Collegiate Honors Asher Rolfe for Excellence

The 2022 Andrew Jackson Brent Award is presented to Asher Rolfe.
In 1997, the family and friends of Jack Brent, a longtime parent, grandparent and Life Trustee of Collegiate School, established a teacher award in his honor. The recipient is to be a full-time career teacher who exemplifies the teacher, coach, mentor, counselor, friend model that is so vital to independent schools.

The following remarks were made by Head of Middle School Tung Trinh at the Opening of School Meeting, held August 2022.

An ideal teacher-coach possesses the same skill set and mentality in the classroom and on the field: they genuinely care about students; they are committed to student-athlete's holistic development; they build a micro-community with their roster whose values fit with the macro-community of the School; they shine the light on the students-class-team and not themselves; they seek professional development to grow; and, perhaps most importantly, they mentor and guide classes and teams that lead to both individual and collective success. Simply put, they can't take the test for the student and they can't suit up to play.
This description feels like searching for the elusive unicorn — a single mythical being that perhaps lives only in our imaginations but not in real life (or does it?). But it's not about whether the unicorn can be every descriptor above, but instead lives out each value to the best of their ability whenever and wherever possible. It's about trying to be a unicorn, not just being one. And this teacher-coach constantly does so on the soccer pitch and inside the wrestling rink, as he cares about not only what he is doing, but why.
Asher Rolfe holds himself to the same high standard that he holds his students and athletes to. As Andrew Stanley, our Athletic Director, shares: “Asher has the ability to help players navigate challenging and intimidating situations with humor and a sense of calm that delivers the message that, ‘Yes, this is going to be difficult, but you are ready and able to handle it, and I will be right here with you.’” This is a great summary of what makes Asher successful.
And it is also spot on in the classroom.
Asher has been a leader in our work in the Middle School to really push the prominence and practice of student agency and help empower them to grow from their decision-making and be able to reflect on what it means to work toward success. Oftentimes, it is easier for teachers to do parts of the work that lead to the learning, but Asher serves as a reminder that the journey for each of our students is what matters most. Whether it be reading, writing or talking about topics in US history, Asher is a natural historian himself who can masterfully demonstrate his skill of asking thought-provoking questions that lead to self-discovery through drawing one’s own conclusions and taking on new perspectives. But be ready to work for it, as nothing is given in his class; everything is earned. Luckily, though, every student has a spotter in Asher.
An exemplary teacher, coach and colleague, please join me in congratulating Asher Rolfe, our Andrew Jackson Brent Award winner.