What’s Even Better Than an Apple?
Howell Family Endows Fund to Support Faculty
It is no secret that St. Albans thrives because of its teachers. They are well-versed in their subjects and creative in their approach. They challenge our boys in ways many have never been challenged before, and they provide the support boys need to meet those challenges. Honoring the vital role of our teachers, St. Albans strives to create an environment where teachers are valued, appreciated, and supported.
In 2011, now Governing Board member Lloyd Howell Jr. and his wife, Patricia, parents of Lloyd ’13 and William ’16, showed their support of our faculty by establishing the Howell Family Faculty Support Fund, an endowed fund that supports faculty salaries. Both Mr. and Mrs. Howell’s mothers were educators, so they knew, first-hand, the dedication needed to help students succeed, and they recognized that passion in the St. Albans faculty. Because of their mothers, they also were well aware that a student’s success often starts with the relationship he has with a teacher. The relationships they, as a family, would form at St. Albans helped shaped their perception and impression of the School.
The Howell family was first introduced to St. Albans through elder son Lloyd’s participation in a basketball tournament. They met then basketball coach Duane Simpkins, whom they described as a “great ambassador” for the School; Coach Simpkins then introduced them to Dean of Faculty Sherry Rusher. After Ms. Rusher’s encouragement, the Howells added St. Albans to their list of schools they would consider. After Lloyd’s day visit, he told his parents St. Albans was where he wanted to be. “He really enjoyed the all-boys environment, the culture, really everything,” Mr. Howell recalled. Lloyd enrolled in Form III in the fall of 2009; younger brother William would soon follow, enrolling in Form II in fall 2011.
The academic rigor of St. Albans was a challenge that the Howells, like many families, expected and faced head on. “I’ve always appreciated and respected St. Albans because it’s exactly what it says it is. They tell you ‘It’s going to be challenging; it’s going to be rigorous,’ and it is,” said Mrs. Howell. What came as a surprise to the Howells, however, was the dedication of their sons’ teachers who went above and beyond to help the boys succeed.
Mrs. Howell recalled English teacher and Department Chair Donna Denizé going above and beyond to connect with Lloyd, who was struggling in her class at the time:
“He was working so hard in Ms. Denizé’s class; there was all this effort, but he wasn’t feeling as if he was making progress. She decided to come and watch him play basketball. After the game, she came over to him and said, ‘I get it now; I totally get it now.’ After that, how they communicated in the classroom shifted. She was able to see a side of him she hadn’t seen before, and they were able to rework their classroom interaction. If she weren’t such a dedicated teacher and hadn’t decided to come and see him play, they would not have been able to have that shift, and it would’ve been a missed opportunity. It’s teachers like Ms. Denizé that make St. Albans special.”
The teachers’ commitment to their sons inspired the Howells to make a commitment back to them and provide additional support through the Howell Family Faculty Support Fund. “As a teacher, you’re on campus to see students before school, you’re probably a coach, so you’re on the field with them after school, and you’re not getting home to your family until well after that,” said Mrs. Howell. “That kind of time, dedication, and passion should be rewarded.”
The Howells hope that their Faculty Support Fund will help teachers with whatever it is they need. “Now that I sit on the Governing Board, I’ve gained an even greater appreciation of the challenges that teachers face as they plant roots in this city and start their families,” said Mr. Howell. “If there is anything we can do to help the faculty, we are all for it,” he said.
They also hope that the fund continues to allow St. Albans to attract and retain the very best teachers it can. “You know you’re dealing with a good teacher when it’s not about how many students in his or her class received As, but whether or not students actually learned something, or have fallen in love with a particular book, or have broadened their interest in a particular subject,” said Mrs. Howell. “That’s impressive, and that’s what you continuously see at St. Albans.”
The Howells are also grateful for the classroom lessons that have turned into life lessons for their sons. “Our boys have learned how to engage their teachers and, most importantly, advocate for themselves,” said Mr. Howell. Mrs. Howell added, “With their teachers’ and coaches’ help, they’ve learned to adapt and overcome. Everything will not always go in their favor, but they will figure it out, adapt, and overcome.”