Retiring Faculty and Staff

Tom Sando, Science Department, 1988–2020

Tom came to Milton in 1988 and for 32 years has been a pillar of the Milton Academy Science Department and the School at large. Tom is one of the smartest people I have ever met. His deep knowledge of the natural world and his innate understanding of science and scientific processes is second to none. This coupled with his brusque and determined personality have cowed many Class IV students as they walked into class on the first day. What they learn, over the weeks is that he is one of the most compassionate, caring, and engaged teachers they will ever have the opportunity to learn from. Their initial fear and trepidation transition into devotion and respect. Tom will do everything in his power to make sure that his students succeed.

One might think that Tom only has the tools he hides in ancient paper boxes, yellowed like scrolls dug from an archaeology site or bunker and piled high in teetering towers around his classroom. However, his true pedagogy lies in his love of his students and his mastery as a teacher. Tom has been the heart and soul of our department for as long as I have been at Milton. His Honors Physics class was a flagship class in inquiry teaching before we used that term to describe our curriculum, and his Class IV physics, nuclear physics, and environmental science classes are all models of practice.

There is no doubt that Tom is an exemplary teacher, however it is his character and kindness that stand out when you are his colleague. Tom is one of the most loyal, morally developed, and compassionate adults you will meet. This loyalty manifests itself in his care for his colleagues, and the fact that he will always be at your side in times of need. 

To add to this loyalty, Tom is a man of principle. He is willing to speak his mind, and to say the hard things. He does this with care and true compassion.

Tom in many ways is a brother to me, and one we love. Milton Academy is a better school because Tom has taught here. The hole which will need to be filled is not insignificant upon his departure. Tom, thank you for your teaching, your loyalty, your morality, your humor, and your kindness. Now, pack up your bowling balls, your countless old paper boxes, and ride off into the sunset. We will miss you!

By Michael Edgar

Paula Larson, Health Center Staff, 1978–2020

When we think of Paula Larson and her legacy at Milton, it is truly difficult to put into words what impact she has had on the Health Center, students, faculty, and staff throughout her career. The words dedication, service, compassion, commitment and leadership come to mind when we think of Paula Larson.

Paula began her career at Milton in September of 1978, leaving her position as a bedside nurse at Carney Hospital to begin her lifelong career in public health. She has seen the exponential growth of the Health Center and school nursing staff from her days attending to sick students in the basement of Ware Hall to the Health Center’s current home in Faulkner. Throughout her career she has seen former students become faculty members or parents of incoming students, and she remembers them all. When greeting a new parent who was a former Milton student, she would often say, “I remember when,” and recall a time they were in the Health Center and the treatment they received for an illness or injury.

Through the years, we have watched Paula care for students as they navigate their way through a new health crisis such as diabetes, cancer, or sickle cell anemia. She accompanies students to medical visits and works tirelessly with stressed students and their parents, instructing, counseling, and helping them in the management of their new illness. If there is a medical issue that arises for a student, you can rest assured that Paula has treated another student with a similar issue, and she will even recall the student’s name and the treatment they received. The idea of a 40-hour work week is lost on her; she simply stays until the work is done, and makes herself available for her staff 24/7.

For the Health Center staff, Paula is seen as a leader, a mentor, and a friend. The personal connections she has made with the Health Center staff will never be forgotten. She has stood by us all, through marriages, births, graduations, and deaths, and we are ever so grateful for her unwavering support. We thank you, Paula, for your years of service, experience, expertise and leadership, and for your commitment to your staff, students, faculty, and parents at Milton. Your daily presence in the Health Center will be missed beyond words, and we wish you all the best in this next chapter.

By Dawn Cruickshank

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The curiosity to ask why and the courage to speak out are qualities that lead to innovation and change. The individuals featured in this issue embody these qualities. Through their questioning, leadership, and willingness to share their views, they are making a difference–in their professions and in the world.