At the final Upper School Assembly of the year, Spence students, staff and alumnae came together virtually for a poignant farewell and celebration of Michèle Krauthamer, who is retiring. Krauthamer who began teaching at Spence in 1978, has served as the Head of Upper School for the past 11 years.
“I’ve never seen anyone as strong as she in wanting to be first and center for the children,” shared Head of School Bodie Brizendine leading the series of tributes. “What I know most about her is she has the pure heart of an educator, a teacher and a fellow human being...she is a warrior for justice, and always has been.” Upper School Dean of Students Anna Wronsky echoed Brizendine’s sentiments, calling Krauthamer our “champion, our mentor, friend and accomplice.”
Bea H. ’24 , as a part of the students’ tribute, shared a video
she created, “to celebrate Madame Krauthamer’s long career at Spence and give alumnae a chance to share their love for and speak about her impact on the lives of the Spence community.” “I have been fortunate enough to have Madame Krauthamer for two years in French. She’s had a huge impact on me and I’ve always looked forward to French class with her every week. From our long discussions in class, to our playful teasing and her amazing advice, I’ve never doubted Madame Krauthamer’s love for teaching and her devotion to her students.”
Bea’s video featured several Spence alumnae who spoke to Krauthamer’s impact on them and impression she made on their lives.
Dana Wallach Jones ’93, Vice President of the Spence Alumnae Association and Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Guggenheim Museum shared, “She’s a terrific teacher and imbued in me a lifelong love of learning French…I’m so grateful for having such an inspiring teacher who made an indelible impression on my life and the things I enjoy forever.”
Nazma Rosado ’92, Vice President Organizational Leadership & Development at Halloran Consulting Group, Inc. thanked Krauthamer for her enduring support. “If it wasn’t for Ms. Krauthamer, I probably would not have had a career at Spence. She interviewed me for the A Better Chance program and has been a huge support and advocate for me and my ambition all the way through. She’s the best.”
Serena Miniter ’16 who recently graduated from University of Pennsylvania, praised Krauthamer’s guidance as the Head of Upper School: “I have so much love for Mrs. Krauthamer. She was an amazing mentor to me throughout my time at Spence. She helped me create News 91…advising me throughout the entire process.”
For Laura Stone ’95, what was initially intended to be a lighthearted tribute to Krauthamer, became, in the days following the death of George Floyd, a deeper reflection “about the gifts of introspection that the most exemplary educators impress upon their students.”
“You are one of those educators,” Stone added. “The lessons I learned in that class echo in my life today, every day, because the work is not over, it is always just beginning. You are an extraordinary educator, Mme. Krauthamer and I feel very blessed to join my voice to others as we celebrate your legacy.”
In 2018, the School celebrated the start of Krauthamer’s 20 years of teaching and leadership at Spence. At the tenure ceremony, Brizendine’s remarks honored Krauthamer’s teaching and leadership: “Knowing Michèle Krauthamer is to know an uncompromising commitment to moral and emotional growth as part of our charge as teachers of the young. Teaching for Michèle is all about the developmental growth of our young charges where they are, all the while planting road signs to get them going in the right direction. ‘This way to deeper integrity.’ ‘Take a slight right here to learn more about forgiveness.’ And in her wonderful largeness of spirit, Michèle helps us, her fellow companions, to see the wholeness of our work, always leading by example and always teaching.”
For Krauthamer, her 42-year legacy as an educator remains centered on lifelong learning: “I always look for ways to learn something new, either about a subject, an event or a person, to thinking differently about something I had always thought had to be one way.”
Congratulations, Michèle Krauthamer! We wish you all the best in your retirement and thank you for your many wonderful years of making Spence the best school it can be.