The St. Stephen’s community recently gathered in Chapel to recognize long-serving faculty and staff with 20-year service awards. Mathematics Department Chair Laurel Eskridge and Technology Director Dan Laws were honored by members of the faculty, who spoke about the tremendous impact these Spartans have had on our school and students.
History Department Chair Shelley Sallee, Ph.D., and Math Instructor Rebecca Gibbs joined forces to help recognize Eskridge’s many years of dedicated service. “Ms. Eskridge is always willing to go above and beyond to help St. Stephen’s and enrich her own teaching,” Gibbs said of her department chair, past recipient of the Dean H. Towner Master Teaching Chair at St. Stephen’s and the Excellence in High School Teaching Award from Stanford University.
“One of her students told me: ‘Ms. Eskridge genuinely wants everyone to love math. She makes it possible to prioritize learning over a grade, and she is willing to adapt to whatever works best for her students. You don’t just learn math in her class; you learn to think,’” Gibbs said.
Sallee, who has shared an office with Eskridge for the past 18 years, had asked each of Eskridge’s advisees to offer a single word to describe her. “Together, they reveal the person we honor today: genuine, understanding, devoted, optimistic, brilliant, compassionate, dependable,” said Sallee, who went on to share insights into “the mathematics of friendship.”
“Right behind our office door, there are faint pencil marks where Ms. Eskridge measured how much my daughter, Kate, grew each year, starting in kindergarten,” Sallee explained. “We calculate the weight of each other’s hearts when it comes to family.”
Gibbs and Sallee were followed at the podium by English Department Chair Jenny Huth, Ph.D., who began her talk by sharing the hope that our students have the opportunity to work somewhere they get to celebrate relationships with amazing people like Dan Laws.
“Most of us don’t think about the fact that someone is ultimately responsible for keeping us connected — someone who works tirelessly behind the scenes, who probably prefers it that way because he doesn’t work for glory but for good,” she said.
“Mr. Laws has not only literally wired huge swaths of this campus, but he leads a department full of technology professionals,” she added. “It’s a rare person who truly cares about what he does and the people he works with. Above and beyond his role as tech master, he is family.
“There are more adults in this Chapel than most of you probably realize who know Mr. Laws as more than our fearless tech leader, but as a true colleague, a dear friend, an incredible father and someone who possesses a wicked sense of humor,” she said.
“So next time you log into Google Classroom, watch a movie in English class, enjoy team photos or check a phone app on The Hill, remember that there is a human being behind all if it and that we are lucky, lucky Spartans that human being is Mr. Laws,” Huth concluded.
Congratulations to Eskridge and Laws on their 20-year service awards. The school community deeply appreciates the countless ways you enhance our campus and our lives.