Celebrating Faculty Milestones

Six faculty members and one staff member announced their retirements at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, while one marked his 25th year at the School. Here we celebrate the dedication of French teacher Jane Clunie, humanities teacher George Chase, Director of Food Services Kurt Ellison, Senior Chaplain Richard Greenleaf, photography teacher Charlie Lemay (ASP ’67), French teacher Laurent Patenotte, and Director of the Advanced Studies Program Mike Ricard ’89. Together, they have combined for 189 years of service to generations of St. Paul’s School students.

These seven individuals have held dozens of positions between them, from teaching to coaching to advising to heading departments to serving on committees to feeding the SPS community to meeting the pastoral needs of students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Each has brought his or her own style and contributions to the School for many years and all will be missed, both for their service and for their daily presence. We recognize the contributions of these individuals in Alumni Horae as an opportunity to share their stories, offer thanks, and provide a place to commemorate all they have given to the School in their respective tenures.


George Chase | Retired
Renaissance man is known for his wide-ranging interests and talents

George Chase grew up on campus as the son of longtime faculty member George Chase, Sr. As a child at SPS, he enjoyed fishing on Library Pond and exploring the campus with friends. He attended Milton Academy and graduated from Bowdoin College and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. After 11 years of teaching at the Dexter School and Aspen Country Day School, the younger Mr. Chase returned to SPS in the fall of 1992.

“When I started out, I felt I had to have the answers for every kid,” George recalled in an interview with Alumni Horae. “I have become humbled over the years by understanding how little I know – and learning more and more from them.” A Renaissance man, George is known for his wide-ranging interests and talents. In the classroom, one of his favorite books to teach has been An Imaginary Life by David Malouf, which he says is “about the cycle of life and giving yourself over to the moment.” On a sabbatical year in 2003-04, George designed and built his family’s dream home in Warner, N.H. Also during that year, he focused on American art and architecture, enrolling in two classes at Dartmouth College and later transferring what he learned to his SPS humanities classes. In his many years at SPS, he taught multiple electives, including American Cultural Studies, Japanese History, and American Foreign Policy.

Sam Crihfield, who worked at SPS with George through the Penn Independent School Teaching Residency, speaks of his mentor’s energy in the classroom and the creativity he was able to draw out of his students through a boundless enthusiasm. “I feel very privileged to have had George as my first mentor,” says Crihfield, who now teaches at BB&N, “and I still consider him one of the best teachers I have ever worked with. I think about George all the time in my own teaching. For me, he’s the gold standard.”

George is also a guitar player, who sings and plays in a bluegrass band called Root Cellar. He spent a year in Northern Ontario as a canoe trip guide and trapper’s assistant, is a master vegetable gardener, and built, with the help of SPS science faculty member Rick Pacelli, a clay pizza oven at the house in Warner. He has served diligently as a teacher and coach (most recently as a beloved assistant of the highly successful SPS girls hockey program, which he will continue in 2019-20). In his approach to athletics, George has always valued the big picture of fun, hard work, and teamwork.

“I have been fortunate,” says George, who raised three daughters at SPS with his wife, Elibet, “to have had a wonderful array of opportunities so far, and the chance to meet so many interesting people. I wonder what is ahead.”


Jane Clunie | Retired
Warmth, mentorship, and connection have been the hallmarks of her SPS tenure

For 39 years, Jane Clunie has made a home at St. Paul’s School. It’s where she met her husband, Marshal (SPS faculty 1979-2004), and where the couple raised their two children, Ian ’07 and Grace ’13. Since arriving at the School in 1980, Jane has sought to create that sense of family for all who join the SPS community through her warmth and friendship.

Jane has introduced generations of St. Paul’s students to lessons of friendship and life through her favorite French text, The Little Prince. She was recognized for her commitment to students with a Form of 1973 Mentor Fellowship, which allowed her to study the works of author and playwright Michel Tremblay at the Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec. In the classroom, says colleague Jennifer Hornor, “Jane has her students fall in love with French. That is the magic. It’s not just the most talented students; she reaches even those who struggle.”

Before coming to St. Paul’s, Jane taught French for four years at her alma mater, Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township, N.J. The high school had incidentally provided her introduction to teaching years earlier. As a senior at Immaculate Heart, Jane was asked by her teacher, Beatrice Ryan, to teach a French I class while she was out on medical leave. Jane took on the challenge and proved herself so valuable that, when she was looking for a job after graduating from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Ryan, who was by then serving as principal, offered her a French teaching post on the spot. After that, Jane went on to earn her M.A. from the Middlebury College Master’s Program in Paris.

On her return from Paris, Jane applied to several jobs at international banks. “I realized it was something I could do,” she said, referring to her French fluency, “but the job description was not that interesting.” While working in her mother’s New Jersey-based gift shop, she got a call from SPS about a Spring Term 1980 opening in the Languages Department. She expected to stay only a few months. But Jane’s natural ability to connect with students was readily apparent, and she was asked to stay on the following year.

Jane remains grateful for what she learned from her first mentor, Beatrice Ryan, and has made it her mission to share her wisdom with young faculty members throughout her tenure at St. Paul’s. In her role as a head of house and adviser, Jane has nurtured her students with encouragement, while also holding them accountable. In honor of that selfless commitment, she was a recipient of The de Sa Family Advising Award. An SPS scholarship in the Clunie name also has been set up by grateful alumni. And, in June, Jane was the recipient of the inaugural James Appleton Thayer Prize, which recognizes a “faculty member who goes above and beyond in support of a student.” Jane received a thunderous applause from students and colleagues in the Chapel as she accepted the honor.

“I will miss the connection with the students in class and the dormitory,” she says. “It can be exciting and exasperating. But, in the film in my mind, it has been a beautiful run.”


Kurt Ellison | Retired
Longtime food services director has distinguished himself with gracious manner and interest in connecting with others

Anyone who has come through St. Paul’s School over the last 30 years knows Kurt Ellison, either the man himself or the nourishment he has provided to the School community as director of food services.

Kurt came to St. Paul’s as assistant director of food services in 1989, after many years in institutional dining management. By 1994, he was leading the department. Over the years, he has constantly sought better ways to deliver food options, with an eye toward a healthier diet for SPS students. He has both initiated and responded to requests for changes in the School’s food offerings, including improving the menus at Seated Meal, seeking partnerships with local food merchants, smoothing the transition to trayless dining, and implementing the self-serve food bars to reduce labor costs and food waste.

Ever the gentleman, Kurt has distinguished himself with his gracious manner and interest in connecting with others. For many years, he and his wife, Deb, have hosted the Sixth Form cookout and skip day at their SPS residence, home to Kurt’s nine-hole golf course, Pelican Pines. He has served as a mentor to many students completing Independent Study Projects and as a host for a German exchange student. The Ellisons raised their two children, Kate ’00 and Andrew, at SPS.

During the Mother’s Day flood of 2006, Kurt and the Food Services team set up a dining area in Memorial Hall and, with rising waters splitting the campus in two, engineered a 22-minute round-trip scheme to bring food to the other side of the grounds. Something many may not know about Kurt are his many years of ongoing professional development working in the galleys of U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers on trial runs out of Bath, Maine.

In 2009, Kurt was one of the recipients of the Benjamin Rush Toland Award, which recognizes leadership among SPS staff members. At the time, he shared that he had the “best food service job in the country since [I] work for the best school.”


Richard Greenleaf | Retired
A Love of Learning and Faith

After sitting for a three-hour final exam on the Old Testament, Richard Greenleaf went home, ate a peanut butter sandwich, put on a coat and tie, and, at the urging of the assistant dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, went to meet with Father Kevin Fox of the St. Paul’s School Religion Department.

“I had done the school thing,” says Richard, who spent seven years as a teacher/tutor, duty master, and case manager at the Landmark School in Prides Crossing, Mass., prior to starting to “feel the call to combine a love of learning with my faith renewal.” But Richard’s work as a seminarian at St. Thomas’s Church and Parish Day School in New Haven during his graduate studies at Yale renewed his interest in pastoral work in the scholastic setting. His visit to St. Paul’s further confirmed that interest. Three weeks later, he was offered a position in the Religion Department and as a lay member of the chaplaincy. He joined the SPS faculty in the fall of 1988, and announced in June that he would be retiring after 31 years of service to the School. Richard and his wife, Jenny (parents of Arielle ’99), will live in York, Maine.

Richard refers to himself as a “leap deacon,” having been ordained a deacon at St. Andrew’s Church in Hopkinton, N.H., in February 1992. His second ordination – into the Episcopal priesthood – followed in November of that year in the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul. While continuing to teach in the Humanities Division, Richard took on the post of dean of chapel in 1998, a position he held until shifting his focus to classroom work and pastoral care when he returned from sabbatical in 2007-08. In 2003, Richard had been named the Charles D. Dickey Master in Religion and Ethics. In his work as dean of chapel, Richard built a programmatic team ministry, started the Interfaith Chapel Council, chaired the committee that established the School’s community service requirement, and oversaw the refurbishment of the chapels in 2002-03. He also helped convene the Province I Episcopal Secondary School Chaplains Conference to support independent school chaplains. He has served as president of the Graduate Society and on the board of trustees of Berkeley Divinity School.

In addition to his work with the chaplaincy, Richard spent many years as head of Simpson House, as alpine ski coach, and trusted adviser. He taught humanities electives in bioethics, philosophy, religious studies, and the religion of science and taught humanities at every form level. Richard also counseled students in need, guided them through the confirmation process, and presided over countless baptisms and weddings. At the time of his retirement, Richard was the senior chaplain at SPS and the chair of the Commission on Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire

“In all of this, he has supported the School’s commitment to its identity and mission,” says Michael Spencer, dean of faculty. “The entire St. Paul’s School community is grateful to Richard and Jenny for their presence within this community, and we wish them both grace and peace in the years ahead.”


Charlie Lemay ASP ’67 | Retired
Arts teacher has helped students concentrate on art-making over technique

Charlie Lemay first became fascinated with photography as a student at the Advanced Studies Program in the summer of 1967. He has spent the last two decades sharing his expertise and love for the arts with the students of St. Paul’s School.

In his tenure on the SPS faculty, Charlie revamped the photography program by introducing his “ZoneSimple” technique of exposure and development, which allows beginners to achieve museum-quality finished prints. “This freed everyone up to concentrate on art-making instead of the many technical issues,” Charlie explains. He also has continuously sought to raise the performance expectations of students by not simply helping them learn to complete projects in class, but teaching them to apply what they were learning in the classroom to the real world.

From, the start, says fine arts colleague Colin Callahan, Charlie was a strong proponent of using darkroom film development for photography. Even now that most schools are strictly teaching digital photography, the SPS photography program continues to use film development to emphasize the essential elements of good photography. Charlie also designed the SPS computer/digital photo studios and set the curriculum to meet standards in digital photography. “He found the method of combining the best of both mediums,” says Callahan.

Charlie has produced three book collections, including Enchanted Forest: Photographic Encounters on My Personal Journey, which earned, among other honors, the 2017 bronze medal at the MIFA Moscow International Foto Awards, and Seeing, Insights & Images: One Photographer’s Spiritual Practice, which won the silver medal at the 2017 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, along with two finalist medals from the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Charlie earned his B.A. in art history from Bowdoin College and came to St. Paul’s in 1999, after 25 years as a self-employed graphic designer, photographer, and illustrator. Though he is a successful working artist himself, having received numerous awards for his photography and digital graphics, he has chosen to put his students first. His goal as a teacher always has been to help his charges see what is before them rather than create art based on preconceived notions.

“Although most of my students won’t go on to be photographers,” Charlie says, “making images is more important than ever in everyday life. I hope I have taught them not to be satisfied with seeing what they expect to see, but rather to see the world in their own unique way.”


Laurent Patenotte | Retired
French teacher sought to help his students become cross-cultural communicators

Seventeen years ago, Laurent Patenotte made a change that surprised many, especially himself. He left Phillips Exeter Academy – after 16 years on the faculty – to join the Languages Department at St. Paul’s School. With him came Laurent’s vibrant personality and charismatic teaching style, including bellowing out songs in French alongside students. His passion for the language and francophone culture has always been palpable. Laurent’s energy carried over into his house duties. He has not only been a positive and supportive colleague and adviser, but also possesses the demeanor to remain cheerful even under the most stressful of situations.

A native of Normandy, France, Laurent first began teaching in 1977. As a young man, he aspired to teach French in an English-speaking country. In the summer of 1978, Laurent was in England, visiting family. There he interviewed for a job with a professor from Middlebury College, and was invited to teach in Vermont for one year on a J-1 visa to “promote cultural exchange.” That initial invitation soon extended into another year and, eventually, decades. Since coming to the U.S., Laurent has taught 26 summers at the Middlebury College French School, one year each at Boston College and Harvard University, and two years at the University of Texas in Austin. On sabbatical from Exeter in 1991, Laurent taught at the University of Columbia in Paris and worked on the development of teaching materials.

More specifically, Laurent worked with the Hatier Publishing House, Harvard, and Houghton Mifflin on programs that focused on audio comprehension and oral production skills in world languages. He also co-authored Les Mots Difficiles, Drâme à Cherbourg, Dialogues – Les Français parlent d’eux-mêmes, and Portes ouvertes, an interactive first-year French textbook. “The content of my work,” he explains, “has always highlighted diversity rooted in culture, socioeconomic background, and geographical origins.”

Laurent has always sought to help his students become cross-cultural communicators. Outside of his SPS classrooms, he has further pursued that goal with the Concord-based nonprofit New African Americans, where he has helped equip refugees with a working knowledge of the English language. “Teaching is a beautiful profession,” he says. “Bridging cultures in a place where students come from all over the world can be quite exciting. Through my 41 years of teaching in the U.S., I have helped quite a few realize how beautiful this richness of diversity can be.”

Colleague Jeanne Windsor says she’ll miss Laurent’s enrichment of the SPS French curriculum, including his efforts to develop materials that integrate the School’s environmental and diversity initiatives. “He is the most optimistic person I know,” says Windsor, “always seeing the bright side of all events, sometimes against all odds.” Laurent and his wife, Sofia, raised son Gabriel ’17 at SPS. He remains grateful for the opportunity to have brought up his son in such a wonderful environment. “There are some amazingly interesting and authentic people on the grounds of the School,” he says, “and it has been a privilege for me to be part of that group.”


Mike Ricard ’89 | 25 Years
ASP director is devoted to helping students have exceptional experiences

It’s not unusual to see Mike Ricard ’89 on the sidelines of an SPS athletic event. After all, he coached 32 interscholastic seasons in his first 13 years at the School, including head coaching duties for six different interscholastic teams (varsity and JV baseball, varsity and JV basketball, JV football, and varsity track).

As a student at SPS, Mike stood out (and stood tall) as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. He played both football and basketball at Bowdoin College, where he double-majored in history and government and legal studies. Following his college graduation, Mike returned to his New Hampshire roots, joining the SPS faculty in 1994. He has immersed himself into all aspects of School life, and he and his wife, Emily, are raising their children, Dorothy and Mitchell, at St. Paul’s.

Over the years, Mike has served the School as an admission officer; assistant athletic director; athletic director (during former AD Liesbeth Hirschfeld’s sabbatical year); and spent 11 years as head of house. He also has chaired the Discipline Committee and the Boys Housing Committee and served on the Faculty Liaison Committee for several years. From the start of his career, Mike has been commended for his ability to foster a culture of mutual respect. He added to his natural skill set during a sabbatical year at Columbia University’s Teachers College, where he earned a master of arts in education leadership.

Mike currently serves as director of the Advanced Studies Program, the School’s summer academic intensive for New Hampshire’s rising high school seniors. His commitment to the School’s mission is perhaps most evident in his decade-long stewardship of the ASP. When not actively supporting the SPS students, faculty, and staff during the School’s academic year, he is supporting – often in 15-hour days – the 250 N.H. students and the dozens of interns, master teachers, and assistant directors who make the summer session run. Being director of the ASP includes responsibility for the program’s admission and financial aid processes, along with hiring 80 faculty and staff positions. His ultimate goal is to help each of them have an exceptional experience at the School.

“Working at a boarding school provides a unique opportunity to play a formative role in the lives of adolescents,” says Mike. “One of the reasons my own SPS experience was so meaningful was because of faculty mentors who played an integral part in my life. Hopefully what I’ve been able to offer over these past 25 years has, in some small way, made a similar impact on the students with whom I’ve had the privilege to work.”

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