15 Students Receive Fall Athletics Awards at The Country School

The entire Country School community came together this morning to celebrate wins, acknowledge losses, and recognize the contributions of 15 basketball players to their respective teams.

Front row from left: Brielle Tyler, McKenna Duncan, Caroline Nagel, Billy Hunter, Paget Kellogg, Mekonnen Sahle-Salassi, Alex Urqhart, Jack Dukehart; Back row from left: Isabella Tylor, Sydney Johnson, Joanna Riley, Chillian Cuthbert-Emon, Tierney Smith, Ahmed Ezzaki, Nick Oxnam

Boys Gold Team
Most valuable player: Jack Dukehart
Most improved player: Alex Urqhart
Cougar Award for sportsmanship: Chillian Cuthbert-Emon

Boys Black Team
Most valuable player: Mekonnen Sahle-Salassi
Most improved player: Paget Kellogg
Cougar Award for sportsmanship: Billy Hunter

Boys A Team
Most valuable player: Ahmed Ezzaki
Most improved player: Tierney Smith
Cougar Award for sportsmanship: Nick Oxnam

Girls A Team
Most valuable player: McKenna Duncan
Most improved player: Caroline Nagel
Cougar Award for sportsmanship: Brielle Tyler

Girls B Team
Most valuable player: Joanna Riley
Most improved player: Isabella Taylor
Cougar Award for sportsmanship: Sydney Johnson

Good Stuff: The Country School to Receive $250,000 Grant from Zaffere Foundation

The Country School received a generous contribution this week from the Philip A. Zaffere Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for children of significant need. Mr. Zaffere, a Federalsburg native and owner of Zaffere’s Bakery, which became Shoreman Food Technologies, passed away in January of 2016 and left a legacy built on lifelong learning, a love of animals and nature, and a deep commitment to his family and friends. His foundation gifted The Country School $100,000 and will contribute an additional $150,000 within the next 5 years.

The fund will be invested to produce income to be used toward tuition for a child who has demonstrated significant need and who exhibits the same qualities possessed by Mr. Zaffere: a deep curiosity for the sciences, a natural creativity, and an appreciation for the wonders of nature. This award will also recognize the value of diversity of all kinds.

Realizing that his small family bakery could survive only by creating new products and innovative baking processes, Zaffere began experimenting with making a crumb product. He developed and refined the formula, and designed ovens and other equipment to produce a consistently high quality product, which General Foods used in Stove Top stuffing mix. At one time the Federalsburg plant was producing all the crumb for Stove Top as well as breading for Mrs. Paul’s frozen products. One newspaper article dubbed him the “Crumb King.”

Family members and friends remember him as a shrewd businessman who also possessed a playful, mischievous quality. A loyal, compassionate, and generous friend, Zaffere recognized and cared about the needs of others, and worked quietly to meet them however he could. He faithfully visited friends and family who were ill or shut-ins, and even put his college career on hold to take over the family bakery when his father died.

Although the sale of his business left him with significant assets that enabled him to establish his foundation, Mr. Zaffere never lost touch with the ethic of hard work, determination, and persistence developed in his youth. As one whose own college education was never completed, but whose curiosity and thirst for information never ended, he valued education and fine schools highly. It is with these tenets in mind that the Philip A. Zaffere Scholarship Fund was born at The Country School. Zaffere’s nephew, John Orban, was the director of technology for 15 years; John’s wife, Cindy, is the school’s librarian and diversity director. Their sons are alumni of The Country School, as are John’s two sisters.

“Although Uncle Philip never had children of his own, he was deeply interested in quality education for all children. With this scholarship fund, families who share his commitment to education but whose significant need could not be met through standard financial aid, will

be able to make a Country School education possible for their children. I can imagine nothing which would please him more.”

Mid-Shore Education: The Country School’s Plans for Goldsborough Street with Justin Nonemaker

Even when you take into account the long history and great affection that Talbot County has for the Country School, it is an incredibly daunting task for any small private school to raise enough capital to dramatically change their campus’ physical plant, add new classroom space, and redesign their parking and student pick up zones, mainly when it needs to happen all at the same time.

That certainly is the case for the K-8 school on Goldsborough Street as board members, parents, and staff work their way to the finish line of an almost $10 million fundraising campaign.

And the person that is the most responsible for the successful execution of this effort campaign is Justin Nonemaker, chair of the Board of Trustees at the school, Country School parent, and co-founding partner of ShoreGate Partners in Easton.

The Spy talked to Justin a few weeks ago to hear more about their plans, their early success the campaign has had to date with $7.6 million raised, and the long-term impact for the school community and for the streetscape on Goldsborough.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information on the Country School please go here

Profiles in Education: The Country School with Neil Mufson

Country School headmaster Neil Mufson, with a 27-year tenure in that position, has approximately 17 more years to go before he matches the record of his predecessor, headmistress Dorothy Startt, in running the kindergarten to eighth-grade private school in Easton. And while he is never indicated this has been his goal, he did from the very beginning of his appointment want to continue and maintain the high standards that Ms. Startt instilled in the small preparatory school where the relationship between student and teacher, as well as younger student and older student, continues to be one of the primary values and mission of the Country School.

Starting 82 years ago, the Country School, and the parents that founded it, took inspiration from another school in Maryland, the Calvert School in Baltimore, as a model for their new undertaking in Talbot County. And while the relationship between the schools was never a formal one, there remains a strong legacy that encourages small classes, individual attention, and an appropriate level of challenge for each of its students.

The Spy spent some time talking to Neil not only the history of the Country School but how it is now preparing its students for a complicated world as they graduate and move into high school and beyond.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Country School please go here.

Country School Student Wins Prestigious Writing Award

Country School 5th grader Lauren Farley attended a celebration on Wednesday, April 27, for the World Artists Experiences writing contest winners. Around 30 students of all ages whose writing was chosen on the theme “The Extended Hands of Friendship” were recognized at the event.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.45.47 AMLauren’s story is called “Competitors, but Also Friends” and is about a new friend she made at a rival figure skating competition in 2015. She says, “It was fun to be able to incorporate the topic of friendship with my favorite sport of figure skating.”

Because World Artists Experiences seeks to promote cultural understanding, the celebration was held at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington DC, a property of the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman. “I enjoyed learning about Omani culture and meeting the other student writers,” says Lauren.

Lauren received two copies of the bound anthology of all the winning essays & poems—one for her and one for The Country School. The publication was presented to the winners by the Omani Ambassador to the U.S. and attendees were treated to music and snacks from the country of Oman. Dr. Michael Glaser, former Poet Laureate of Maryland, was the project director and editor for the volume.

“This was a wonderful experience for Lauren,” says her mother, Ann Farley. “We are thankful to The Country School and her teachers for all they do to encourage her in writing, and in life.”

The Country School Named 2016 Maryland Green School

The Country School is pleased to announce that it has been certified as a 2016 Maryland Green School by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). Maryland Green Schools are part of a national and international community of sustainable green schools.

Over the past two years, The Country School has demonstrated and documented a continuous effort to integrate sustainable environmental management practices, environmental education curriculum, professional development opportunities, and community engagement into our daily operations. This award signifies that our school has made a commitment to our students becoming better stewards of our Earth’s resources, developing a better understanding of their own local environment, and reducing the school’s impact on the environment.

The Maryland Green Schools program encourages educational opportunities for preK-12 schools that increase awareness and understanding of environmental relationships that impact public health and the local community. The program is aligned with Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement 2014 goals and supports Maryland State Department of Education graduation,“Students, teachers, school personnel, parents, and community partners are working together to create a positive and lasting environment at school. Their actions are essential to becoming a Maryland Green School,” says Laura Johnson Collard, MAEOE Executive Director.

Students are involved in projects that save energy, reduce waste, and other sustainable practices. Schools are also encouraged to use the school grounds as an extension of the classroom. Getting students outdoors is crucial for their connection with the environment.

“I am proud that the faculty and staff on our Green School Committee have successfully spearheaded the effort to educate and model for our students a respect for the environment,” said Headmaster Neil Mufson. “There have been significant school-wide behavioral changes that we have made that we hope will lead students to see environmental stewardship as MAEOE will celebrate with Green Schools, Green Centers, and schools that are interested in knowing more about the program at the Annual Maryland Green School Youth Summit on May 13, 2016, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

Country School Honor Students Named

The Country School would like to recognize and congratulate the following students on their achieving 2nd Term Honor Roll:

Effort Honors:

4th Grade:

Avery Andrews, Ava Berntsen, Macie Brock, Annaleise Darby-Donovan, Patrick Gallagher,

Sydney Johnson, Lydia Kelly, Rowan Larkin, Maeve Mufson, Kate Porter, Finnley Pritchett, Tyler

Rardin, Joanna Riley, Ava Runz, Arielle Tyler

5th Grade:

Madilyn Algier, Julian Bauer, Katherine Booth, Kate Campbell, Will Donald, Lauren Farley,

Catherine Hansen, Billy Hunter, Emma Rose Judd, Paget Kellogg, Brae Kilmon, Heath Kelsey,

Garrett Lang, Casey O’Donnell, Isabel Paris, Dean Serino, Mekonnen Shale Selassie, Finn

Theeke, Ella Thomas, Brielle Tyler, Luke VanEmburgh, Yasmin Wells

6th Grade:

Joshua Campbell, Hailey Orellana-Reyes, Fletcher Parsons, Taylor Potter

7th Grade:

Reagan Bradley, Arianna Campi, Kelsey Holt, Emily Ryon, Isabelle VanEmburgh

8th Grade:

Lily Judd

Academic Honors:

6th Grade:

Schuyler Brumbaugh, Will Burgess, Gracie Callahan, Chillian Cuthbert-Emon, Ahmed Ezzaki,

John Hill

7th Grade:

Zack Anderson, Tucker Andrews, Lily Berntsen, Henry Booth, Jasper Hood, Jack O’Donnell,

Anna Roser, Mya Troshinsky

8th Grade:

Will Newberg, Jack Riley

Effort and Academic Honors:

6th Grade:

Jack Dukehart, McKenna Duncan, Jill Esterson, Kate Esterson, Nina Friedman, Jobe Hause,

Colin Lang, Ben McCalmon, Caroline Nagel, Nicholas Oxnam, Mariana Parkinson, Tommy

Quick, Sean Riley, Nicholas Scribner, Grace Serino, Zachary Spofford

7th Grade:

Sam Bishop, Giselle Harris, Olivia Hershey, Madison Norris, Adison Parish, Lydia Periconi,

Greta Schneider

8th Grade:

Tyler Christianson, Alayah Copper, Gardner Edgell, Lilly Evans, Anna Ewing, Callan Godlee,Tyler Hanna, Tara Hertelendy, Jane Hill, Asa Nestlehutt, Thomas Wu

Effort and High Academic Honors:

6th Grade:

Sofia Angarita

7th Grade:

Zadoc Bond, Arden Dukehart, Gigi Friedman, Sydney Nittle, Reid Roach, Heleah Soulati

8th Grade:

Rex Nagel, James Parkinson, Maggie Quick

High Academic Honors:

6th Grade:

Michaela Darby-Donovan

Country School Appoints New Lower School Head

Kitty DavisThe Country School is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Lower School Head, Kitty Davis. Davis will succeed Susie Wheeler, current Lower School Head, who will retire at the end of this school year. Wheeler joined The Country School in 1987 as a tutor and was appointed Lower School Head in 1991. She has devoted 25 years to guiding The Country School’s curriculum for kindergarten through grade 4 with a balanced focus on age-appropriate academic challenge, social-emotional health, and overall wellbeing for the school’s youngest students.

Kitty Davis is currently Assistant Lower School Head of Early Childhood Education at Roland Park Country School, a girls’ day school and coed preschool in Baltimore. During the search process, Country School Headmaster Neil Mufson reviewed 55 applications and invited 6 candidates for day-long visits, during which they had interviews with parent, student, trustee, and faculty advisory committees, in addition to the administrative team. Davis quickly made an overwhelmingly positive impression on each group.

“The Country School is truly fortunate to have found Kitty Davis to head our Lower School,” said Mufson. “Her warm and compassionate nature, matched with her focus on truly knowing the children and encouraging joy in learning, makes her an ideal match for us. I feel confident that Kitty will seamlessly carry on the exceptional work that Susie Wheeler has done over the last 25 years.”

Davis has two sons, 23 and 20, and enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, and all thing Eastern Shore. The Country School staff are confident that she will soon become an indispensable addition to its faculty and to the Easton community.


The Country School and Others Team Up to Support Brain Tumor Research

Left to right: Darlene Jones, Gabe Loeser, Kim Lewers

Left to right: Darlene Jones, Gabe Loeser, Kim Lewers

The Country School presented a check on Monday to Darlene Jones after she ran the Richmond marathon to raise awareness for A Kid’s Brain Tumor Care campaign and in honor of her neighbor, third grader Gabriel Loeser, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014.

Country School P.E. teacher Kim Lewers promoted a “dress down day” for all students and asked that they bring in spare change to raise money for Jones’ campaign. Gabe’s third grade class counted every cent, which totaled $1,247.06.

For years, Jones has run the marathon to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. This year, she decided she would do it for brain tumor research, which is sorely underfunded—particularly the type of tumor Gabe has. And despite injuring both knees during the race, Jones crossed the finish line.

For his part, Gabe asked friends to donate to Jones’ campaign in lieu of gifts for his ninth birthday, raising more than $800.

“Gabe always has a smile on his face,” Jones says. “He has a big heart and is so considerate of others. It was an honor to run for such a worthy cause and an amazing young man.”


81st Opening Day Celebrated by The Country School

Headmaster Mufson greets 7th grader Ben Begley at the front door.

Headmaster Mufson greets 7th grader Ben Begley at the front door.

The Country School celebrated its 81st opening day of school on Tuesday, welcoming 282 students for the 2015-2016 school year. Continuing the school’s tradition, Headmaster Neil Mufson greeted each student with a handshake and encouragement to enjoy their first day. Mufson marks his 26th year at The Country School and looks forward to the unique challenges and excitement each new school year brings.

The Country School is a co-ed, K-8 day school, situated near downtown historic Easton. Established in 1934, the school’s history is rich with tradition, academic excellence, and students who truly enjoy coming to school.