The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence

Remarks by Head of School Robert P. Henderson Jr. '76

My responsibility at this moment is to honor a member of the faculty whose care and attention have helped to make Nobles a very special place.

The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence was established in 1982 by David Arnold of the Class of 1940 in honor of Vernon Greene, who for many years and many people embodied faculty excellence. The award is presented yearly to a member of this faculty who encourages and nurtures academic excellence, whose pedagogy is distinguished and whose commitment to students and school community is thorough.

Several years ago I had dinner with some graduates of Nobles from the decade of the 1940s. At one point I commented that excellence in teaching and the relationship between students and faculty were still at the heart of this school. One of these men then asked if everyone would comment on a teacher who had made a significant impact on him. Almost to a person, these men then spoke about Vernon Greene. Sixty years after the fact, these men remembered Vernon Greene as one of the great models and inspirations of their lives. No award can speak more deeply about the soul and value of the Nobles experience than this one. Indeed, we are today gathered on Greene field, named in his honor many years ago.

I often think that all the awards should go to the people who least need and expect them. That is certainly the case with this year’s recipient of the Vernon Greene Award, who I will ask to please come to the front of the stage from her graduation post as Class I Dean while I share a few thoughts about her. Nahyon Lee, please step to the front of the stage here on my right.

Nahyon Lee arrived at Nobles six years ago, fresh from several years in sunny Southern California. She immediately acclimated to this place, and it was apparent even in her first years here that she would be a leader in this community. Indeed, she is a dynamo, involved in a breathtaking range of activities. She helped to found and build A2A, our support group for students of Asian descent. She has chaperoned school trips overseas. She coaches JV girls tennis with enthusiasm and commitment. She serves on the faculty grants committee. She has served as the Class I Dean, and next year she will chair the History Department. She does all of this with no agenda other than to support and help kids.

Above all Nahyon is a terrific teacher. Thoughtful, creative and intentional, Nahyon’s classroom is distinguished by its energy and intellectual aspiration, as well as by innovative curriculum, activities, and uses of technology. Her personality and demeanor make everyone comfortable; she is thoughtful, supportive and kind, while also insisting upon high levels of comportment and sophisticated engagement. She is dedicated and professional; impressively well-organized, she sets rigorous expectations for performance and delivers clear, helpful feedback to her students. Despite her commitment to her exceptionally heavy workload, she projects calm and balance, and she consistently approaches students and colleagues with a willing and compassionate ear for listening. Not only is a she a great school person, she is an inspiration and genuine friend.

The architect of this award, David Arnold, Nobles Class of 1940 and a Distinguished Graduate of the School, will present the Vernon Greene Prize for Faculty Excellence to a master teacher, a wonderful mentor, a dedicated citizen of this community and the community beyond our walls, and a role model for all of us, Nahyon Lee.

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The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence