Reno’s Northwood Faculty Hall of Fame
Roger Loud is a special teacher and person. For most of the last thirty years, he anchored our math department, teaching calculus with a blend of wit and gravity, urgency and patience that marks the best instructors. As a colleague, he embodied similar seeming paradoxes: few words and much meaning, critical observation that seldom led to the expression of critical observations. No one spoke less in faculty meetings; no one’s comments were more respected.
Before he came to Northwood, Roger had served North Country School as its head with distinction. He earned local renown as a square dance caller, poker player and crossword solver. He climbed each of the Adirondacks 4000-foot peaks multiple times.
It was always a treat to call Roger when landlines had answering machines. “This is the Loud Machine. If you left your ballet outfit here, press 22. If you would like to golf, press 4.” His short speech before announcing the graduates at commencement was always the highlight of the ceremony; the class of “Oh Nein” had a particularly memorable introduction.
I asked Roger how he kept calculus interesting. He passed on his teaching credos:
- Be the first to enter the classroom. Do more teaching by questions rather than handing out information.
- Find something safe to throw at sleepers now that there is no more chalk. (There weren’t many sleepers, too much of a risk that you would miss one of his zingers.)
- One favorite gimmick: handing back AP Calc tests that scored below eighty stapled to MacDonald’s employment applications. (Pretty much every year though, his AP Calculus test average led the results among our faculty.)
While those in his classes can attest to the aforementioned practices, they would also point out that much of his success came from the endless hours he spent offering extra help at a dining room table during his free periods. No one on our faculty was more committed to helping all students achieve their best.
Roger’s wit was marked by its succinctness and his collegiality by its ubiquity. May this essay, as brief as it is, do him proper honor.
In her fifteen years at Northwood, Marcy Fagan’s boundless enthusiasm has been evident in her roles as an innovative, first-rate classroom teacher, knowledgeable, confidence-building presence on the ski slopes, leader of countless expeditions and adventures with students in our six-million-acre Adirondack amusement park, and the faculty’s cheery liaison to the social life of Lake Placid.
Marcy has been a dynamic teacher in a variety of science courses, knowing that sensory connection with the subject matter beats a textbook explanation or lecture any day. Her courses have a venturesome but disciplined vitality. She begins each year taking her students up Cobble so they may learn about the formation of the Adirondack dome. They learn what it means to be a 46er. She brings them rock climbing, ice climbing, x country skiing. During the unit on mass wasting and avalanche, the kids work with a forest ranger who teaches about avalanches and sets up a mock avalanche. The kids use beacons, probes and shovels to find the staged “victim.” In the spring, the classes go cliff jumping at the flume in Wilmington to experience whitewater and observe features of a youthful river. There is even a scenic flight above High Peaks to observe rockslides, rivers, waterfalls, and the alpine summits, and Hanging Spear Falls, where the Hudson River starts. Her ability to pass on her sense of wonderment makes her a great teacher.
It is, in large part her indefatigable commitment to our L.E.A.P program that has made it one of our signature and most beloved programs. Marcy’s vision has made possible incredibly enriching exploratory encounters for our students: trips to Iceland and Africa, the art, music, and biomechanics of the modern circus, ballet and Balanchine, woodworking, the Adirondack farm to table culinary experience, and more. The program has Marcy’s stamp on all its virtues; it offers active learning, unfamiliar territory, collaborative effort, and an emphasis on what learning should be – fun.
Unquestionably, Marcy has enriched our academic and extracurricular offerings. Just as importantly, every day she makes Northwood a happier, warmer place to be.