Ms. Howard with her daughter, Zara and long time friend, Juliette
On Tuesday, May 21st, faculty, staff, parents, students and friends came together at the Albert and Janet Cultural Arts Hall to wish Lillian Howard a fond farewell. The following speeches were given about Lillian from members of our administration and Kehillah Sophomore, Shauna Kuperschmidt.
The first speech given by Marily Lerner, Mark Cahn, Alison Ruebusch, and Michelle Greenberg:
“A lawyer, an engineer, a biologist and a rabbi walked into a high school, and Lillian brought together a leadership team to carry out the vision of Kehillah. Working with her over these past years has been rewarding for all of us. She has been a supportive and insightful leader and role model. Her honesty and clarity make it easy to see the path forward; she is a straight-shooter that inspires her team. She has led a faculty and staff team that is student centered and mission driven. Her leadership doesn’t shy away from difficult issues as she consistently upholds what is in the best interest of the students under her care.
We have learned a lot from Lillian. Her skills as a grammatist, linguist and boggle enthusiast, have inspired us to write a poem for her.
If Ms. Howard had never come to our school
We’d be “headless,” which really isn’t too cool.
We couldn’t shoot hoops or swim at the Oh-Ef JCC,
And our home games would be where? Mi yodea? Lo ani!
We’d still be paying into a landlord’s big pot,
And have to get permits for sukkahs in our own parking lot!
We’d never have taught Latin, let alone Ancient Greek,
And never know languages that only dead people speak.
We wouldn’t have met a true master of boggle,
And we never would have met Charlie her “doggle.”
Unworkable budgets would continue to vex us,
And we’d never known a Paso outside of Texas.
Who knows if CAIS would have approved us?
Or if a train station shuttle would really behoove us?
Would we have Israel trips for each junior class?
Or a rock band that boasted a section of brass?
Would our seniors have taken on travel as global?
Would our tikkun olam efforts have proven as noble?
Ms. Howard was mandated to strengthen us and hence,
She reimagined our high school in a way that makes sense.
She proposed a wider array of curriculum choices,
And made sure that we heard a number of voices.
In Jewish studies Lillian spear-headed options galore
Our students love what they got and are hungry for more
Tefillah expanded for personal reflection
Yoga, siddur, iPod, meditation
To name a few more we have: knitting, praying with our feet, and preschool visitation
Free-styling, musical minyan, art, walking, gardening, ethical dilemmas, and poetry interpretation
Opening doors she viewed as a must, And now our enrollment is 150 plus.
We’re on the right path, But not finished yet.
Thank you Ms. Howard, We will never forget (— you.)
We want to thank you for everything you have done for us and Kehillah. We are very happy for you and wish you the best, and Kehillah will miss you.”
The second speech, given by Kehillah Sophomore, Shauna Kuperschmidt:
“At some point every teacher will say the classic statement: ‘If you ever need help outside of class feel free to come talk to me whenever’. These words are not always taken as close to heart as they should be. Ms. Howard, when you said this on the first day of English class, I knew that I would need to take advantage of this opportunity.
As I got to know you better, I learned that you always mean what you say. You provided this opportunity not only to me, but for the entire school. You were always available and ready to talk with any member of our community. You personified our school values such as support, responsibility, organization, and most of all what it means to be a good member of Kehillah. It has been an honor to have such a well-rounded and active head of school in our Kehillah community.
Personally I amextremely thankful that you said this the first day of class. I suspect that you may not feel the same way, in fact you might even regret having said that.. just a tiny bit! Regardless, you kept your promise and were always accessible. The first time I came to ask you for help outside of school was after you handed back what in my mind was a perfect paper. However, that quickly changed when I saw entire pages covered in red. When I tried asking you for help you were running somewhere and quickly told me to make an appointment through your assistant. I thought to myself, what did I say that she is already running from me….? Our first meeting revolved around you essentially changing and explaining to me how each and every sentence could be improved. I loved how straightforward you were. You really taught me what it meant to revise a paper. You helped me understand that any piece of work could always be better, and not just in English class. Throughout the year your constant support and constructive criticism kept me extremely motivated to continue improving.
At the beginning of sophomore year, I found out that you would be driving me and a few others to Oregon, for our theatre trip. I was a little bit nervous. I figured if you were running away from me after a couple weeks, how would you survive my presence or 8 straighthours. Not only were you my teacher, but also the head of school, truthfully I thought I would have to be silent for the duration of the trip! My initial fear quickly went away when I realized what a funny, genuine and most of all patient person you are. Prior to my trip, my mom had told me that anybody who could put up with me for that long is truly exceptional, and in this case you most definitely passed the test.
I had the privilege of having you drive me this year once again. I think this time you really did want to run away, and I was even a little bit surprised you didn’t. After lots of quality time together, I had named you my best friend, three days later the entire school knew who my best friend really was, including the entire administration. I cannot thank you enough for not only being the most supportive teacher, but also a lifelong mentor. Even though you may wish that I would still make appointments through your assistant instead of my spontaneous daily visits, thank you for having your doors always open for me. I am so sad that this time you really are running further then just your office door and a little bit scared I wont always know where to find you. Thank you for reassuring me on a daily basis that you will always be there, no matter how far you may run. You have been such a huge part of my Kehillah experience, and I am sad you will not be there for the last part of it.
I cannot imagine what our school is going to look like without you bringing everybody together. You have impacted all of us both individually and as a community in so many ways.-
Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work you will be missed by everybody.”
On behalf of the everyone at Kehillah, we will miss you!