When teachers come to Lovett, they often stay a while because they love the community so much. But there comes a time at the end of the year when even the most beloved members of our Lovett family choose to leave, and this year is no different.
This year, there are six Lovett Upper School teachers who are retiring. Collectively, they have given 143 years to our school, gaining invaluable experiences and making unforgettable memories.
Randy Murphy - Registrar
Mrs. Murphy, the registrar, has been at Lovett for 18 years and now she and her husband are moving to Dallas, Texas, to be closer to their family.
Originally, she came to Lovett as a math teacher and chair of the US math department. She had been teaching math since she began her career in 1968, and has always enjoyed teaching it because she loves the subject matter. “I like the preciseness of mathematics, the problem solving that is inherent in the subject, and the collaboration that it promotes as students work through problems. I love the question-response interaction that brings a math classroom to life,” Mrs. Murphy says.
Her math classroom was on the 300 floor of what is now the Community Center, and then in the fall of 2002, she moved into what it now the Upper School. In the fall of 2006, Mrs. Murphy became Lovett’s K-12 academic dean and during her seven years in that position, her office was located first in the headmaster's suite and then on the 400 floor of the Community Center. She’s only been the registrar, though, since the summer of 2013, but she still continues to teach math. In fact, she thought her Multivariable/Linear Algebra class was such a great one that it would be “perfect as [her] last class to teach.”
Because Mrs. Murphy has been here for so long, she’s seen quite a few changes happen. “The campus has undergone almost a complete transformation since I began in August of 1998. Along with that has been a tremendous change in our use of technology,” she says.
One of her favorite things about Lovett has definitely been the community. “We care about each other,” she says. Because of this, she’s going to miss the interaction with her colleagues next year. One thing she won’t miss, though, is the parking!
Bill Nichols - History Teacher
Mr. Nichols is known for his funny sense of humor, his American Studies history class, and his annual holiday faculty party with his best friend, Mr. Jewell.
Mr. Nichols has taught a variety of classes at Lovett. Besides teaching American Studies for six years, he’s taught economics, Modern Global (originally Western Civilization), and Ancient Medieval.
He distinctly remembers his job interview at Lovett. It was at the end of July with the principal at the time, Dr. Hall, and was in the common’s classroom area (fine arts center). When he got the job, he was assigned a classroom on the bottom floor with a view of the pond. “It was absolutely fabulous,” he says. “Especially when they put the fountain in.”
Mr. Nichols has been here for such a long time that he has seen Lovett undergo many changes. Back in the day, before the fine arts building was built, there used to be stadium-like steps where both students and faculty could sit in the sun together. We don’t have much of that now. He’s also seen all three schools be built, in addition to the gyms, the parking lot, the baseball fields, tennis courts, and football practice field.
Other than the cafe, his favorite thing about Lovett has been his colleagues, and he is going to miss them dearly. “They’re wonderful, very supportive, and tremendously caring,” he says. And, of course, he is going to miss his students. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching in part because I enjoy dealing with students your age. I originally started in middle school and that’s why I got out of there,” he jokes.
Now that he is retiring, Mr. Nichols is moving with his wife to western North Carolina, where he will do some substitute teaching in the county (which is very different from Lovett). In addition to wanting to learn how to paddleboard, he also wants to travel. His first trip will be in August to Ireland, where he plans to do some volunteer work.
What he’s most excited for, though, is not having to attend any more faculty meetings. “Don’t think I’ll miss those,” he says.
Stutz Wimmer - Band Teacher
It wouldn’t be weird for a band student’s favorite teacher to be Mr. Wimmer. After all, he’s been at Lovett for 29 years and has formed many relationships with both staff and students.
Mr. Wimmer has really appreciated teaching at Lovett, and can’t imagine having had a better place to play out a career. “Lovett is a place where kids and faculty and learn how to learn. [It’s] a supportive, safe, family-like setting where we all get the chance to really know and understand each other, where we're encouraged to share our wins and loses without being judged, where we can safely expose our vulnerabilities in order to work on improving them, where we can try and fail, then try again the next year, until we get it right. All under the guidance of some of the most capable leaders you'll find anywhere,” he says.
After he retires, Mr. Wimmer will be moving to Hilton Head, where he plans to buy a fishing boat, play lots more music for himself, and work with his hands in a shop that he’s building.
Like Mr. Nichols, Mr. Wimmer still remembers his interview at Lovett with the then headmaster, Al Cash. Mr. Wimmer believes he’s never had a more pleasant experience in an interview. In fact, Mr. Cash sold Lovett so effectively that he couldn’t believe what he was hearing could possibly be true. But it turns out, it was.
Mr. Wimmer also remembers having so many students stop him on the way to the car during the first several weeks, in order to tell him how glad they were that he had been chosen to come to Lovett. “They made me feel so welcome here, in a setting unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I knew nothing about private high school culture...nothing at all. What a pleasant though shocking discovery I’d made!” he says.
It’s hard to imagine, but Mr. Wimmer thinks that Lovett is even better now than when he started. He thinks the facilities are 100 times better than when he started in ‘87, and the students are better citizens for sure. “Lovett is in a very, very, very good place at the moment. So long as Billy is at the helm, the place will continue to improve. How blessed we all are to have had him come along.”
Jim Wingate - Robotics Teacher
Mr. Wingate has been at Lovett for 23 years and he’s loved every day. In fact, he remembers the days when the campus had lots of parking space. “My NYC school had no provisions for parking,” he says.
Ever since the Makers Club has increased in popularity, more and more people have been hanging out in Mr. Wingate’s classroom in the Community Center. In fact, that’s the biggest change he’s seen at Lovett during his time here: the huge jump in available technology for students and faculty.
His favorite thing about Lovett is that there are no class change bells in his area, especially because it takes “time pressure off of students working in his classes.”
Now that Mr. Wingate is retiring, he plans to slow down a bit. “I still expect my day will start at 4:00 am with a cup of coffee before the rush of exciting events!” he says. He’s going to miss the enthusiastic morning greetings from students and faculty when starting the day.
One thing he won’t miss is the yearly “Blood Pathogen film/video” viewing requiring for teachers. “I don’t want to pass out during the showing…” he says.
Lamar Allen - Security Guard
One of the essential parts to a successful community is safety, and we have all our great security guards here at Lovett to thank for that. Lamar Allen, one of the security guards, who has been at Lovett for 20 years, will be retiring after this year.
Before coming to Lovett, Mr. Allen worked for the Board of Education in Fulton County.
Mr. Allen loves coming to work because he gets to do what he enjoys doing. When he told everyone he was going to be retiring, none of them wanted him to leave, especially because he plays such an integral role at Lovett. “I just felt like it was the right time,” he says.
Like the other teachers, Mr. Lamar thinks that through the 20 years he’s been here, the biggest change he’s seen at Lovett has been the buildings. “They’re much better now. It was mostly older buildings that had been there for 15 or 20 year when I started working here. The new ones are much more modern and have more modern equipment. The gym is also much better now,” he says.
For the first six months after he retires, Mr. Allen will be travelling. After that, he is going to help raise his grandkids and get to enjoy them. Some of them live here in Georgia, but others live in Boston and Michigan.
Even though Mr. Allen is going to miss the people he works with dearly (he’s worked with them for decades), he won’t miss coming to work because he is going to have other important things to do. “That will be the end of this chapter and I’ll be starting a new chapter in my life.”
Alyse Cooper-Pribish - Guidance Counselor
“This is crazy, but I won’t miss the bathrooms,” Mrs. CP says, pouring herself a coffee at 7:40 am in her office. “And I definitely won’t miss getting up early.”
Taking it slow is one of the things Mrs. CP plans to do next year when she retires (she’s always rushing here), in addition to taking care of her father who lives with her. After she rests, she’s going to sign up for Netflix and start watching Breaking Bad and all the other ones she hasn’t had time to watch. She’s never binge watched and she wants to see what it’s like.
She also wants to do all kinds of exercise. Specifically, in the morning, not when she’s exhausted after works. “I want to try everything that’s out there,” she says. To name a few, she wants to spend more time riding her bike and kayaking at the lake. She’s also signed up for a yoga retreat next year in Mexico, in addition to a trip planned to South Africa.
Besides the food, Mrs. CP’s favorite thing about Lovett is the community. Before she started working at Lovett, she went from school to school and trained people but never really got to be part of a community. To her, the family at Lovett is like a whole way of life. She likes how Lovett keeps up in not just the mental health area, but the teaching world.
Most importantly, she loves her advisory. She’s had four advisories and those are some of the most important relationships she’s had at Lovett, seeing them grow and change from 9th through 12th.
Next year, Mrs. CP is going to miss the community and the relationships. She’s worked with adolescents her entire life, since she was about 16 or 18. “I like the energy I get from being around young people. I’m going to miss always being up to date with all the newest research on all the issues surrounding adolescents and their mental health,” she says. “I just love my job.”