Community

What makes GA so special? Is it the right school for your daughter and family? Read what members of our community have to say about their experience at GA.

Leadership

Molly King

Greenwich Academy is a purposeful, joyful, and supportive community whose mission is reflected in our motto, Toward the Building of Character. Every day we see faces of full of promise in the GA girls and our complete focus is in helping each one to reach her full potential. The GA experience is best captured by outstanding faculty members inspiring their students to learn, grow, and achieve so that they develop the skills and character to be the leaders of tomorrow. 

MOLLY KING, HEAD OF SCHOOL

Tom Sullivan

We are teaching our students for more than a final exam. We want their classes to take root, and we’re always looking for new ways to do that. Several years ago we started expedition classes, where we have students not only study a topic, whether it's biology or the Civil Rights Movement, but then go on trips that powerfully bring the course material to life. Whether they're doing marine biology at Woods Hole or they're meeting people who were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, we want the girls to have an education that feels personal and alive and asks, "What's next?"

TOM SULLIVAN, HEAD OF UPPER SCHOOL

Becky Walker

By the time the girls get to 8th grade, they will have developed their academic skills and a true love of learning, and they will have also learned how to ask great questions and advocate for themselves. Having these skills is incredibly empowering and sets them up to achieve their goals in high school and beyond.

BECKY WALKER, HEAD OF MIDDLE SCHOOL

Jon Ross-Wiley

Schools boil down to the people and our Lower School faculty could not be more dedicated to the craft of teaching. There's not one teacher that I have worked with here in the Lower School who has not changed some element of the curriculum to make it fresh, to make it exciting, and to make it something that the girls want to come to school for, and go home talking about.

JON ROSS-WILEY, HEAD OF LOWER SCHOOL

Mark Feiner

I’m sure we all can remember one teacher who made an enormous difference in our lives, someone whose belief in us carried us when our own confidence lagged or who opened up a subject to us in a way we had never imagined. Our goal at GA is for every member of the faculty to be that teacher for some of our students. Teachers here share a belief that great teaching begins with great relationships, and our hope is that through these relationships we will inspire a love of learning and a deep, unshakeable curiosity about the world that will inform our students’ lives forever.  

MARK FEINER, ASSOCIATE HEAD OF SCHOOL

Gloria Fernández-Tearte

An important part of what I do is look at how we teach and model the importance of diversity. How do we provide opportunities for our teachers to learn, because you can't teach what you don't know, whether that's history or science, or how to work with people from different cultures. So for us, diversity isn’t simply about reporting numbers, it’s about who we are every day in every interaction.

GLORIA FERNANDEZ-TEARTE, DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY & STAFF DEVELOPMENT

Nina Hanlon

More than anything, I'm impressed that our students and alumnae have confidence in expressing their opinions and are able to articulate them in respectful, clear, and powerful ways. By the time our girls graduate, they have an incredible sense of self at an age when I think many are struggling to figure out their place in the world. Our graduates are ready. They're hungry for what's next. 

NINA HANLON, DIRECTOR OF ENROLLMENT & FINANCIAL AID

Martha Brousseau

Our athletics program is a direct manifestation of our motto, Toward the Building of Character. I feel like there’s no better way to learn those lessons than through athletics and PE because every game, practice, and class is about success and failure, and what you learn from that, and how you move forward. 

MARTHA BROUSSEAU, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR

Faculty

Sean Lahey

I teach creative problem-solving. Whether the work happens in the film studio, the art room, or the E&D lab, there is rarely a single answer to the challenges or the prompts I give my students. I tell them that the more questions they ask me about the prompt, the more they are limiting their possible solutions. I try to keep kids in a kind of creative gray zone, that gets them collaborating with each other and thinking broadly.

SEAN LAHEY
VISUAL ARTS DEPARTMENT CHAIR
US FILM & ART TEACHER
GROUP IX ADVISOR
VARSITY VOLLEYBALL COACH

Paul Jaquiery

As advisors, we are the ultimate advocates for the girls our advisory. I am the adult who is there to know her as a student and as a person, to challenge her, to teach her to self-advocate, and to help clear a path when needed. My advisory and I are a team and I know I play a crucial role in making her experience the best it can be. 

PAUL JAQUIERY,
GROUP VIII HISTORY TEACHER

GROUP VIII TEAM LEADER
GROUP VIII ADVISOR
MS SOFTBALL COACH

Abby Katz

I love teaching the GA girls because they are game for any new adventure or idea. Their excitement is contagious and I can take any topic in any direction in response to their interest and enthusiasm. Recently, one of my classes was especially interested in how a microscope works. After studying their parts and how they function, they were each able to build their own microscope in the Engineering & Design Lab. How cool is that?

ABBY KATZ,
LOWER SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHER

Michelle Kennedy

Throughout the winter we always try to keep an ear open for different things the girls are curious about or having challenges with. This year the girls were frustrated that they had to clean up their block structures every Friday and wanted a permanent structure. We asked them to brainstorm ideas for how to solve this problem and one of the girls suggested buying a dollhouse. Rather than buying a dollhouse, we decided to make one! That became a project that carried us through two months. Were we doing other things during that time? Yes, but the reading, writing, and math works was often going into the dollhouse. We were measuring, we talked about the shapes that go in to a dollhouse, we practiced fine motor skills by cutting and weaving rugs, and we practiced letters and numbers by making signs for the dollhouse and writing letters asking for help from people in our community. There are so many ways to integrate traditional subject matter into meaningful project, and at the end of a project like this, the girls feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. 

MICHELLE KENNEDY,
PRE-CONNECTING HEAD TEACHER
LS REPRESENTATIVE, DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION COMMITTEE

Stephanie Seidel

Someone recently asked me to pinpoint the hallmark of the fourth-grade year. My response was that the entire year is a hallmark experience. We spend the year pulling together everything the girls have learned in the Lower School, and we increase our expectations of them in preparation for Middle School. And they are ready! Being the leaders of the Lower School is a big responsibility which they take seriously. We talk extensively about the school’s motto, Toward the Building of Character, what it means, and how it is essential to being a good leader.

STEPHANIE SEIDEL, GROUP IV HEAD TEACHER

Aisha Gawad

My elective is called Power to the People: Hip-Hop, Literature & Art for Social Justice. I thought, what am I passionate about? I'll pitch that to the kids. I love hip-hop and I like studying it through an academic lens because it has so much influence on our society and our culture today. We look at the story of hip-hop itself and we use hip-hop as a text. We also look at the stories that birthed hip-hop, the stories of some of the most neglected people in America, empowering themselves and creating beauty and art. Then we look at the way that that story is translated into fiction, poetry, plays, and film.

AISHA GAWAD,
UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER
US DIRECTOR OF STUDENT DIVERSITY
GROUP IX ADVISOR

Kent Motland

As the junior class dean, I manage everything from small events like field trips to walking the girls through the gateway of the college process. Our approach in the Upper School is that the advisor stays with their advisory for all four years allowing deep relationships to form between the advisor and the girls, and among the girls themselves. Deans maintain their role in a particular grade and build up a nuanced knowledge of each particular year of the high school experience. For example, in the junior year spring, the girls and their families are beginning the college process, they are taking AP exams, and they are running for school-wide offices. Having gone through the process year after year, I’m in a great position to guide and advise the girls through the year. 

KENT MOTLAND,
UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER
GROUP XI DEAN

GROUP XI ADVISOR

Courtney Spada

In Group VIII, I teach them about the skeletal system so they have an understanding of the key features of joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, and how all these components work together. Then, using tools and inspiration from the Engineering & Design Lab, I will have the girls design and 3D print their own prosthetics. Through this process the girls gain firsthand experience in the functionality of the human body. They learn that individuals have unique body mechanics, and the girls have to find creative ways of adjusting and customizing their prosthetics.

COURTNEY SPADA,
GROUP VIII SCIENCE TEACHER
GA HEALTH & WELLNESS DEPARTMENT
PEDIATRICIAN

Erica McCants

What has kept me here all these years is that my job is always changing and doesn't feel the same year to year. I also have the pleasure of getting to watch the girls grow. Many of the seniors that I'm teaching in Madrigals, Gospel Choir, or in the musical, I have taught since they were in fifth grade. I really enjoy connecting with them again in Upper School. Very often I end up having a different relationship with them. It's really special, and not something that happens everywhere or for every teacher.

ERICA MCCANTS,
DIRECTOR OF THE MADRIGALS, BEL CANTO & GOSPEL CHOIR
GROUP V MUSIC TEACHER
MUSICAL DIRECTOR, US MUSICAL

Elaine Thurman

My favorite part of the job is getting to know the kids. It’s why I got in to teaching. And as an English teacher, advisor, and coach, I get to know the girls in many different ways. In class I see a more serious side of the girls, and I love watching them make connections between their own lives and the literature we are studying. In advisory, I see the girls in a more low-key environment and enjoy hearing about their day and what’s on their minds. As a coach, it’s thrilling to see the girls compete, work as a team, and persevere.

ELAINE THURMAN
GROUP VII ENGLISH TEACHER
GROUP VII ADVISOR
GROUP VII/VIII BOOK CLUB FACULTY ADVISOR
MS FIELD HOCKEY COACH
MS LACROSSE COACH

Lisa Ancona

I feel like sixth grade is my wheelhouse. By Group VI, teaching history is very much about teaching the girls to become analytical thinkers, and how to present their ideas both orally and in writing. The girls are old enough that we can dig into really complex topics, and I feel in some ways, like I’m inviting them into the world of adulthood. They kind of know what World War II is, but they don't really know, and they are so enthusiastic to learn. 

LISA ANCONA,
GROUP VI HISTORY TEACHER
GROUP VI TEAM LEADER
GROUP VI ADVISOR

 

Parinaz Pahlavi

The change that happens in the Group I year is quite incredible. In first grade, we get little kindergarteners coming to us and in one year they become readers, their math gets better, and they become better writers because they have the foundation that CC has taught them. They become so much more independent. That is one of our major focuses in Group I, to make the girls more independent. By the time they go to Group II, they're completely different kids. It’s so exciting to be a part of that transformation.

PARINAZ PAHLAVI, GROUP I HEAD TEACHER

Students

Poppy

Everyone at GA is smart in some way. Some girls are really good at history, and some are great with technology, some are terrific writers, and some are amazing artists. That’s what makes GA so special!

POPPY, GROUP VII

Clodagh

One of my favorite things about GA is the sense of community we have here. Our grade is an extremely tight-knit group. We genuinely care about what’s happening in each other’s lives, the ups and the downs. Not only that, our teachers care about us beyond just what goes on in class. It’s what makes GA feel most like home.  

CLODAGH, GROUP XI

Julia

For both my freshman and sophomore year I ran for student government and lost. When my class dean realized I had made the decision not to run again for my junior year, she tracked me down and encouraged me to try again. She said, “It’s always going to be a ‘no’ if you don’t try. What do you have to lose?” So, I ended up running for junior class president and I won. It was one of my favorite and most meaningful experiences at GA, and I would have missed out if my dean hadn’t encouraged me to give it another shot.

JULIA, GROUP XII

Maya

From guest speakers, to class projects, to advisory, GA teaches us that we are not limited by the expectations of others. We’re taught that you can achieve anything you want to if you are willing to work for it. And our teachers make sure we have all the tools we need to go out and accomplish something really great!

MAYA, GROUP XII

Karen

One of my favorite things about Group II was the Famous Buildings project. My partner and I researched Mesa Verde, we built a model, and presented our work at the Famous Buildings Expo.

KAREN, GROUP III

Maryan

The Big Sister/Little Sister program is an important part of the Middle School. As a little sister in Group V, it’s so helpful to have someone who is older than you that you can rely on and so that you learn how to make friends with older students. By the time you are a Group VIII big sister, you understand that it is a leadership role and that looking out for your little sister is an important responsibility. 

MARYAN, GROUP VIII

Reagan

I’m looking forward to being in fourth grade because we’ll be the oldest in the Lower School and I’ll be able to help the younger girls. It’s not only my responsibility to help my friends. I want to look out for the younger girls as well.

REAGAN, GROUP IV

Pippa

When my little sister started in PC I told her that every grade at GA is really fun, that you learn a lot, and that the teachers and other girls are awesome!

PIPPA, GROUP III

Parents

Marie Rocha

Not long after my daughter started at GA in Group V, she was asked to speak at a large parent event. She had always expressed anxiety about public speaking but the Middle School head and advisor saw her potential and encouraged her to take advantage of the opportunity. She wrote and delivered her remarks flawlessly. Watching her stand on stage, perfectly poised, speaking before several hundred adults, I knew we had found the right place for her. My only regret is that we did not apply to GA earlier. 

MARIE ROCHA, GROUP XI PARENT

Michael Schaftel

GA’s Career Resource Center (CRC) is a great example of how GA offers its students and alumnae opportunities you can’t find at any other school. It’s incredible that high school juniors and seniors can take resume writing and interview workshops without ever leaving campus, or that they can explore different career opportunities through shadowing experiences and internships arranged by the CRC. When my oldest daughter was looking for an internship after her first year of college, she turned to the CRC for help. I know that my girls’ connection to GA will pay dividends for the rest of their lives. 

MICHAEL SCHAFTEL, CLASS OF 2018, CLASS OF 2019, GROUP VII & GROUP IX PARENT

Kristine Packard

You don’t have to be a certain kind of girl to be successful and happy here. I have three girls who are all very different, but GA has been a great fit for all of them because this is a community where all types of interests and talents are celebrated. At GA, it's cool to be really smart, or a musician, or an athlete, or an actress, or all of the above. This is a community where the girls support each other and lift each other up. 

KRISTINE PACKARD, GROUP XII, GROUP XI & GROUP VII PARENT

Rajat Gupta

GA teachers are the best! The curriculum is challenging but the teachers make the material engaging and find a way to reach each and every girl in the class. My daughter always comes home excited to tell us about what she’s learning in school and eager for what’s next. What more could you ask for?

RAJAT GUPTA, GROUP VII PARENT

Erin Dodds

I love GA’s many traditions—they are such meaningful milestones for the girls. In Group III the girls perform the musical Adventures of Lewis & Clark, when they learn about the westward expansion of the U.S. In Group IV they have they Famous Women’s project and expo where they research a female trailblazer and present what they’ve learned as “wax museum” figures. I see my girls eagerly anticipating what’s ahead and looking back fondly at what they’ve already experienced. These traditions create a sense of connection between our girls and generations before and those yet to come.   

ERIN DODDS, PC, GROUP II & GROUP VI PARENT

Alumnae

Amanda Fuller ’05

It’s difficult to separate what I can attribute to my mom’s excellent parenting and to GA’s amazing community and education. One thing for sure is that I always grew up thinking about how I could change the world. I absolutely felt empowered, important, and prepared for anything.

AMANDA FULLER ’05

Carine Bonnist ’02

GA provided an environment in which I felt comfortable to be myself, and it transformed me into a strong, independent woman.

CARINE BONNIST ’02

Flora Birnbaum ’07

During college and after college, I realized very quickly that the education I received at Greenwich Academy would be my most valuable asset. During my time at GA, I was encouraged by all of my teachers to research things I was curious about and to think critically. I never went to film school in the conventional sense so I’ve had to teach myself a lot of random stuff. I now “get” that it’s really easy to teach yourself when you’ve had fantastic teachers. 

FLORA BIRNBAUM ’07

Julia Malloy-Good ’70 

I appreciated all the ways that GA fostered community and family spirit, from processing for assemblies, to mid-morning snack afterwards (no matter how old you were), to serving lunch family style, to all the clubs and teams. All designed "toward the building of character" and a recognition that there is a place for everyone at the table. There was no question in my mind or in the mind of any of my classmates that we could do anything we set our minds to if we were willing to work.

JULIA MALLOY-GOOD ’70

Marlise Pierre-Wright ’08

When I made the decision to pursue medical school as an older nontraditional student who had not taken science classes since high school, I was confident that my GA education would carry me through. I am now starting my second year of medical school and I could not be happier with my career change. A GA education gives you the foundation to take any path, no matter how wind-y, to your future career.

MARLISE PIERRE-WRIGHT ’08

Sue Holme Dramm ’59

Greenwich Academy gave me the tools to live a difficult life. What I learned from the Academy is that something that is always growing makes me happy. You have to have the courage to nurture your passion and it’s a lot easier if that’s nurtured in a place like Greenwich Academy.

SUE HOLME DRAMM ’59

 

Amanda Greenspon ’96

As a parent now, I am well aware how rare the teachers at GA were. Finding adults who allow students to be unique while achieving their potential is huge. The sports were another part. I wasn’t sporty and my parents didn’t have sports on their radar, but at GA you try sports. They convinced me that lacrosse was my sport and I played all the way through college. It’s on my resume and when I went for my interview at my current firm, it was noted by the managing partner. Team sports are such good training for corporate America—from working as a team player to learning to lose. My most favorite part of my GA experience, however, is the friendships. I literally speak to someone from GA at least once a day and most often twice. My children refer to my GA friends’ children as their Connecticut cousins. Having that kind of unconditional support makes working in a difficult career easier, too. I feel pretty lucky.

AMANDA GREENSPON ’96

Stephanie Benedetto ’98

I would not be where I am today if not for GA. Being surrounded by like-minded women who made you feel like you could do anything if you put your mind to it gave me the courage and strength to take on the challenges of being a female CEO in a male-dominated industry.


STEPHANIE BENEDETTO ’98

Jess Green ’11

As much as I still have left to learn about myself and experience in the world, there is not a moment that goes by that I doubt my experience at GA informs the woman that I am today. The confidence I have in my abilities, the courage I portray when I take risks and bet on myself, and the constant yearning to learn and empower others through that learning is all because of my GA experience. I will never take my experience for granted and I think every day about ways I can give back and continue the GA legacy.

JESS GREEN ’11