Meet Laurie Byron, who is chair of the English department.
Q: What drew you to Fenn six years ago?
A: Its sense of community and beautiful campus. I was also looking for a school where my boys [Max and Nick] could attend and I could work. I was drawn to the all-boys population and thought that a single sex school from grades four through nine made very good sense.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching at Fenn?
A: The students, the facility, the resources, the professional development, my colleagues, the sense of community—all aspects of my job that are truly amazing. However, what I enjoy most is seeing boys grow and develop into confident young men. I get to see them when they enter in grade four, and the growth that happens over the next five to six years is astounding. It is this development from a shy, small fourth grader into a confident, reflective, leader that truly astounds me about Fenn.
Q: How is your work as chair important to you?
A: I am very much interested in working with other English teachers at Fenn to offer a cohesive, creative, and contemporary way to teach reading and writing through grades four to nine. Also, the skills needed to effectively read, write, and speak are useful in every subject in school. So, in effect, what we do in our respective English classes is important across grades and content.
Q: What do you hope boys will come away with after being in your class?
A: That they are confident readers and writers. That they are unafraid to take risks and can make mistakes and learn from these mistakes. That they are nice to—and respectful of—others. That they try their hardest at all they do. And that they feel they have been heard and allowed to pursue their interests.
Q: What are your passions and interests outside of Fenn?
A: I love to run as exercise that is mental and physical. I like to ski in the winter, play tennis in the summer, and hang out with my family and husband.
Q: What has Fenn done for your sons?
A: My sons have different strengths and needs, and I am amazed that Fenn is able to meet each of their needs effectively. Fenn challenges them as students and young men, and has provided each of them with various opportunities and ways to succeed.