Kassandra Humberson '08 and Tracy Valenty Recognized for Teaching Excellence

Kassandra Humberson '08 and Tracy Valenty Recognized for Teaching Excellence

Each year, Winchester Thurston School Faculty are recognized for teaching excellence. 

Congratulations to Kassandra Humberson '08, the 2021 recipient of the Judy Apt Nathenson Memorial Chair for Excellence in Elementary Education, and Tracy Valenty, the 2021 recipient of the Jane L. Scarborough Award for Teaching Excellence.

Judy Apt Nathenson Memorial Chair for Excellence in Elementary Education: Kassandra Humberson '08

Director of Lower School Nancy Rogers presented the award to Humberson, who is both a WT alumna and the Lower School Dance Teacher, at the 2021 Lower School Moving Up Ceremony.

"This year, we chose a teacher who, despite the many challenges and often difficult situations we were faced with, was a helpful, cheerful, and energetic colleague who infused energy wherever she went, always looking at the silver lining. I am honored to announce that the 2020-2021 recipient is Kassandra Humberson," declared Rogers.

Kassandra Humberson '08 (center) with her parents

The Judy Apt Nathenson Memorial Chair for Excellence in Elementary Education was established in memory of Judy Apt Nathenson, a 1969 graduate of Winchester Thurston School and Kindergarten teacher who sadly passed away in 2000. Judy vigorously championed the importance of early childhood education at Winchester Thurston School and throughout the Pittsburgh community. Utilizing the proceeds from a special endowment fund in Judy's memory, the Chair has the privilege and responsibility of shaping professional development activities for the next school year.

Jane L. Scarborough Award for Teaching Excellence: Tracy Valenty

Head of School Dr. Scott D. Fech and the 2020 recipient of the Scarborough Award, Lower School Third Grade Teacher Connie Martin, presented the award to Valenty at the final All-Employee meeting of the school year. Valenty was chosen by a committee comprised of faculty members, students, and members of the Board of Trustees who received nomination letters from faculty, students, and former students.

At the presentation, Valenty was celebrated for creating a welcoming and accepting space in her classroom, allowing students to be who they are and become who they want to be, for her dedication to a curriculum of discovery, and for establishing the Science Olympiad at WT. "In the words of your students," shared Martin, "You have created 'a strong and robust batch of science competitors' and 'a community of learners who seek excellence in their work and who can feel safe and supported while taking on challenging content and experiences."

Tracy Valenty (L) and Connie Martin (R)


The Scarborough Award is given by the Board of Trustees to a returning member of the faculty who is making an exemplary contribution to teaching by demonstrating a strong professional commitment to the Winchester Thurston community, respects the uniqueness of the individual, values intellectual inquiry and mastery as well as intellectual honesty and humility, models for others the frustration and excitement of learning and the exhilaration of discovery, and views the experience of teaching as an opportunity to remain a lifelong learner.