Mary Jean Alleva
Mary Jean Alleva began her career at Dwight-Englewood as a first-grade teacher, bringing her love of children and teaching, as well as the calm, nurturing and unflappable demeanor for which she is known. After teaching first grade for twelve years, she became our reading specialist and has spent the past nine years sitting alongside children helping them unlock the mysteries of print and build reading lives for themselves. Mary Jean has also worked closely with teachers, generously sharing knowledge about young children and how they learn and thrive. Mary Jean embodies the Dwight-Englewood ideal of a life-long learner, and her office houses not only beautiful children’s books, but also a professional library she happily shares with colleagues. From classic texts about teaching reading to more current publications on what the latest research reveals about spelling, Mary Jean’s collection shows she has embraced both the art and science of teaching.
A born teacher, she demonstrates her love for children all year long: in the winter she brings in home-baked cookies, and in spring she gathers lavender from her garden and lets the children use a mortar and pestle to grind it until the whole office smell like Provence. She has been a steady and joyful presence at recess and whether swinging one end of a jump rope or organizing teams for soccer, she is fully engaged in this part of the day, knowing that recess is when children learn some of the most important lessons.
A friend, teacher, and source of wisdom and support: Mary Jean has been all of these for Lower School children, families and colleagues. Her humor, intelligence, kindness and presence have been deeply felt in the Lower School. We hope you will join us as we thank her for all she has done for Dwight-Englewood Lower School and wish her all the best as she enters the next chapter.
Lower School music teacher, Lorna Milbauer, has spent the past nine years reminding us all, from our youngest children in the threes’ classrooms to our fifth-graders composing and performing music for their original opera, that music is more than a hobby or an extra, but rather is an essential component of a child’s education.
With her steadfast belief in the integrity of a music curriculum for all ages, Lorna uses puppets such as Freddie the Frog and Beethoven Bear, stories and lots and lots of movement to provide children with a strong foundation for a life of music education. Not only that, but through music she helps them develop coordination, listening, memory and language skills. Providing children with time and space to move, laugh, dance and sing together, she has given them a joyful start to their musical lives.
If you were lucky enough to hear and see the fifth-grade opera this year, the remarkable music was composed and performed by students working under her guidance. The annual Valentine’s Day Concert gives children a chance to say “I love you” to their families in English as well as another language they speak at home, which this year consisted of 13 languages besides English! And the final chorus performance brought tears to our eyes as children sang Earth, Wind and Fire’s 50’s classics while dressed in full costume, as well as traditional folk songs from around the world.
As Lorna explained her decision to retire she spoke of the other loves and interests she would like to pursue including interior decorating, yoga, and her brand new, beautiful granddaughter, Emma.
Lorna’s commitment to music education, energy and humor, and of course the sounds of singing voices will linger in our classrooms and hallways. One of the last songs she taught our chorus was the great Earth, Wind and Fire classic, “Sing a Song” which goes,
Sing a song it will make a way
Give yourself what you need
Sing a song, it will make your day.
Through your love of music and children, you have given so many what they need, and we hope your retirement is filled with the things you need and love. Thank you for singing and sharing your song, and congratulations.
Calm, cool, collected: that’s Herbie, a cherished member of the Dwight-Englewood facilities staff for thirty-five years. He moves cooly through our hallways and classrooms keeping our spaces clean, safe and beautiful for all. With his quiet dignity and warm, genuine smile, when you are with Herbie you know that you are in the presence of a very special human being.
Herbie is in our building after children and most teachers have left, and he is here until quite late at night. Sometimes when our faculty our also here late, Herbie checks in and when asked how he is doing, responds with a big smile and in his beautiful lilt, “everything’s cool, everything’s alright,” and he radiates such positive energy that it’s easy to believe him. When Herbie passes by an office or classroom late at night he lets us know he is in the building if we need anything. And in the winter when it’s dark, he offers to walk or drive us to our cars, making us all feel safe and knowing that we are in good hands when Herbie is around.
Head of maintenance and facilities, Bruce Devlin, speaks of Herbie with great warmth and appreciation, describing his incredible work ethic, pride in a job well done and attention to detail. If something needs to be done, Herbie gets it done with no fuss and does it well. He goes above and beyond with a great attitude, and he notices everything, showing pride in not just his own work but in our whole school.
Herbie speaks with great pride of his wife of 54 years and his children. Deeply spiritual, he recently spontaneously serenaded our faculty with a beautiful, slow and profoundly moving version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful right in our hallways. If you find Herbie in a quiet moment, he will share his observations about not just the day or our school, but also the world and all the beauty and mysteries it contains. Wisdom, experience, knowledge and commitment: in his quiet way Herbie has modeled these for all of us, and we are very blessed to have had him in our presence.
Retiring now to spend time with his wife and children, Herbie has given so much to Dwight-Englewood School. In your own words, “ life is on brother!” It certainly is and always has been for you, Herbie, and we thank you for all you have done for the Dwight-Englewood School. Congratulations.