Established in 1997 by the Gleason Foundation, the Gleason Chair for Teaching Excellence was created to support teaching excellence and reward a faculty member from any grade level, in any subject field, for the highest standards of excellence in independent school teaching.  It is with great pride and pleasure that we honor Donna Kwiatkowski as the new Gleason Chair for Teaching Excellence for her long history of outstanding teaching and service to the school as our loyal, faithful, and beloved Nursery teacher.

Donna has been teaching at AC for an amazing 31 years. As some may know, Donna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Elementary Education, both from SUNY Buffalo, and she is a master teacher, dedicated to her craft.  She is and has been responsible for developing the hearts and minds of AC’s youngest students for more than three decades. Teaching three year olds requires a special set of skills: you need an abundance of energy, passion, compassion, optimism, enthusiasm, and bottomless reserves of patience. Donna has all of this and more, and she brings it to her classroom consistently day after day, year after year.

As Mick said at Donna’s installation, “the impact of Donna’s teaching can be seen every day throughout the school. Not only in her classroom and at her lunch table, but in older students at all grade levels who benefited from their early years with Donna. Many of these older students, and even not-so-young adults, have grown into the people they are today because of the lessons learned during the time they spent with her.”

Donna’s impact on the AC community is powerful and long-lasting. She has a cult-like following among parents, who trust her implicitly with their children and are always seeking her advice. Together with her Pre-Kindergarten teaching partners, she has helped to build one of the strongest programs at AC, and anywhere in this region. Her classes are always full — often with a waiting list — and her reputation amongst elementary educators, and parents in the know, is exemplary.

For more information about this or any of our endowed funds for teaching excellence, please contact Karyn Vella, Assistant Head for External Affairs.