Molly Stephenson will retire at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year after twenty-three years of work, love, and service she has devoted to our school and community. We congratulate her on a full and rich career in education.
With an undergraduate degree from Douglass College, Molly went on to receive her graduate degree from Middlebury College. Her career prior to George School included teaching at The Peddie School, Concord Academy, The College of New Jersey, and Bucks County Community College. But once she found George School in 1997, she moved around no more, becoming an integral part of the school community fabric, and sharing with us her wonderful family including her husband, Brad, their daughter Lindsay ’04, and son Walter ’08.
Molly quickly impressed her students and colleagues with the deep passion and humanity she brought to all she does. She is respected for her scholarly knowledge of Spanish and linguistic pedagogy, with her trademark rich variety of well-paced, upbeat, and engaging activities.
Her tremendous capacity for hard work and talent for communicating her knowledge in a clear and organized fashion in turn motivated her students to be organized and hard-working themselves. Molly’s inventive, exuberant personality created a special tone and environment that brought Spanish alive and pitched students out of their quotidian lives into her captivating Spanish speaking world.
While her students consistently crushed their AP and IB exams, she was equally comfortable teaching those for whom a foreign language would not come easily, positively and compassionately meeting them where they were, motivating and empowering them to have fun, feel safe making mistakes, and learn this important language and many associated cultures. Indeed, her career has been an authentic calling to not only teach but instill a love of the language and culture of Spanish speaking countries.
To this end she was also a long-time dedicated and trusted George School service trip leader and co-leader numerous times to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Cuba, and Costa Rica. She was always willing to translate critical letters and documents, paving the way through bureaucracies but also sustaining our long-standing relationships in Cuba and Nicaragua. The love and support she gave to Cuban Bienvenido scholar Roxie Gonzales-Batista and her willingness to host French exchange students were examples of how she did it all with such grace, sensitivity, and care.
This combination of supportive professionalism and warmth was a central reason why so many of her colleagues requested her as an evaluation supper-buddy. A collaborative team player dedicated to improving language learning at GS, Molly has shown a strong commitment to professional development, always striving to improve her craft and means for increasing student engagement and learning. Being both creative and proactive, she kept up with the changing landscape of language instruction, including innovative uses of technology in her classroom, though she would never admit the latter.
As a sabbatical recipient, Molly undertook the journey of cycling the Camino De Santiago, the famous Christian pilgrimage route. Later she dazzled us with her inspirational assembly showing the beautiful images she captured while sharing stories of her spiritual deepening and physical strength developed during this meaningful journey.
Molly has done so much more to help our school and community thrive. In addition to being a beloved and stable force for her advisees, Molly has coached developmental softball, served as a faculty sponsor of LASO, and an advisor to peer group. She was a member of the original Foundational Skills Committee, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Technology, FOCUS, and Faculty Concerns. For her commitment to excellence and community values, Molly was named a Laramore Chairholder.
“Thank you, Molly, for your twenty-three years of dedication, commitment, love and service to your students, colleagues, and community,” said Associate Head of School Scott Spence. “We will miss you and wish you and your family all the best in your retirement.”