Nobles Magazine, Winter 2013

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Noble and Greenough School graduates magazine

Transcript of Nobles Magazine, Winter 2013

  • Fall 2012Nobles1

    Noblesthe magazine oF noble and greenough school winter 2013

    A Conversation with Alexa Miller 96: How Art Can Make Doctors Better

  • 2NoblesFall 2012

    Photo of the daySept. 14, 2012

    All was quiet in the Class IV Alcove on the morning of Sept. 14, 2012. But what if those backpacks could talk?

    phOtO: JUlie gUptill

  • 22 Honoring the Castle Nov. 16, 2012, marked the official celebration of the expanded and renovated Castle.

    28 Cover Story: How Art Can Make Doctors Better Alexa Miller 96 shares how the power of observation can

    improve medical care.

    32 Homework in Class, Classwork at Home Biology teacher Mike Hoe flips.

    2 Letter from the Head

    3 Reflections What Nobles folks are saying on

    campus and online

    4 The Bulletin News and notes from campus

    and beyond

    18 Off the Shelf All about the books we read

    and write

    20 Perspectives Nobles faculty member shares

    expertise and stories

    36 Graduate News Nobles graduate updates: what,

    when, where, why and how Nobles grads are doing

    72 Archive A moment of Nobles history

    captured on film


    in every issue

    Cover photograph by Kathleen Dooher

    contentsThe grand staircase is one of five

    spiral staircases in the Castle.

    winter 2013

  • robert p. Henderson Jr. 76Head of scHool

    Noblesletter from the head

    FPO / FSC logo2Nobleswinter 2013

    winter 2013

    EditorHeather Sullivan Director of communicationS

    Assistant EditorsJulie GuptillaSSociate Director of communicationS

    tiffany tranaSSiStant Director of communicationS

    melissa mcclungcommunicationS fellow


    Photography Kathleen Doohermichael DwyerJulie GuptillJoel Haskellmelody Koleah laricciatony rinaldoBrian Smithtiffany tran

    The Editorial CommitteeBrooke asnis 90John Gifford 86tilesy HarringtonBill KehlenbeckSarah Snyder

    Nobles is published three times a year for graduates, past and current parents and grandparents, students and supporters of noble and Greenough School. nobles is a co-educational, non-sectarian day and partial boarding school for students in grades seven (class Vi) through 12 (class i). noble and Greenough is a rigorous academic community that strives for excellence in its classroom teaching, intellectual growth in its students and commitment to the arts, athletics and service to others.

    for further information and up-to-the-minute graduate news, visit

    letters and comments may be emailed to [email protected] we also welcome old-fashioned mail sent c/o noble and Greenough School, 10 campus Drive, Dedham, ma 02026. the office may be reached at 781-320-7268.

    noble and Greenough School 2013

    Why Teach?EvEry hEAD of sChool at Nobles has been a classroom teacher. Every one. Teaching has been an important part of the per-sonal and professional identities of each leader. Former headmaster Dick Baker, in fact, continues to teach at Nobles, working his magic every day. When I was hired 13 years ago, my desire to teach likely gave me an advantage during the

    selection process, given the weight of this tradition. I continue to teachand continue to love itmeeting with my AP European History class four days a week.

    A strong case may be made, however, that the head of school should not teach. The majority of my colleagues at schools around the country do not. Increasingly, school heads do not attain their position by rising from the teaching ranks. Instead, they enter through various administrative roles, learning from the business end. Many started in teaching but then turned to administrative positions. Others have given up one small classroom for a much larger forum, and in this respect, will suggest that they still teach every day.

    The best reasons for heads not to teach are time and professionalism. One class of students can, and should, consume many hours a week, between grading, preparing, extra help and classroom activities. This can be a distraction on the heads calendar. Moreover, being a good teacher at the secondary-school level requires reading and research in an academic field, staying abreast of pedagogical theory and technological innovations, and being able to implement new developments in classroom practice. Heads argue correctly that they should be fully dedicated to acquiring and manag-ing school resources and setting the institutional imperatives. Many heads must also travel extensively, and they have to be available for minor and major crises breaking over the bow of the school.

    I teach because I enjoy it. However, I have built a rationalization that is more compelling than that. Teaching forces me to practice what I preach every day. I have to forge the relationships with my students that are at the heart of our institutional purpose and methodology. I have to write comments and college recommendations like my teaching colleagues. As long as I can retain credibility that I am reasonably competent at classroom teaching, it bolsters my profile with the teachers at the school.

    In the broadest sense, I think it has helped me to talk more powerfully about the impact and purpose of this community, and thereby to envision and articulate the future of the school. I recognize that these imperatives are true for me and do not apply to all school heads. Furthermore, I understand that it may not be possible or appropriate for every future head at Nobles to teach an academic class. For me, how-ever, the two roles are fundamentally inextricable and lead me to a more profound understanding of our school mission.

  • winter 2013Nobles3

    Want to read more community musings?Go to

    One dark night, the fire alarm suddenly awakened us, and under Steves guidance, we rolled out of bed, grabbed bathrobes to cover our pajamas, and stumbled down three flights of stairs to the Commons between the then dining room and library to await our fate.


    As the mother of three young children, I truly understand how difficult it can be not to try to smooth out hurt feelings, offer solutions to tricky problems, or even suggest corrections to be made on homework assignments. It is so pain-ful to see our children struggling. yet without the struggle and the opportunity to problem-solve, kids cannot develop a sense of competence. And there is nothing like competence to foster true confidence in our children.


    Ive learned more about myself in the first few weeks [at Nobles] than I ever thought possible. I cant wait for the rest of the year so that I can see what kind of person I am at the end.


    A small, light and multifunctional tool, the iPad can serve as a research tool, a repository for all handouts and syllabi, and a creation tool, capable of word processing, and spread-sheet, image and video creation. In a sense, it is the textbook, the folder, the notebook and the computer for this course.


    Our school motto is spes sibi quisque, a passage from Virgils Aeneid, which, roughly translated, means that each person must find hope in himself or herself. The founders of this school recognized that no significant achievement is possible, no hurdle successfully mount-ed, without a core belief in yourself.


    Trust me, your kids want to be successful as much as we want it for them.


  • assembly highlights

    the bulletinnews from our campus & community

    4Nobleswinter 2013 photo: brian smith

    JoAnn Deak is an educator and

    psychologist with 30 years of experience.

    Stretching the Brainchallenge your brain early and often, Deak says

    JoAnn DEAK, adolescent development specialist, spent Oct. 17 speaking with students, faculty and parents. Deak, who specializes in brain research, disagreed with many standard educa-tion tenets, among them early start times, which interrupt precious adoles-

    cent early-morning sleep, and issuing grades as making mistakes enhances learning. She also encouraged teachers to keep memorization- oriented or rote work to a minimum, while she acknowledged the necessity of such tasks.

    Deak explained that adolescence is defined as the decade between ages 12 and 22. Everything you do every day is formatting your brain, she said to students. The brain stretches when it is challenged or has failed, and when it works hard in an area of weakness.

    Heres my main message: you dont have to live with the brain that came into the world, she said. She explained that in the first two decades of life, the parts of the brain that you exercise get bigger and bigger. During the first two decades, the brain is designed to grow more with less work.What you do during adoles-cence doesnt stay in adolescence.

    Deak told students how to exercise their brains to maximize their intel-lectual potential. She spoke about the importance of eating well, hydrating and getting enough sleep. She also gave students tips on how to stay awake when they find themselves fading in class or during her talk: Wiggle your feet, and wiggle your butt, she said.

    Deaks talk with faculty focused on male and female brain development, recommendations for teaching and giv-ing homework, and myths about stress, among other topics.

    see for more about De