“Caring, warm, supportive, this teacher has that wizard’s mix of great skill, empathy and pure dedication,” Head of School Bodie Brizendine reflected as she announced that longtime Spanish language educator Celinés Pimentel received the 2020 Margaret Duckett Award. The award, given annually since 1999, recognizes “an outstanding teacher who has made an extraordinary contribution to the quality of life in the Spence community in the tradition of Margaret Duckett who taught at Spence for 22 years.”
At this year’s virtual Closing Meeting, Brizendine spoke about Pimentel’s profound impact on Spence students and faculty alike through the words of several colleagues who submitted nominations on Pimentel’s behalf.
Pimentel, who celebrated the start of her 20th year at Spence
this past fall, was commended by a colleague for “inspiring her students with a love of language and an appreciation of the ways that language offers access to knowledge of others and to oneself.”
The enthusiastic nominations also highlighted Pimentel’s profound impact as a teacher.
One colleague shared, “Teaching for her is inseparable from the teaching of ideas: History, literature, politics, justice and the challenges our students face…growing up in today’s world.”
“She is inspiring,” emphasized another. “This has been a long and difficult spring. Her humor, kindness and intelligence have helped students and teachers alike get through it. Every day, she teaches her students the Spence motto of learning for life.”
One nomination recounted the words of a Spence junior during advisory: “I love this class…We talk about so many things, and I’m learning so much.”
“She’s as generous a colleague as she is a teacher,” a nomination underscored. “On a personal level, I love talking to her about literature and her willingness to illuminate for me aspects of the text to learn so much more about the literature I teach.”
As part of the award, Pimentel will give a talk about teaching at next year’s Closing Meeting. Congratulations and felicidades to Señora Celinés Pimentel on this well-deserved award!