Collegiate Honors Annie Richards for Excellence

The 2022 Ann Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented to Annie Richards.
The Ann Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching is given in honor and in tribute to Ann’s 39 years of teaching at Collegiate. This stipend will be awarded to a deserving member of the Collegiate Upper School faculty.  It will enable the recipient to explore, plan and implement innovative teaching methods. 

The following remarks were made by Head of Upper School Patrick Loach at the Opening of School Meeting, held August 2022.

While the sportos, motorheads, wastoids and dweebs all thought Ferris was a righteous dude, teachers, counselors, food service workers, administrative assistants, students, and just about everyone who meets this year’s recipient think she is amazing. She is an incredibly kind and caring colleague, and she is also exceedingly passionate about what she teaches, because she knows one day it may save the life of a student or help them save a life. I am not speaking figuratively; she literally teaches children how to save other people’s lives. 

When she first arrived, she was hired to coach girls’ varsity lacrosse and teach health and wellness. The health class could have been an afterthought, but there was no way this teacher wasn’t going to be prepared. So, she learned everything she could about drugs and alcohol, driving, first aid and CPR. She experimented and explored methods for making the content more relatable and interesting to the students. But, perhaps more than anything, it is her ability to show the students that she cares about them and their well-being that has allowed her to be so successful. And, yes, one day one of her students may save a life because of what they learned, or one day they may save their own life by making the right choice when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. 

When she is not helping students make good choices, she is leading the School’s Community Prevention Advisory Council (CPAC). She challenges that group to consider how we can provide programming for students and parents to help our community be as healthy as possible. When she retired from coaching lacrosse, she took on the after-school fitness class, where her students, many of whom do not love sports, still have a great time playing ultimate frisbee, walking in the neighborhood and building a sense of camaraderie with each other and with their coach. 

When I knew Missy Herod was retiring, I asked this year’s recipient if she would be willing to teach human sexuality. She first asked, “Are you sure Missy won’t stay forever?” But soon after, she said, “I would do anything for the kids and the School. Of course I’ll do it.” Since then she has been hard at work taking a number of professional development classes in order to prepare. That, in a nutshell, defines this year’s recipient: She is willing to do whatever it takes to help the students make healthy choices for a lifetime.

Her colleagues in the Upper School know her for her wide-ranging knowledge about health and wellness, her warm and wide smile, her willingness to help, her incredible work ethic and how much she cares about her advisees and her students. It is my pleasure to honor Upper School Health and Wellness Teacher, Annie Richards, with the Ann Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching.