Each year, Winchester Thurston School teachers are recognized for teaching excellence. Congratulations to Kimberly Blaney, City Campus Kindergarten teacher, the 2019 recipient of the Judy Apt Nathenson Memorial Chair for Excellence in Elementary Education and Callie DiSabato, Middle School English teacher, the 2019 recipient of the Jane L. Scarborough Award for Teaching Excellence.
Judy Apt Nathenson Memorial Chair for Excellence in Elementary Education: Kimberly Blaney
Director of Lower School City Campus Nancy Rogers presented the award to Blaney at the 2019 Lower School City Campus Moving Up Ceremony.
Blaney, who had been teaching at WT for eight years, is known for not only being an outstanding educator and problem solver, but also for her patience, kind nature, and care for her students and colleagues. "A skilled practitioner of early childhood education, Kimberly understands what it means to educate the 'whole child,' and the importance of the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children," shared Rogers.
Like Judy Apt Nathenson, Blaney is a problem solver with a growth mindset, as she continually advances her knowledge of best practices, pedagogy, and curriculum. She is sought out by colleagues for her expertise in teaching literacy skills and instilling confidence and love of reading in students.
Rogers concluded with reflections from Blaney's colleague who also praised her for empowering children "to flourish in their own unique way... Kim puts her whole heart into creating an inviting and caring classroom so that her students can develop a strong sense of self while they grow into the best students they can become."
The Judy Apt Nathenson Memorial Chair for Excellence in Elementary Education was established in memory of Judy Apt Nathenson, a 1969 graduate of Winchester Thurston School and Kindergarten teacher who sadly passed away in 2000. Judy vigorously championed the importance of early childhood education at Winchester Thurston School and throughout the Pittsburgh community.
DiSabato (L) receives the Jane L. Scarborough Award for Teaching Excellence from Head of School Dr. Scott D. Fech (R).
Jane L. Scarborough Award for Teaching Excellence: Callie DiSabato
Head of School Dr. Scott D. Fech and the 2018 recipient of the Scarborough Award, Middle School History teacher Adam Brownold, presented the award to DiSabato at the 2019 Commencement ceremony. DiSabato was chosen by a committee comprised of faculty members, students, and members of the Board of Trustees who received nomination letters from faculty and students.
DiSabato, a WT teacher since 2015, is known for meeting students where they are and inspiring them to be active, inquisitive, and open-minded. She creates a supportive learning community where students learn and grow "by leaps and bounds" as writers and critical thinkers. "In the words of one of your students, 'I can confidently say that in the two years I have had her [DiSabato] here at WT, I have improved more than I ever have in my whole life,'" shared Brownold.
DiSabato is also celebrated for her curiosity, high standards, care, and compassion. She creates safe spaces for her students to explore sensitive topics, spreads enthusiasm throughout the eighth grade research project, and embodies WT's credo each day by surrounding ESL students with important topics from their home countries.
"Constantly advocating for your students, colleagues, and our school, you exemplify everything for which WT stands. You are passionate about your work, and each day you transmit this devotion to your students," concluded Brownold.
The Scarborough Award is given by the Board of Trustees to a returning member of the faculty who is making an exemplary contribution to teaching by demonstrating a strong professional commitment to the Winchester Thurston community, respects the uniqueness of the individual, values intellectual inquiry and mastery as well as intellectual honesty and humility, models for others the frustration and excitement of learning and the exhilaration of discovery, and views the experience of teaching as an opportunity to remain a lifelong learner.