Our teaching chairs acknowledge and honor the exceptional contributions of St. George’s outstanding educators and their efforts on the behalf of our students. In 2021, we welcomed three faculty members into the elite group of teachers.
In a special ceremony, the SG community celebrated as Kelly B. Richards was named the new William S.R. Rogers ’44 Chair; Melanie Lewis was named the new G. Danforth Hollins Teaching Chair; and John Mackay was named the new Prince Chair in History
Kelly B. Richards, William S.R. Rogers ’44 Chair in History
Presented in honor of William S.R. Rogers ’44, Assistant Headmaster, English and History Teacher, Emeritus, and established by the Board of Trustees to recognize and promote excellence in teaching history
Since her arrival to St. George’s in 1997, Kelly Richard’s commitment has left her mark across the community, where she’s served as assistant dean of students, head varsity field hockey coach, head varsity lacrosse coach, advisor, and — since 2016 — as Director of College Counseling. And through that quarter of a century on the Hilltop, she has always prioritized her work in the classroom.
A teacher’s teacher, Kelly’s instincts and impeccable level of preparation underscore her ability to unite curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment seamlessly and shows in every aspect of her teaching. She cares about how her students connect the Margaret Atwood reading to the current news. She cares about the crispness and clarity of sentences. She cares about a thesis statement so eloquent it should be published. She cares about the use — and misuse — of semicolons. She cares about the fairness of the reading schedule, knowing that, yes, students have other classes too. She cares about creating a warm classroom that invites diverse points of view. She cares about what students are reading outside the classroom. She cares about integrity. She cares about academic rigor. And it’s precisely because of her endless caring that Kelly Richards is such an exceptional educator and colleague — intentional and tireless in all that she does for her students, whose education and growth she cares about most.
Melanie C. Lewis, G. Danforth Hollins Teaching Chair
Presented in honor of G. Danforth Hollins, Assistant Headmaster, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, Prince Chair in History, and English Teacher, Emeritus, and established in 1997 by friend Peter B. Freeman GP’00 and Trustee 1979-84, to honor faculty members whose enthusiasm and dedication to all aspects of life at St. George’s capture the spirit of Dan’s lifelong commitment
Once asked to describe herself as an educator, Melanie Lewis penned the following: “balance challenge with fun, keep it fresh, and be open to possibilities.” Indeed, Melanie has modeled those traits in a teaching career that has spanned almost four decades.
Since her arrival at St. George’s in 1995, Melanie has served as a teacher, tutor, advisor, coach, costume designer, Assistant Dean of Students and, currently, as Academic Registrar. With each responsibility, she balances an unparalleled art of efficiency with creativity, kindness, and humor. Her classroom and her advisory brim equally with energy, laughter, and seriousness of purpose. It’s clear that one key to Melanie ‘s success is that she makes it her mission to know her students. “If students are aware that you know and care for them,” she once wrote, “it directly influences their ability to make good decisions.” Melanie’s commitment sets a wonderful example for her colleagues, and, of course, for her students, who continually benefit from her expertise, compassion, and exceptional teaching.
John R. Mackay, Prince Chair in History
Established in 1981 by the Prince Charitable Trust to recognize a senior member of the History Department for excellence in teaching and for commitment to St. George’s School
Great people make great schools, and for over two decades John Mackay has helped to make St. George’s a leader in the independent school landscape. The quintessential triple threat, John’s deep content knowledge and pedagogical expertise in the classroom coupled with his caring, detail-oriented, and tireless
approach to the afternoon program reflects his exceptional commitment to all walks of life at our learning community. “What’s important now?” he often asks his athletes and coaches — a nod to his appreciation for capturing the essence of a particular moment and focusing energies on the immediate task at hand. Represented as an acronym the rhetorical device lives amongst those closest to him as W.I.N. It is an apt metaphor for the beloved football coach.
A champion for every student, John’s work throughout his career reminds students and faculty alike of the importance of being the best version of their current selves, always able to adapt to the needs of the moment, yet steadfast in their dedication to the life of the school.