. Howe ’80

            Director of Athletics

Scott D. MacClintic ’82

            Science Dept.; Director, Kravis Center for Excellence in Teaching

Christine Mangiafico Steiner ’83

            Director, Parent Annual Fund

James P. Dargati ’85

            Coach, boys varsity basketball

Timothy G. Struthers ’85

            Director of Development


Lynn A. Petrillo ’86

            Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing

Adrian M. Stewart ’90

            Athletics Dept.

Sarah M. Zimmermann ’97

            Library Dept.

Neil D. Chaudhary ’05

            Science Dept.

Melissa "Missy" Pope '04

                Director of Social Media, Communications Dept.

Margaret “Maggie” Kennedy ’05

            Athletics Dept.

Jay A. Thornhill ’05

            Admission Dept.; Coordinator of International Student Recruitment

Elizabeth M. Bucceri ’07

            Mathematics Dept.

Helene I. Ramirez-Guerra ’07

            Assistant Director of Admission