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The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence, presented by Head of School Bob Henderson '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.

Over a decade ago I had dinner with some graduates of Nobles from 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 would like to ask this year’s recipient of the Vernon Greene Award to please come forward and join me here on the podium while I say a few words about her. Please congratulate Sarah Snyder.

Today I honor someone who is at the end of her teaching career at Nobles, poised to go on to other adventures. Many kind and well-deserved words have been and will be said about her in various forums this week and next. This recognition, however, is about highlighting her exceptional service and professional competence. It has been earned through dedication to excellence and remarkable character over nearly a quarter century at Nobles.

I pulled out Sarah’s professional evaluation from 2012 to get some inspiration for these remarks.  Here are the major areas of commendation for her performance: passion and care, command of her subject matter, masterful teaching of writing, adept organization, a rigorous and safe classroom environment, outstanding collegiality and mentorship, constant professional and personal development, effective advising and salutary relationships with students. This is the paradigm of the Nobles job description superbly executed.

Sarah is the rare teacher who can teach sixies and seniors with the same skill and pleasure. She takes visible joy in teaching, and she is always brimming with wonderful ideas for new approaches and materials.  She loves words, delights in poetry, and helps students see their paths to more effective and creative use of language.  Sarah leads trips around the globe with her husband, Ben, and throws herself into service opportunities with conviction and commitment, embracing the full demands of working in this place with the spirit that it is all an opportunity to grow. Her style, both personally and professionally, is intimate, connected, innovative, collaborative, inspirational, focused, joyous, creative and empathic. She is truly a rare soul, and we are unlikely to see her like in this community again.

The architect of this award, David Arnold, Nobles Class of 1940 and a Distinguished Graduate of the school, was unable to be with us today, but he is here with us in spirit. President of the Board of Trustees Beth Reilly '87 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, Sarah Snyder.

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The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence, presented by Head of School Bob Henderson '76