Avon Old Farms School began hiring "progressive teachers who trained a student to 'seek knowledge and establish facts for himself'" in 1927 – a tradition that remains strong today.
SANDRA KATZ (2003)
About Ms. Barzun
I’ve lived in Connecticut since 1996, but if anyone asks me where I’m from, I’ll still always say Massachusetts. Growing up outside of Boston among the apple trees and the rolling hills instilled in me such a native sense of home that I will always be from there. And as a die-hard Boston sports fan, with season tickets to the Patriots games, and the ability to explain, complete with charts, diagrams, and chemical experiments, why footballs will naturally deflate on cold, rainy nights, I’ve never quite been comfortable with Connecticut split Boston/New York fan-base.
What experience led you to Avon Old Farms School?
I have taught at a variety of levels beginning as an adjunct professor during my Master’s Degree program at Trinity College. I then added in teaching night classes to adult students at a community college. In 2005, I began teaching at Miss Porter’s School. Having gone to an all-girls middle school, I already appreciated the value of single-sex education, and I developed my appreciation for and joy in teaching high school students at that time. Finally, after 4 years teaching all-girls, I decided to head 5 miles down the road and see how I felt about teaching all-boys. Eight years later, I’m happily still here. I live on campus, in a dorm, with my husband, Brian, my step-daughter, Madison, Miss Porter’s School ‘18, and my 13-year-old Border Collie, Tess, who is smarter than all of us.
Why do you teach at Avon Old Farms School?
I’ve had the privilege of attending independent schools for most of my education. In fourth grade, I started at an all-girls independent day school in Concord, MA. In that environment, I found my voice, my independence, and my sense of self as a student safe from the social distractions having boys in the classroom would have provided. From there, I attended another exceptional independent school where I learned how to critically think, problem solve, and discover and defend my own opinions. I value that school for giving me all the skills I would ever need to be a successful learner. As Avon’s mission promises, our school strives to develop those same skills in our boys. We ensure that our graduates will depart Avon Old Farms School as good young men who are a credit to their communities and positively contribute to society. At Avon, along with the academic disciplines, the boys also learn empathy, resilience, kindness, respect for themselves and others, and a deep and abiding sense of personal honor. The mission promises that, the faculty teach with that goal in mind, and the boys lean into that. What I experienced at the independent schools I attended I see happening at Avon, and I’m inspired every day as a result.