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Jean Bonnyman

Jean left Darlington in 2016. Like all of Darlington's blogs, hers is left here for archival purposes.

Jean has served as an Upper School learning specialist since 2006. She holds a B.S., an M.Ed. and an Ed.S., all from the University of Virginia. She has more than 30 years of experience in education and counseling. Prior to her work in the Learning Center, Jean taught second and third grade in a Montessori School in Knoxville, served as a private academic/personal coach for high school students, and consulted with athletes as a sport psychologist. She is the mother of Darlington alumni Ed (’05), Norman (’07) and Isabel (’09).



The Difference of a Decade at Darlington

5/3/2016 5:00:00 PM, 904 views

As I pack up to move to North Carolina, I can't help but reflect on the last decade at Darlington. I have appreciated being able to work in the Upper School’s Glenn Teaching and Learning Center, and I will miss all that is Darlington. Ten years ago, Tom Whitworth was in his first year as headmaster, David Rhodes was head of the Upper School, Jim Van Es lorded over the Middle School, and Mark Tayloe was the Lower School head. There sure has been a lot of change since then!

A decade ago, Tom Whitworth had a goal of creating learning centers for all three schools that would be of no extra charge to families. Looking back over the life of the Glenn Learning Center, I know that hundreds of students have been supported and taught skills to help them succeed in academics. Most students learn about themselves and become independent learners. Some students would not have graduated without the training and support we provide to them, their families and their teachers. Darlington is not always the best fit for every student, and as learning specialists, Lisa Goldin, Anna Yarborough and I are very mindful of executing the highest ethical standards. Our ultimate goal has been to provide the best support, guidance, and teaching for every child and family as well as to support teachers.

The Upper School’s Learning Center has made tremendous progress in a decade. This year, Lisa Goldin and the academic dean of Charlotte Christian School led the first Southeast Symposium for learning specialists. It was a huge success and will continue. I wish Anna and Lisa the best.

I will greatly miss all the teachers, especially those who are still teaching after being here at least 10 years: Will Camp, John Cox, Julia Dodd, Tim Garrett, Brian Inman, Owen Kinney, Kelly McDurmon, Raymond Murray, Kathy O’Mara, Phil Titus and Chad Woods. To those who have left before me, and to those who taught my children, you have my deepest gratitude. I have enjoyed and appreciated being a college counselor, and my sincerest thanks to Sam Moss and Ivy Brewer for their support and training. Cheers to Reba Barnes, who is nothing less than a saint, and is the only original head of house remaining. Craig Schmidt, who is retiring this year, has given his life to Darlington and has spent countless hours helping Reba's boys in the evening during study hall. Thank you, Stefan Eady, for your I.T. leadership and unflappable patience, and best wishes to Mano Hernandez. My own children, as well as many other students, appreciated David Powell’s AP English Literature class; thank you David. I don't think the Upper School could run without the administrative support staff that is still in place: Karen Bennett, Denise Evans, Jan Harrison, Madge Crawford and Lynda Miller. The institutional knowledge of all those serving Darlington over time is invaluable.

Of course, so many students will be treasured in my memory forever. They are the reason we try our best in everything we do. Darlington must be an independent school that values teaching children – not just academically, but in all ways that prepare them for a changing and challenging world. Our country desperately needs every educational institution to be broad and open-minded, research-based, passionate for learning, and above all caring for its people. 

I wish Darlington a bright future of making the difference in the lives of students and the people who work for them. Like so many families near and far, Darlington was a centerpiece in our family for many years. I leave, like many others, in gratitude.



Comments
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Sheila Bertelkamp
5/6/2016
11:33 AM
Jean Bonnyman, You are a TREASURE! The Bertelkamps are privileged to have had you as a guide. You made such a difference! We all wish you the best! We adore you!
Love, Sheila, Bert, Lillie and Brownie
Dana Peek
5/4/2016
10:26 PM
Kudos to your amazing career here. No matter what the situation, you have been student centered. You remind me to look at the big picture and for that I am grateful. Godspeed. Your next stop has no idea what goodness awaits.
Rhonda Childs ’80
5/4/2016
6:21 PM
You truly have the passion and love for teaching and reaching children. I am sincerely grateful for all you have done for my child and I wish you all of the best. Thank you for really caring about the children and parents with whom you have worked over the years. You have been a blessing!!!
Christie Atkins
5/4/2016
4:43 PM
It has been a joy to learn from you and a privilege to work with you on behalf of students at Darlington School. You will remain close in my hearts as the parent of one of "your kids." We will be forever grateful. Our warmest wishes on your new adventure.
Susan Washburn
5/4/2016
11:05 AM
Please know what an impact you have had--even on those of us who have only known you a short time. Thank you. Best wishes for the next phase of your journey.
Tannika Wester
5/4/2016
9:14 AM
We will miss you, Jean!
Ivy Brewer
5/4/2016
9:06 AM
Thank you, Jean, for your dedication to Darlington and her students! You will be missed!
Melinda Holmes
5/4/2016
6:53 AM
Thank you for all your years of dedication to Darlington!!

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