7th July 20
In 44 years Rita has touched the lives of thousands of staff and students leaving a lasting impression on them. While she may be leaving the school, her impact will remain.
Here are some memories from those who’ve been lucky enough to work with her, and from the lady herself.
“I first met Rita thirty years ago. I was instantly awestruck by her knowledge, kind and calm nature, curious mind and her passion for teaching and learning. Our first joint success was to win the Sue Jaggard spoon, a doubles Staff tennis tournament trophy. As the Head of Middle school, Rita safeguarded the school’s progressive values, maintained her contact with students through a broad teaching allocation, enthused Staff with praise and ensured she was accessible to every individual associated with the school. She has been instrumental in shaping the frame within which the school operates today. I am particularly grateful for her permanent support for outdoor adventures. Rita took active part in countless residential camps, ski trips and sailing voyages, constantly supplying assistance and guidance. I feel that at these excursions our friendship truly prospered and am looking forward to our reunion when we both retire at the end of this school year.”
Edo Skender, Head of PE
“I love Rita. She’s such a steady, insightful, caring Alfredian teacher. Part of the institution, she seems always to have been there. The last of the old guard. We will truly miss her, her wonderful jam making and her prowess at sewing. I do hope she won’t go far when she leaves and will visit often. We owe her a huge thank you for her wonderful service to the school.”
Kara Conti, President of KASS
“Have a wonderful retirement, Rita. I remember with fondness the end-of-week revelries in the Bull and Bush with other ‘youthful’ teachers of the early eighties. And then, throughout the thirty-three years we were colleagues, I could always rely on you for some plain common sense when it was in short supply!”
“Rita very occasionally was away from school on a course and I covered her lessons. Normally one didn’t enjoy having to give up a free lesson but it was different with Rita’s classes. The children knew exactly what to do. They were so organised and motivated by Rita that it was a pleasure to be in the classroom with them. It made me realise just how dedicated and professional Rita was in her teaching.”
“I have so many memories of this amazing person who has played an active role in the nurturing and educating of my children. She was their geography teacher, Head of Department, form teacher and Head of Middle School. Rita, the ever present, the professional, the unflustered, the quietly spoken. She was someone they always could go to for help.
For me as a colleague for 32 years she is my friend, my badminton and tennis partner, book club participant, fellow sailor and my skiing buddy. I was with her when she tore her knee to shreds! Together we worked on the senior leadership team. She was always committed, intelligent, ever-present and sought consensus, she was a listener but also a decision maker. Rita is a kind person, a knitter, a present giver. Rita is someone who shares her time, has high standards and is utterly committed. She is a KAS legend.”
My interview for the post of Geography teacher took place on a sunny warm day in May 1976, the beginning of a famously hot summer. The friendliness and lack of a hierarchy struck me; I was waiting for the interview to begin, not realizing it had been going on all day. In those days, I remember a pay phone in the staffroom, a spirit Banda machine for duplicating work, and films ordered from a local library arrived by post in a box looking like a pizza delivery.
So much has obviously changed in forty-four years, especially the level of technology, but not the beautiful green setting nor the honest relationships between pupils and teachers. I have learned so much from inspiring and wise colleagues and enjoyed almost every single day. It has been rewarding to have a range of roles in the school and to teach so many children, some whose parents are ex-pupils. The school still benefits from dedicated, kind and hard-working teachers, supportive parents many of whom give freely of their time and expertise for the good of the whole community, but perhaps it is the students who really make a school and teach us teachers the most.
I will miss a great deal about KAS and wish everyone a happy and healthy future.