Peggy Pitman Mays Fund

Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence

Investing In Our Faculty

Established in 2008 by Saint Mary’s Hall alumna and former teacher, Peggy Pitman Mays (Class of 1953), this program allows faculty members to study a variety of course-related topics that will benefit the student experience at Saint Mary's Hall.

In the years since the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence was created, more than 70 teachers have traveled around the world for the best professional learning opportunities available, such as: Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute (Williamsburg, Virginia), Seminars at Accord Language School (Paris, France), Tours of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama), Attendance at the Impulstanz International Dance Festival (Vienna, Austria), Field Studies in Meteorology, Oceanography, & Geography (Hawaii), Professional Development at the Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop (Oceanside, Oregon).

Tess Eggleston
Peggy Pittman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Form 4 Language Arts Teacher Tess Eggleston

"I traveled to the serene Santa Fe, New Mexico area in late July to attend a weeklong course that the EE Ford Teachers Colloquium runs in partnership with Santa Fe Prep. My class, entitled 'What's Your Story?,' helped focus teachers on sitting back in the students' seat memoir writing. The writing and sharing process solidified the direct connection between a strong writing community and feeling safe to share pieces of writing. I learned many new ideas that I plan to bring back into my classroom when personal narratives and autobiographies are studied. I am deeply grateful for the generous Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence that allowed me such indelible memories."

Jay & Jennifer Jacobson
Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Upper School Mathematics Teachers Jay & Jennifer Jacobson

"Through the generous support of the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence, we traveled to Singapore this summer to see firsthand the differences between American-style and Singapore-style mathematics education. We looked for pedagogical differences through visits to middle- and upper-level classrooms, as well as curricular, procedural, and cultural differences through interviews with teachers and administrators. Our goals were to strengthen and freshen our own classroom teaching; improve our abilities to help Saint Mary’s Hall students compete on the international stage; prepare ourselves for improved evaluation of SMH Math curricula, materials, and procedures; and support ongoing research on Algebra readiness. We hope this experience will benefit our school and our students for years to come!"

Kyle Petersen
Peggy Pittman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Upper School Photography Teacher Kyle Petersen   

"The goal of my trip to Scandinavia was to study the intersection of art and education in a region known for outstanding academic achievement and innovation. I had the opportunity to visit the Nordiska Folk High School and the Bilder Nordic School of Photography, in addition to observing a 7th grade workshop at the Edvard Munch Museum. It was amazing to speak with professional photography educators and discuss learning strategies, new technology, and the job market for image makers. I was also grateful for the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence and the opportunity to shoot photographs in such scenic, incomparably beautiful places!"

Laura Renard
Peggy Pittman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Prentice Huntington Miller & Reid Huntington Miller Endowed Chair in World Languages and Cultures Laura Renard

"With the support of the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence, I travelled to Japan in July to lay the groundwork for our new Upper School trip in March 2020 as part of our school exchange with Keimei Gakuen. I loved having the opportunity to meet and observe our colleagues at Keimei, our sister school in Tokyo, as it was fascinating to see their school, and together we planned the experiences that our students will share next year. Additionally, I spent time with the travel company, ISA/WorldStrides, in Tokyo, toured sites on the itinerary, and even summited Mount Fuji. As a language teacher, I believe that global travel is essential to helping develop our students’ cultural awareness and understanding, and I am so grateful for the experience I had this summer to further grow my own. I cannot wait to share what I learned in order to help our students prepare for the trip!"

Lourdes Saks
Peggy Pittman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Middle and Upper School Spanish Teacher Lourdes U. Saks

"This summer, I had the honor of attending a three-week course at the University of Salamanca through the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence. This was a transformative and life changing experience. I learned about the origins and development of the Spanish language, its varieties throughout the Spanish-speaking world and teaching methodology for heritage students. The course also included cultural visits in Salamanca and the nearby cities of Segovia, Burgos, and Toledo, where I experienced the influence of the Roman and Arab civilizations in Spain. The greatest benefit of studying in Salamanca was having the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with teachers from all over the world. The knowledge that I gained will allow me to bring new concepts, a deeper appreciation for the development of the Spanish language, and cultural experiences to my classroom."

Jill Severe
Peggy Pittman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe

"Thanks to the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence, I spent two unforgettable weeks visiting the historic Russian capitals of Saint Petersburg and Moscow as well as traveling via water to more remote, lesser-known historic locations. Visiting the Hermitage, the reproduction Amber Room, the Red Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Red Square will strengthen my teaching of the wealth and power of imperial and Soviet Russia. I hope to act as a resource to enrich the understanding of Russian history and culture within our SMH community."

Jane Viccellio
Peggy Pittman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence: 2019

Form 3 Teacher Jane Viccellio

"The Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence enabled me to attend the 55th annual UK Literary Association conference, work with Cambridge University Professor Maria Nikolejeva exploring the work of Roald Dahl, and follow the trail of the Brothers Grimm. While traveling, I formed invaluable partnerships with a Form 5 classroom north of London and a published expert in children’s literature, both of whom will correspond with my classroom as we read and write fiction throughout the school year. Additionally, my journey to Rapunzel’s Tower, Little Red Riding Hood’s village, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle will inspire a ‘fairy tale trail’ throughout campus, in which students author original works to accompany the beauty and landmarks of Saint Mary’s Hall."