I spent the first 20 years of my teaching career in southern California and Minneapolis. My wife Cam and I decided that we wanted to have a family, and it was important for us to be able to be in environment that allowed us to spend our days with our children. It seemed natural to look at boarding schools.
We were fortunate that Millbrook responded to our letters of inquiry and invited us to visit the campus. It was a very small school then, with far less facilities, but it had a real spirit and sense of community.
Within a short period of time, we fell in love with the school. Twenty-four years later, we joyfully look back on the years our two daughters and son spent growing up at and attending Millbrook. It has been an absolutely wonderful place to work, live, and raise our children.
When I first arrived at Millbrook, the road into campus was a dirt road. March was the mud season, so people who were coming to campus interviews would often get stuck in the road’s deep mud. They would need to be pulled out by a tractor! Today, Millbrook’s new facilities are truly amazing. And yet, when our alumni come back for gatherings, I consistently hear that despite the changes, it is still the same place in spirit. This is what makes Millbrook truly unique.
Throughout my career I have taught a number of courses, from visuals arts to photography and advanced arts courses. Now, I’m teaching mostly advanced and honors courses.
I have also created an amazing new course with fellow faculty member David Greenwood. Five years ago I approached the Willem de Kooning Foundation with the concept of an art history course focusing on a specific artist. With their support we put together a very unique program that focused on Willem de Kooning and his contributions to abstract expressionism and printmaking. Students learned about de Kooning and ultimately designed and curated an exhibit in the Warner Gallery after working with the foundation to select pieces of his work. For their final project the students became docents for their gallery exhibit. There is no better way to see what students know than to listen to them guide someone through an exhibit that they curated. Being able to sit back and listen to my students articulately speaking in public about the work is just thrilling.
We continue the program, changing the artist of focus each year. I find it very exciting because although I know some things about the artists we feature, I am always learning something right along side the students every day.
My favorite days are those in which the “A-ha!” moment happens for a student. It’s when a student can recognize that it is no longer about just making art as a class requirement, and that creating art really means something to them.
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