A gifted teacher is one who keeps learning. A talented administrator is one who knows what is going on in the present while simultaneously imagining the future. Leigh Mansberg combines these attributes in a remarkable capacity for vision. She has been able to apply this talent from success to success at St. Mary's for twenty years.
In Leigh's first career at St. Mary's, she energetically taught students for fifteen years while navigating her department from the revered tome into the world of contemporary literature, including women authors. She innovated the curriculum, all the while raising the next generation of writers who fiercely defend the English language. As department chair, she championed the scope and skills of teaching, upholding the best traditions and envisioning new programs.
In her second career as assistant head, she embraced and taught the whole school. She taught us to be safe, to be smart, to be healthy, and to be responsive to our community. Because of her drive and entrepreneurship, we learned how to compete to be unique and to celebrate #SoStMarys. She is always teaching: she teaches teachers, advises administrators and trustees, and mentors young teachers—even the ones we don't hire.
Leigh's impact is from generation to generation, or what she taught me to call: l'dor v'dor. It is fitting, therefore, that this award is in many ways also from generation to generation.
The highest award at St. Mary's for a teacher is traditionally called the gold cross—but the gift is not always a cross, including on the occasion when her mother-in-law received the honor in 1984. This extended St. Mary's family includes two other St. Mary's teachers, a husband who earned a St. Mary's Bachelor of Rhymes, one recent graduate, and one daughter who will become a graduate today.It is altogether appropriate that the gift recognizing the school's highest award this year is an heirloom school pendant from a previous generation.