Author: Milton Magazine

Jackie Bonenfant – DEAN OF ACADEMIC INITIATIVES, ACADEMIC DEAN, HOUSE HEAD, MATH DEPARTMENT CHAIR, 1981-2021

In speaking about Jackie’s tenure as academic dean, a colleague noted: “You never felt that you were dealing with an administrator with a title; you felt that you were dealing with a real person.” Indeed, this statement holds true for the many titles Jackie held: math teacher, advisor, house head, department chair, academic dean, and, most recently, dean of academic initiatives. In all that she did, Jackie carried herself with unflappable authenticity and clarity of purpose. To uphold the highest standards for the Milton community, she tended to the needs of individuals in her care with compassion, respect, and integrity. To lead an equitable academic pro- gram, she challenged faculty to rethink grading, particularly for students in Class IV. To honor the learning needs of all students, she led the way to the first new Upper School daily schedule in decades. As another colleague described, “She believed in innovation, not for the sake of newness but for the ways that change could help our institution better serve its students.” Indeed, Jackie ensured that Mil- ton responded to calls for a more inclusive academic program. She questioned practices that no longer felt relevant, engaged with research that challenged our assumptions, and ultimately refused to allow Milton’s past to define its future. And for all that she expect- ed of others, she held an even higher standard for herself— one that...

Read More

Larry Fitzpatrick – ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, 1980-2021

It was August, 1980. Gasoline prices were $1.19 a gallon; the number one song in the country was “Magic,” by Olivia Newton John, and Larry Fitzpatrick, who had just recently married his college sweetheart and best friend, Cathy, received a “magi- cal” phone call from his brother Richard. On that day, Richard, a recent Milton Academy grad, called and told Larry he’d heard about a job opportunity at Mil- ton teaching physical education and coaching. Larry immediately applied for the position, and after meeting with Neil Kelleher, the School’s athletic director, Larry got the word that he would be working with the Mustangs. So Larry and Cathy loaded up their U-Haul and started their trek to Milton. Neither of them ever thought that Milton would become their home for the next 41 years. They soon settled into Robbins House, and Larry dove head first into the Milton community, coaching football, hockey, and baseball; teaching Middle School physical education courses; and being a dorm parent. While he was immersing himself in the Milton Academy world, he was working outside school to become a certified athletic trainer. In 1982, when longtime athletic trainer Mike Dennault retired, Larry stepped in and led the Athletic Training Services for the next 39 years. He has set a standard of excel- lence in treating student athletes. He has also supported the athletic training staff members immeasurably:...

Read More

Jeanne Jacobs – MATH DEPARTMENT, 1996-2021

For Jeanne, faith, family, and community are at the heart of everything that she does. Jeanne began her relationship with Milton as a parent (of Nia and Daniel). While attending a presentation to Lower School parents by then Director of Multicultural Affairs Christine Savini, Jeanne met Christine at the coffee station, where a professional relationship began. Soon after, Christine encouraged Jeanne to apply for an opening in the Math Department. Jeanne declined, stating that she wanted to continue giving back to her public school upbringing at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, which had prepared her for a B.A. at Harvard, an M. Ed. at Washington University, and then to Harvard Graduate School of Education to pivot toward the teaching of mathematics. However, two years later, in 1996, an economic crunch in Cambridge changed Jeanne’s circumstances. So, Jeanne called Christine back to inquire about teaching positions. There were two! Long story short, Jeanne accepted the offer (Terri HerrNeckar accepted the other) and the start of her 25 years and countless contributions to our community began. As a teacher, Jeanne had faith in her students, and in each class she worked to build a learning community. Jeanne has constantly reflected on her practice with her focus squarely on the needs of her students. Jeanne took the time to find out each student’s “politics of location” as she tried to get to know...

Read More

Martha Jacobsen – MATH DEPARTMENT, 1985-2021

Martha is a devoted teacher, colleague, mother, daughter, and spouse with an unrelenting desire to create inclusive environments based on mutual understanding and exploration. Martha also has a penchant for taking care of any and all business quietly, effectively, and creatively. Martha is a model educator because she is the epitome of a lifelong learner. Her son Erik recalls: “One thing that I will al- ways remember about my mom in regards to teaching was how freaking early she would wake up in the morning before school. For my entire life, she woke up between 3 am and 5 am and would quietly and diligently prepare for her classes. This was a time that very few people saw, and her sheer effort, attention, and consistency was something I always found to be awe inspiring. Day after day, week after week, year after year, she would show up at the kitchen table to prepare her lessons and to make sure she was prepared to give her best to her students.” To provide context, a for- mer chair commented, “Martha began at Milton, in 1985, surrounded by a department of men, where she was always trying to rise to the challenges of being on par with that group, and that Martha reported being motivated “by fear at first and as a matter of survival as she knew that [she] had to...

Read More

Michael Duseau – SCIENCE DEPARTMENT, 2004-2021

Michael joined the Science Department in 2004, back when it was in the current Arts and Media Center. He has taught primarily the class Conceptual Physics, which most new-to- Milton sophomores and juniors take. It is no exaggeration to say that he has taught just about all the incoming students who are not freshmen. I was always happy when I had a chance to teach one of  Michael’s former students, for I knew they would have a strong foundation upon which I could build. Bob Tyler echoes this sentiment: “His students knew how to think, how to process data, and how to do science.” He taught students how to write clearly, to say something only if they could support it with experimental evidence, and to think before speaking. In his classroom are many such quotations for Michael. “Science is about attention to details,” “Being proactive is better than reactive,” and “Be complete but concise.” His former students spoke of him with reverence. He was hard, yes, but fair. He made sure you knew what you were talking about and not just enough to slide by. He also put high stock in being prompt, and his door was often closed once class began. His classroom had clear boundaries and expectations that allow his students to thrive. Michael challenged his students to reach higher, and supported them whenever they needed help....

Read More