Giving Back: Carroll Alumni Who Returned as Educators

Giving Back: Carroll Alumni Who Returned as Educators
Dr. Renée Greenfield, Head of School Blog


Currently, six of Carroll’s full-time educators and nearly 25 summer counselors are also Carroll alum. Years ago, these individuals sat in some of the very same classrooms in which they now teach. Their decision to return reflects their enormous commitment to Carroll and enriches our community deeply.

Each of them has their own compelling reasons for returning, often they see their former selves in our students and want to give back. Likewise, students recognize themselves in these skilled teachers they can so easily relate to.

In fact, when I asked a few students how it feels to have a teacher who attended Carroll as a student, their replies were striking:

“All Carroll teachers are dyslexic-friendly, but the ones who have dyslexia really get it,”

and “They know the struggle we’re going through.”

Recently, I sat down with four of these educators:

Will Close
Will Close ’11, Middle School Bounders
3 years at Carroll
Mike Copacino
Mike Copacino ’02, Middle School History
12 years at Carroll
Zoe Norcross
Zoe Norcross ’04, Middle School Language
5 years at Carroll
Ben Shepard
Ben Shepard ’02, TCI Curriculum Coordinator
14 years at Carroll


They shared some pretty neat feedback about why they decided to return to Carroll and what student memories they still hold dear. Here’s a bit of what they had to say.

Why teach at Carroll?

Mike: Fifteen years ago, a friend told me about how she was learning to teach phonics. It resonated with me: ‘Wait, phonics was something that was so helpful in my life and learning.’ After college, I came back to Carroll thinking it would be a great place to start a teaching career. Now here I am, 12 years later. I can’t imagine being more valuable to students than at Carroll. 

Will: Working at Carroll is deeply personal. It is a beacon — there is something that pulls you in here. The spirit and legacy on this campus feel magnetic, like a compass. For me, it’s the holding of two sets of experiences and feelings. The student Will was terrified about learning and so grateful for Carroll. The adult Will, as an educator, is indebted to this place. Both pieces of my identity make me want to be in service to our school, giving kids what they really need. 

Zoe: The skill-building I learned as a Carroll student allowed me to have a more successful academic career, and more access to education. Working at Carroll, I feel I’m more understood by my colleagues. They know I have dyslexia and I can say what I need. Here, I can be more fully appreciated as an educator and celebrate my whole self. 

Ben: I came back to Carroll after college. I didn’t necessarily want to teach, but I wanted to learn how people learn. Around the same time, Carroll was launching its Targeted Cognitive Intervention program. I was hooked. I am drawn to Carroll’s drive and commitment to the field of education. We break down barriers for kids and engage in meaningful research. It’s so needed in our society. 

What traditions do you miss?

Zoe: The Bounders Belt, which was awarded to students showing a commitment to nature and the outdoors. I was going through my childhood awards and ribbons recently and I got rid of everything but two: The Heads’ Award, which I received in my last year, and my Bounders Belt.

Mike: I miss the Golden Birdie Award, for badminton tournaments. 

Everyone: Overnight Bounders trips and overnights on campus, including a nighttime trip to Walden Pond for the Polar Plunge. Also, mystery weekends, when parents would sign kids up and know the itinerary, but the students would be surprised. 

What traditions do you continue to love?

Everyone: The enduring appeal of the Fall Festival. Favorite stations include: pickle-making, the chicken toss, and the threat of bees surrounding the cider press.

In what ways do your student memories live on for you?

Zoe: On a regular basis, I experience flashing memories of my time as a student, of walking down the stone stairs to the Gatehouse and always remembering the painted feet that used to be there.

Mike: I constantly find myself falling in and out of my memories, connecting and reconnecting myself as a student here.

Will: We are the stewards of all the great stuff that makes Carroll, Carroll!



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