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Staff Spotlight: Jodie & Tony!

Staff Spotlight: Jodie & Tony!
Posted on 10/07/2016
tony and jodieJodie Darnell

What do you do at G&P?
School Operations Manager

How long have you been at G&P?
This is my third year at G&P.

Where are you from?
I am from Denver, Colorado but lived in New York City for nine years before moving to Cambridge.

Teaching motto or favorite education quote?
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
Professional tennis player! I am currently taking lessons at the War Memorial Recreation Center to realize this dream.

What do you love about G&P?
I love G&P for all of the smiling faces I see every morning from the students, their families, and staff! There is a strong sense of community and genuine interest in working together to provide a safe, fun, and engaging environment where children can learn.

Tony Byers

What do you do at G&P?
It would be difficult to describe all the roles I fill at Graham and Parks. But I suppose, as principal, the most important part of my job is helping to create an environment where students feel safe, happy, and ready to learn from our amazing teachers. Oh, and I hold the door in the morning. It’s very important work.

How long have you been at G&P?
This is my third year as principal of Graham and Parks.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Newton, but I spent a lot of time in Cambridge when I was kid. In fact, my first job was in Cambridge at Canterbury's Book Shop, which used to be on Mass. Ave. not far from Graham and Parks. It was just a summer job, and I spent it mostly cataloging books on index cards, but I still remember how wonderful it was to spend all day with books and the people who love them.

If you could have any person (living, dead or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?
I used to teach kindergarten in Newton. My principal was Mark Springer and I can’t imagine working for anyone else. He’s a remarkable person and an inspiring leader. I was a very lucky teacher.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
Being an educator is a 24/7 profession. We think about our students all the time and there is NEVER a moment when we feel like our work is done. Our work follows us home and often keeps us up at night. We love our students, and few of us would choose a different job… but, there are moments when it would be lovely to produce something beautiful and finished and then walk away. I know educators who, if they weren’t teaching, would bake cakes, arrange flowers, or build houses. As for me, I’d like to learn how to build stone walls, especially with dry stone.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
My favorite teacher was Joy Douglass, my elementary school music teacher. She likes to remind me that I spent much of my kindergarten year hiding under a bench. Over my elementary years, her passion for music (and Monty Python!), patience, and high expectations got me out from under my bench and built up my confidence as a student, in music class and beyond. When my wife and I got married, Joy played piano as we walked down the aisle and throughout the ceremony, mostly Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Rogers and Hart.

What do you love about G&P?
The students, of course. They’re amazing. We’re an international school and diverse in just about every possible way. So the challenges of our work reflect the challenges of our global community. But the adult world could learn a thing or two from our students about how to solves problems and build community. Our students are going to do great things when they grow up, and I’m grateful that I get to help them along on their journey, in what whatever small ways I can.