The Independent Day School

Fearless Faculty Fund

To Honor Our Retiring Faculty

Please join us in celebrating more than 100 combined years of FEARLESS, dedicated teaching! As five of our long-time faculty members retire, we invite you to recognize them by sharing a memory via email with Christine Foster at,and by donating to the Fearless Faculty Fund, which supports faculty development.

It’s hard to imagine a time when Mrs. Effgen, Mrs. Kawecki, Mrs. Cooley, Mrs. Meyering, and Mrs. Kinkead haven’t greeted our children at the door, molded young minds, chatted with parents in the hall, or offered a word of encouragement to faculty, students, and parents alike. They are, and forever will be, an integral part of the heart and soul of IDS. 


We have established the Fearless Faculty Fund with generous gifts from alumni, parents, faculty, trustees, and friends. We encourage you to be part of this effort to honor our retiring teachers and keep the spirit of their service alive by cultivating the talents of IDS faculty.










Laura has taught at IDS for 22 years! She began as a preschool teacher in our old portable classrooms prior to the building of the Early Childhood wing and became a Kindergarten teacher when the new EC opened. Her classroom has been a joyful home for numerous 5 and 6 year-olds. Laura also worked on the team that built the IDS Nature Trail and remembers fondly the many hours of summer building fun and (not so fondly) a few cases of poison ivy! Laura hopes to leave IDS and her many students with the legacy of a creative, joyful, confident look at life and a sense of environmental responsibility that she has always built into the Kindergarten experience. Her Kindergarten musicals are legendary, an eye-opening example of what young children are capable of when we believe in them. Laura shares, “I always tell my parents at the beginning and the end of the year – Kindergarten is not about ‘things to learn,’ but more about ‘finding joy and excitement in the journey of learning.’ It is and has always been my sincerest hope that Kindergarten be fondly remembered.”


Martha has worked at IDS for 24 years, serving in many different capacities ­ – 4th grade teacher, 5th grade teacher, Middle School mathematics coordinator and teacher, Middle School Dean of Students, IDS+ Administrator, and Assistant Head of School. She has led a number of efforts and can take credit for many academic program changes, both large and small, that have been implemented over the last several years. Martha has developed the all-school schedule and calmed a distressed pre-schooler; she has taken a 7th grade class to Washington, DC and served as The End (the last runner) in our annual Fearless 5K. Martha has been a strong thread in the IDS fabric for many years. We will miss her and, at the same time, we know we will always have a part of her with us. Her impact on our school is deep and significant. As Martha states, she has “learned every day from students, colleagues, and families.” 


This is Jane’s 35th year at IDS. She taught 2nd grade for three years, 1st grade for six years, and then became IDS’ Computer Coordinator. Jane remembers that we began our technology program with six Apple IIc computers with floppy disk drives – one for each class K-5! Her technology job has changed and grown dramatically over the years. IDS has added lots more computers, wired the campus, added servers, started using email, created web sites, deployed databases...the list goes on and on! Jane has enjoyed that, in her role as Director of Technology, there was always something new to figure out and learn! Some of her fondest memories are of the all-school events and class plays she did with her first and second graders. Jane hopes that she has created a solid technology foundation for IDS and that we continue to grow. Jane shares, “IDS is a second family to me. It has been a big part of my life for a very long time. I will miss the people most of all. I have felt lucky to be surrounded by such a warm and caring community and colleagues who are so dedicated and talented.”


Kathy started teaching at IDS in 1999 and taught Kindergarten for five years (three of those with Laura Cooley!) before moving to First Grade in 2004. Kathy is proud of her successes launching many IDS students into the world of reading and equally proud of the caring classroom communities she helped to build and grow, using both literature and music to help children understand, enjoy, and respect each other. Kathy established some much-loved IDS programs, including the monthly Kindergarten quilt project, letter writing to veterans, classroom parent involvement in first grade family traditions and occupations units, using yoga in class for both calming and community building activities, music for teaching phonemic awareness, and of course the medieval feast! Kathy says, “I have had the distinct honor and advantage of watching former students bloom and grow through their years here and beyond.The IDS students have always made me proud to be part of this school. And I love my colleagues. This is a special community of hard-working, dedicated educators who truly care about their students, their world, and each other. Certainly, weve had lots of rough patches, but if the world could operate on the same level as our faculty, it would be a much better place to live! I feel blessed to have worked alongside them.”


Margot Kawecki came to IDS in 2001 and has taught Pre-K for 17 years; her early childhood teaching career spans 34 years!  Margot will be remembered for her unconditional love of children and her sincere desire to support their parents.  Dozens of IDS students, present and past, remember fondly the many activities and projects they completed under Mrs. Kawecki’s guidance.  Her belief in young children and their abilities shines through every day as she carefully guides her students to make connections with one another, to appreciate and respect each other, and to love learning.  Her smile and warmth can light up any day! Margot says, “My favorite part of IDS is the people – the children, my colleagues, the families – and the strong sense of community. It is my second family. It will be bittersweet to leave!” 


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