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“Portrait of an Educator” Defines What It Means to Teach at Ravenscroft


Ravenscroft has unveiled four visionary statements that define who our teachers are and what they value as a faculty. 

The statements, Portrait of an Educator, were developed last fall through cross-divisional work led by Associate Head of School Justin Brandon. It builds upon work from the previous year to explore and articulate what it means to be the product of a Ravenscroft education, Portrait of a Graduate. Both projects are grounded in the citizen leadership framework of Lead From Here.

The Portrait of an Educator statements are:

I teach with joy and strive for excellence.

I model lifelong learning and collaboration.

I encourage students to explore their passions and interests.

I create a nurturing and inclusive community where all are valued.

Faculty members said coming together to think about what it means to be an educator at Ravenscroft was an energizing and satisfying experience, particularly as the work brought teachers from all three divisions into a shared space.

“Coming up with these statements made me think about how long I’ve been teaching and the qualities we develop as teachers, as well as what I would like my own child’s teachers to be like. And that is nurturing, caring, loving,” Kindergarten teacher Dominique Taylor said. “I could see that all of our teachers want the best for our students, no matter what grade they teach.”

Taylor added that she is particularly drawn to the statement, “I encourage students to explore their passions and interests.” “I remember having teachers who supported me in finding my path and exploring my interests, and that’s what I encourage my students to do,” she said.

Upper School English teacher Joel Karpowitz said he sees the statements as both grounding and aspirational.

“Shared purpose and high standards have long been a hallmark of the Ravenscroft community, but the Portrait of an Educator defines those ideas in clear, direct and meaningful language to help us avoid getting lost in the regular challenges or administrative weeds and instead align our day-to-day work with our vision for what excellent teaching really looks and feels like,” he explained. “I love that the statements include both outwardly directed concepts like nurturing students as well as inward-facing ideas like cultivating our own learning and curiosity. And the fact that these ideals begin with joy and end with inclusivity sends an important message to our whole community — a message that, if we lean into it, can positively shape the school we are and the school we will be in 10 years, 20 years or further into the future.”

Director of Library Services Angela Finn said she saw many connections between this work and earlier work on Portrait of a Graduate. 

“Both exercises provided opportunities for us to be self-aware and highly empathetic. We explored faculty expectations and qualities in relation to our students’ ability to succeed: How do we nurture authentic connections that model this [vision], in the context of our Portrait of a Graduate?” she said. “Words I heard at every meeting were trust, engagement, Lead From Here, high levels of achievement, diversity, fostering relationships, community. Community was the most common theme that emerged over and over.

“Our faculty is the cornerstone of our institution,” she added. “We are not only dedicated to academic excellence but also committed to building a vibrant learning community.”

Karpowitz agreed. “I look at these statements and think, ‘Yes, that’s the kind of school I want to work at; those are the kinds of colleagues I want to teach with; that’s the kind of teacher I want to be.’”