School Welcomes New Faculty

Zoe Kaplan, Associate Editor

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  • (L-R) Middle School Math and Science teacher Jared Smith, Middle and Upper School Spanish teacher Claudia Romero, Middle and Upper School History teacher Parker Curtis pose for a photo during their first faculty work day in August. Photo by Nicole DeCesare.

  • Middle and Upper School Science teacher Jared Smith engages in team building with Learning Specialist Danielle Bartone. Photo by Nicole DeCesare.

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The community welcomed four new faculty members into the Middle and Upper Schools this year: Middle School Math and Science teacher Jared Smith, Middle and Upper School History teacher Parker Curtis, and  Associate Director of College Counseling and Director of Career Readiness Lisa Summergrad.   

The Gator recently sat down with them to ask a few questions.

How many years have you been teaching?

Curtis: This school year is my thirteenth year teaching. I previously taught at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Massachusetts for one year, and Moorestown Friends School in New Jersey for 11 years.

Summergrad: I’m not a teacher, but I’ve been working in education for 11 years.

Smith: I’m going into my sixth year of teaching. Prior to Brimmer, I was a high school science teacher at Roxbury Preparatory High School and a Middle School math teacher at Sanguan Ying School in Suphan Buri, Thailand.

What is your favorite part about being a teacher?

Curtis: My favorite part about being a teacher is seeing the amazing and original ideas my students come up with. History was always my favorite subject when I was in school, and I love getting to see my students explore the past and demonstrate what they have learned in creative ways.

Summergrad: I love how busy the schedule is in college counseling. The day flies by. Every student has a different story and different interests. It is great getting to know them.

Smith: Making connections with students. Helping my students navigate the difficult situations that arise both in the classroom and outside of the classroom in their own lives is difficult but incredibly rewarding. Every day is different.

What do you like to do outside of school?

Curtis: I love the outdoors and staying active. Skiing is my absolute favorite thing to do. I’m a huge sports fan, and love playing basketball. I also really enjoy running, hiking, camping, reading, traveling, visiting national parks, and spending time with friends and family. I also love dogs. I have a dog named Henry who lives with my parents, so I like to go visit him as much as I possibly can.

Summergrad: Cooking, especially experimenting with new recipes, is one of my favorite things, especially as the weather gets colder.

Smith: Ride my bike, cook yummy food, play video games. Pretty typical stuff. Try to figure out how to travel as far away as cheaply as possible.

What is your favorite book?

Curtis: Either The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, or Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Summergrad: Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver.

Smith: This is a tricky question because my answer changes pretty often. I read The Overstory by Richard Powers this summer and that blew me away. I love The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss which is part of The Kingkiller Chronicles.

What is your theme song?

Curtis: Either “Chonkyfire” by OutKast, or just the entire Top Gun soundtrack.

Summergrad: “Be Okay” by Ingrid Michaelson.

Smith: Something by ABBA. Maybe “Super Trouper.”

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your high school self?

Curtis: Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone, go see your math teacher for help before the end of the marking period, and make sure you take advantage of any unique travel opportunities available through school.

Summergrad: You will get into college, you will get a job. (In fact, you will have more than one job.) You will make new friends. Do not worry so much and try to live more in the moment.

Smith: Things get better but you’ve got to keep putting in some work to make them better. Don’t worry about “finding your calling.” Go try weird things and don’t let fear stop you.