Students Say Sad Bye, Bye, Bye to Departing Faculty

Stratford will not only say goodbye to the Class of 2015 at the end of this school year, but also some of the school’s favorite teachers.

In the upper school, English teacher Ms. Lynn Hutto is retiring.  Latin teacher Mr. Cameron Paterson also is departing, while the history department is losing Ms. Abby Schirmer and Mr. Chris Loomis.

The middle school is also losing Ms. Kathleen Peterson, who is retiring, while social studies teacher Mr. Dewayne Lawson is moving into a non-classroom role Stratford.

Hutto has been teaching at Stratford for 10 years. Hutto said she has watched her students grow up and become successful over the years.

She said her favorite moment at Stratford is commencement.

“At graduation, when you see them stepping up on the stage to get their diploma. It’s the culmination of a lot of experiences together here at Stratford. It’s full of sweet memories for me,” Hutto said.

Hutto said that she will continue to teach at Mercer University. Her students will miss her greatly, and the classroom will seem empty without her brightly colored flamingos to decorate it.

In addition to teaching World History and Economics, Schirmer also has coached the debate team to numerous trophies during her seven-year stint at the Academy. She has accepted a position to coach debate and teach history at Marist School in Atlanta.

“I am really going to miss the family aspect of Stratford,” Schirmer said.

Paterson has been teaching at Stratford for five years, where he has developed a kind of cult following among his Latin students and aspiring chess players.

He remained typically inscrutable in explaining his reasons for departing the school.

“Every generation, there is a constant battle between teachers and mummies. I’m leaving Stratford to join the teacher force who is fighting these mummies in retirement homes,” he said. “I will always be around, fighting crime if you need me.”

Lawson, has taught history and civics at Stratford for eight years. He is stepping down from his teaching position to become Stratford’s Academic Technology Specialist, where he will help incorporate technology into the curriculum throughout the school.

Loomis has taught AP U.S. History and Journalism for the past three years, and helped coach cross country this past fall. Loomis has accepted a teaching position outside at the Hackley School, which is just outside New York City.  He said he was making the move in order to be closer to his fiancee, who is finishing her graduate studies in Connecticut.

Current sixth grade science teacher, Kathleen Peterson, who has been employed at Stratford since 1999, will also be leaving Stratford next year. Peterson is moving to Salem, Oregon, where she “wants to begin the next great life adventure while [she] is still young enough to enjoy traveling around the Southwest.” Peterson is “just gonna hang,” and might pursue tutoring children on the side.

— Reporting by Nick Dorogy, Shawn Shivdat, Abigail Smith, Manasa Vemuri.