“I am sure you have more praise than you have room for, as Mandy is a special person.”
With more than 50 years’ teaching experience—28 of which have been here at Charles Wright—Mandy Wyatt has indeed, as former fellow teacher Turi Janes describes above, garnered heaps of praise. Her colleagues all observe that Mandy’s compassion, encouragement, consistency, humility, pragmatism, and quiet strength combine for a remarkable teacher whose commitment to her students is unwavering. Turi goes on to say that “Mandy’s dedication to her students’ learning about learning is what I admire most about her teaching style. She not only provided challenges in different areas but also provided the support necessary for success.”
Turi isn’t the only Janes who reflects fondly on their time with Mandy. Marc Janes was Head of Lower School when Mandy joined CWA’s faculty. “Anyone lucky to have seen her in action knows of her keen insight—that knowing twinkle in her eye—and her unruffled, confident way of stepping up to say and do the right thing,” he says. “Mandy’s kids, many now adults with children of their own, gained life skills, habits of mind and heart, and self-confidence by her way of leading them to stretch beyond the easily attained and to grow. She is a polestar in the sky of countless children, as well as colleagues and parents.” Close friend and Lower School learning specialist Mary Beth Cole agrees. “Mandy also nurtures parents and helps equip us with the knowledge we need to be better parents to our children,” she says. “I am a better parent to my children because she has helped guide me along the way.”
A 2001 recipient of the Inspirational Faculty Award, Mandy is responsible for bringing a cornerstone project to the first grade experience here: the authors’ tea. “Through the authors’ teas, Mandy develops the writer, reader, and public speaker in each student and helps students develop confidence in presenting their ideas, research, and writing that will serve them well as they continue along as lifelong learners,” says Lower School librarian Deborah Baldwin. Never one to underestimate first graders, Mandy implemented research projects that inherently taught her young students how to gather and sort facts to incorporate into their dioramas and books. “I appreciate Mandy’s ability to teach and support each individual student, providing just what each child needs to become a confident reader and learner,” says Head of Lower School Diane Hunt.
For the last 12 years, Mandy has taught first grade alongside her daughter, Kristi Rolfs. “When I think about my mom as a teacher, I am inspired by all of the things she does to help young children grow and succeed in school,” Kristi says. “She fosters a love of learning and inspires students to think and wonder. She encourages her students to be brave and try new things. My mom has taught me to be a better teacher and a better person. She has helped me to understand the value of organization, planning, and explicit instruction while honoring creativity and being open to spontaneous teachable moments. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with my mom.”
And indeed, we have run out of room within which to heap more praise. Please suffice it to say that it is with heartfelt gratitude that Mandy Wyatt is honored with the 2017 Lifetime Teaching Award for her 28 years of invaluable contributions to the Charles Wright community.