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Holderness News

From Ukraine to China, New Faculty Bring the World to Holderness

Emily Magnus ’88
It’s no secret that amazing teachers, coaches, and dorm parents are an integral part of the Holderness experience. With the retirement of four long-serving and tremendously impactful faculty members, Dean of Faculty Kristen Fischer knew she had to find an equally committed and accomplished group of new faculty members to start the year. Her search began in January with visits to recruiting fairs and countless interviews and tours on campus. By early summer, her diligent attention to finding the right candidates for Holderness paid off; we are excited to welcome this new crew of Holderness Bulls to campus.
We’ll start off introducing a veteran to Holderness who taught here in the mid-2000s. Joseph Kennedy returns to teach two sections of AP English Literature and two sections of English 9. Mr. Kennedy comes to Holderness from Northfield Mount Hermon School, where he taught World Literature and American Literature as well as a senior elective: The Future - Utopian and Dystopian Literature. Mr. Kennedy has a bachelor's degree in English from Duke University and a master’s degrees in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University as well as in Teaching and Curriculum in the field of English from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Mr. Kennedy is also passionate about rare books and vintage vinyl music. In addition to teaching English, Mr. Kennedy will oversee the student community service program, support the ski program, and live in the Bean House annex.
Joseph Sywenkyj, who graduated from the School of Visual Art in New York City with a fine arts degree in photography in 2002, will join the Art Department; he will teach two sections of Photography, two sections of ninth grade Seminart, and one section of Digital Video Recording. A practicing artist, Mr. Sywenkyj is originally from the United States but was most recently living in the Ukraine, where he directed and shot three immersive video documentary films about wounded Ukrainian soldiers in collaboration with Hromadske.UA. The films have been presented at conferences in Warsaw and Riga and at the XV International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA in Kyiv, Ukraine. Currently, Mr. Sywenkyj is working with New Cave Media -- a Ukrainian VR studio and recipient of a Google Journalism 360 Grant -- as the producer of an immersive documentary experience about the bloodiest day of the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Sywenkyj will run the Edwards Art Gallery, lead one season of Art in the Afternoon, and live on the Hill in Henderson Dorm.
Holliday Shuler is traveling all the way from the West Coast to join us at Holderness. Graduating from Northwestern University in June 2016, Ms. Shuler went directly to work for Boeing, where she was a satellite systems engineer. Ms. Schuler has traveled extensively, including to Peru in 2015 when she and eight other Northwestern students built houses for local residents. Ms. Shuler will use her extensive knowledge of multiple computer programming languages to teach Robotics, Computer Science, and AP Computer Science; she will also coach soccer and live in Upper Pfenninger.
In the Modern and Classical Languages Department, there are three new faces. Jiabao Mei has most recently been living in Quincy, MA, where she was working at Quincy Asian Resources as an outreach specialist. Prior to arriving in Quincy, Ms. Mei lived in Guangzhou, China, where she taught first at ISA International School of Guangzhou and later at the Canton Global Academy. At Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, where Ms. Mei received a Bachelor of Arts degree in cross-cultural management in 2016, she also played volleyball and was a member of the Writing and Poetry Club. Ms. Mei will teach mandarin, advise students, and live in the Cottage.
Teaching French 2, French 4, and AP French Language will be Linnea Burnham. Ms. Burnham graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College in 2015, majoring in both French and history. Her real passion, however, is for cheese. Through a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Ms. Burnham was awarded $30,000 in 2015-16 to independently study cheese-making in Norway, England, Switzerland, Italy, South Africa, Brazil and Mongolia over the course of 14 months. Her senior theses at Middlebury both focused on the making of cheese in France from 1880-1900. Most recently, Ms. Burnham has been a contributing author to Culture Cheese Magazine in Fairlee, VT. In addition to teaching French, Ms. Burnham will coach cross-country running and girls’ JV hockey.
Also teaching French will be Michelle Taffe. Ms. Taffe was a substitute teacher at Holderness last year, and we are excited that she is joining us as an official member of the faculty this year. Ms. Taffe is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and has a Masters in French from Middlebury College. She has been working in boarding schools since 1990 including the Cate School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and St. Paul’s School. Most recently she was the dean of residential life at Woodside Priory in Portola, CA. Ms. Taffe will teach French 1, French 3, and French Culture.
Reflecting on this year’s cohort of new faculty, Kristen Fischer shared, “this year's group of new teachers has an impressive set of experiences, and they are all really excited to share their expertise with our students.  They quite literally bring the world to our corner of New Hampshire. I'm thrilled to welcome them and to start working with them.”

We, too, are thrilled to welcome these amazing teachers to Holderness!

List of 3 news stories.

  • Emerald Pool Study

    The Emerald Pool Opens at the Edwards Art Gallery

    Andrew Herring
    Albert Bierstadt, the German-American painter renowned for his landscapes of the American West, came to the White Mountains to capture its simple yet overwhelming beauty. What came to life through nearly a decade’s worth of work was The Emerald Pool, a massive oil-on-canvas monument to the natural majesty of a hidden swimming hole along the Peabody River in the Pinkham Notch.  Recounting The Emerald Pool, Bierstadt said, “I never had so difficult a picture to paint, as this White Mountain subject the Emerald Pool; my artist friends think it my best picture and so do I.” 
    Read More
  • Being On Mission: Convocation 2019

    Phil Peck
    At Holderness we deliberately build community through the people we bring in and programs we support. Today I want to share one story about people who showed us what it means to be a mission-centered community and talk about one unique program that is hitting a milestone. 
    Read More
  • The Bulls are Back in Town! Holderness School Welcomes New Class of Students

    Andrew Herring
    Kicking off its 141st year, Holderness School welcomed new students to campus on September 5th.  Under blue skies and surrounded by the cheers of joyful Senior Leaders, 114 new students eagerly joined the Holderness School community.  The day was filled with smiles as new students and families unpacked their cars and turned dorm rooms into a home away from home.
    Read More
Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness NH, 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257