Thirteen members of The Episcopal Academy community will retire at the end of the school year with a combined 337 years of service. Each spring, retirees are recognized during the end-of-year faculty and staff closing dinner. This year, that event will take place virtually with plans for an in-person celebration at a later date.
"The dedication and commitment by this group of retiring faculty and staff has been tremendous," shared Greville Haslam Head of School Dr. T.J. Locke. "We thank them all and wish them joy and happiness in retirement. They will all be greatly missed!"
Watch the celebration video here.
John Smith - Head Athletic Trainer (44 years)
As EA's Head Athletic Trainer, John Smith has been a permanent fixture on EA's sidelines for decades, taking care of hundreds of students over the years. He has taught physical education, helped to maintain the weight room, and has jumped in to assist student-athletes for decades. When John first joined EA at the Merion Campus, 292 student-athletes were under his care. Forty-four years later that number has doubled, as EA Athletics has grown to field nine teams each of the three seasons. In addition to helping students prevent and recover from injuries, he is an enthusiastic fan, especially for the football team, and encourages all student-athletes to display humility in victory and grace in defeat. When EA alumni reminisce about their glory days in athletics and ask who is still at EA, they smile fondly when Mr. Smith is mentioned at the top of the list.
Lynne Hay - Upper School History and Psychology Teacher (40 years)
Lynne Hay was among a small group of early female faculty members at EA, and she helped pave the way for others. During her tenure, Lynne has served many roles and impacted thousands of students. For the past eight years, she has served as an enthusiastic and passionate history and psychology teacher, highly sought-after advisor, and Model UN advisor. Prior to that, Lynne served as the director of admission for 23 years and introduced our school to thousands of families. Lynne has also been a guiding mentor for new teachers and a regular on the sidelines and in the theater, cheering on her students. Her children, Catherine '03 and "EA lifer" Alex '04, attended EA, and Lynne shares that she believes she owns more blue and white clothing than the entire Main Line. Lynne and her husband, Tom, dedicated their lives to education and independent schools, and inspired their children to continue that tradition.
Tim Kent - Classics Teacher, Tennis and Squash Coach (37 years)
Tim Kent has been a quintessential teacher-coach-mentor at EA for 37 years. "Magister Kent" has instructed generations of what he fondly calls "young scholars" in Latin and Greek. One long-time colleague shared that Tim always finds the best in every student and is "an inspiration to all of us on how to work with teenagers." A natural coach who develops both athletic talent and core values, Tim has also made a lasting impact on EA athletics. In his 15 years of coaching squash, 14 years as head coach, and 23 years as head boys' tennis coach, he taught players that acting honorably was non-negotiable when representing the Blue and White – both on and off the court. Tim also coached golf and introduced EA to platform tennis (paddle). Affectionately referred to as "TK," Tim celebrated 10 Inter-Ac championships. Tim keeps in touch with many alumni and has a wide network of friends across the community. He joins his wife Maude, who recently retired from the Middle School math department. The two met at EA in 1983. Tim is looking forward to spending more time with his children and their growing families.
George Wattles - Middle School Math and History Teacher and Multi-Sport Coach (35 years)
George Wattles has inspired thousands of EA students, mentored countless faculty members, and served as a pillar of the EA community during his 35 years. A true gentleman and scholar, George has played many roles during his time at EA. His past history and math students relied on his patient, steady, and routine approach in the classroom. As an advisor, his care for his advisees is always apparent, and he has a special knack for embracing and celebrating the challenges sometimes faced by Middle School students. George's passion for athletics translated into a stellar EA coaching career, including lacrosse, track, soccer, and tennis. One of his greatest joys while traveling the country to referee NCAA lacrosse games, for the past 41 years, is running into some of his former Middle School student-athletes. George's colleagues appreciate his constant encouragement and kind words and describe him as someone who listens deeply and responds with a wealth of experience and an absence of judgment. They also commend him for his brilliant sense of humor and impeccable comedic timing.
Gina Buggy - Athletic Director and Varsity Field Hockey Coach (34 years)
First hired in 1986 to build EA's girls' athletic program, Gina Buggy was named the Athletic Director for both the boys' and girls' programs in 1993. She was the first female Athletic Director in the Inter-Ac League. Under her leadership, EA's athletics program has thrived. Episcopal's student-athletes are among the best in the country, and many EA teams are consistently nationally ranked and have earned countless championship titles. Gina has inspired thousands of student-athletes and coaches. She has led the varsity field hockey team to 12 Inter-Ac titles and four PAISAA championships. In 2016, she was inducted into the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Last spring, Gina received the Michael F. Mayock Distinguished Teacher-Coach Award, which recognizes those individuals who impart the highest level of integrity, professionalism, and concern for the total education of Inter-Ac student-athletes. She has been an enthusiastic supporter on the sidelines, often tucked away from sight in order to focus on the players and the action on the field. Gina Buggy ends her coaching career with an impressive 478-97-11 record.
Naomi Knecht - Middle School Art Teacher (28 years)
Naomi Knecht has spent 28 years cultivating creativity in EA students, leveraging the creative imagination of students, and continually developing whimsical and engaging multi-media projects. Naomi has challenged her students to think critically about art and inspired them to create countless beautiful pieces throughout their time in Middle School. Her talents are evidenced when walking through the halls of the Middle School that continuously display her students' works. Students have greatly benefited from the experience that Naomi has shared in the classroom as a practicing artist and master of her craft. Many of her beautiful pieces highlight her bright and energetic palette that brings subjects to life. Over the years, Naomi has worn many hats at EA, including parent, teacher, advisor, and acting department chair. She has also dutifully served as the In Media Res yearbook advisor, working tirelessly to photograph Middle School events and work with students on the yearbook design and layout.
Michele Alfano - Lower School Teaching Assistant (24 years)
Michele Alfano has helped to challenge and nurture hundreds of EA's youngest students over her 24 years in the Lower School. Throughout her career, her students have always come first. Michele is known for her warmth and caring nature, along with her pleasant and quiet manner that has brought a soothing sense of calm in the classroom. She currently serves as a teaching assistant in Buffy Brown's kindergarten class. Michele makes a point to make all children feel special, and many of her students share that she is like a mom to them at school. The kindness and compassion that she exudes has helped to make EA's Lower School a very special place. Michele is looking forward to spending more time with her children, EA graduates, and her grandchildren.
Bert Zug '78 - Middle School Chaplain (21 years)
As an alum, past parent, and teacher, Bert Zug has kept Episcopal close for nearly all his life. Bert has a unique knack and passion for youth ministry, as witnessed throughout his years as Middle School Chaplain and religion teacher. He takes great pride in having the opportunity to teach every student for all three of their Middle School years. He is especially passionate about working with 8th grade students on their faith papers. He takes great joy in helping students explore their feelings and beliefs and assisting them in how to best articulate their faith stories. Bert's time and attention result in poignant moments in Chapel, as some students share their final faith papers with their peers. Over the years, he has shared his musical talents in Chapel and wowed the community each year during Scrooge Chapel with elaborate costumes and passionate acting. EA's campus has greatly benefitted from his ongoing sustainability work. Bert's support of the annual Can Drive has provided food and other necessities to thousands of needy families.
Rob Trumbull - Upper School History Teacher (20 years)
Rob Trumbull has uniquely brought history to life, making it approachable and interesting for his students over the last two decades. Many students who do not claim history as a favorite subject suddenly find themselves intrigued and engaged due to Rob's passion and instructional approach. He has a great love for teaching and works to evolve his own teaching through continual professional development. In recent years, Rob worked with fellow teachers and Harvard Business School to closely study the HBS Case Method and developed ways to apply it in high school history classrooms, including his own. Rob has also served as a beloved and sought-after advisor. He first started at EA as a coordinator for the school's community service program. Rob has coached JV baseball and Middle School softball, and he advised the Young Democrats and World Affairs clubs. He has worked hard over the years to build an impressive Model UN program that attracts more than 70 student participants each year. His positive attitude and love for school life have been contagious.
Betsy Welch's impact on her young students is long-lasting. Scores of former students, who she proudly refers to as "Welchians," come back to visit every year. No matter their age, she enthusiastically greets them at the door with a twirl that she leads as they spin beneath her hands. Betsy has a gift for meeting each student where they are and finding ways to inspire and empower them to grow as both people and learners. She has constantly worked on ways to build maturity and develop leadership skills in her students. Through her calm and steady approach, she finds the perfect balance in creating a structured and loving classroom environment. Many students credit Betsy for their love of books and return to her classroom to read to her current students. She is also deeply passionate about community service and leads by example. From organizing magic marker recycling efforts, to packing up lost and found items for donations, to mobilizing groups of students to make greeting cards for those who are sick or in crisis, Betsy is the true definition of Living the Stripes.
Fran McLaughlin - Middle School Learning Specialist (15 years)
Fran McLaughlin has helped countless students successfully navigate their Middle School years as the division's Learning Specialist. She has worked closely with students, faculty, and parents to help ensure success inside and outside of the classroom. Fran often put in extra hours when a student needed to meet one-on-one, sometimes with a weekly meeting before school, and always was willing to go above and beyond. She has worked hard to find ways to relate to every individual student as their biggest fan and strongest advocate. Known for her caring and thoughtful approach, Fran has been committed to working closely with faculty to find the best ways to engage a student. Her colleagues describe her as deeply caring, and ever thoughtful. Her patience and giving nature inspire those around her, and her positive energy and sense of humor help to brighten everyone's day. Her work training puppy Einstein, through the Seeing Eye program, also brought much-added joy to campus.
Ellie Duffy - Lower School Administrative Assistant (12 years)
Ellie Duffy has dedicated her time at EA to make sure all Lower School students are safe and well cared for. From the first day of school to the last, and every day in between, she faithfully welcomes students with a warm smile and fun greeting to start the school day. She also takes meticulous care to make sure every child gets picked up by the bus or a parent. Ellie's love for all of EA's students is apparent by her warm smile. She has taken the time to get know each one and their family. Students have been her first priority, and students looked forward to stopping by her office anytime for a quick hello. Ellie has approached her responsibilities with perfection and precision. She is a bright light for many, always displaying ultimate school spirit and embracing and nurturing the joy and fun that exudes from the Lower School. Along with Ellie's kind demeanor, her creative Halloween costumes will be especially missed!
Tracie Lee - Faculty Recruitment Coordinator (9 years)
Tracie Lee has been the first point of contact for many of EA's hires over the last nine years. She considers everyone at EA her family. Tracie's connections to the Blue and White run deep, and there are few people who have volunteered as much time at EA. As a parent, Tracie quickly immersed herself in all things EA and invested countless volunteer hours to help strengthen the school. She helped in classrooms and the library, welcomed new families, planned community gatherings, coordinated fundraisers (ask her for a copy of the EA cookbook!), and much more. Tracie served many leadership roles in the EAPA, including President, and provided invaluable counsel to school leaders. Her husband Ned '79 and sons Zander '08 and Mac '10 are alumni. Tracie's commitment to EA, strong relationships, and impeccable interpersonal skills led to her officially joining the staff as faculty recruitment coordinator nearly a decade ago. Since that time, she has helped guide and welcome more than 300 new faculty and staff members.