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)
M.A.L.S., Wesleyan University
About Mr. Cugell
I grew up in Madison, CT attending Daniel Hand High School where I met my future wife, Morgan. We both attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where I graduated with a double major in 2004. I have worked with children since I was a teenager, mainly at the Bushy Hill Nature Center in Ivoryton, CT where I taught nature appreciation and wilderness skills. I was recommended to Avon Old Farms by a former classmate and soccer teammate who attended the school and served as vice-warden and I absolutely fell in love with the campus and its inhabitants.
What experience led you to Avon Old Farms School?
I have served Avon Old Farms since 2004, teaching in both the Foreign Language and History Departments. Upon my appointment to the land of the Winged Beavers, I began my Master's Program at Wesleyan University, graduating with a focus in history in 2010. I have been since honored to receive the Kenneth Fanning Faculty Award in 2010. Additionally, since 2011 I have served as Co-Director of Summer Programs, liaising between the school and vendor programs making use of our campus during the summer months. Currently, I am teaching all sections of AP US History in the History Department. In the fall, I work with the soccer program and I am the head dormitory master in Brown Dormitory.
Why do you teach at Avon Old Farms School?
Aside from the big-picture mission of any student graduating from Avon Old Farms, my goal as an educator is to encourage my students to think critically and ask questions to seek the truth. Learning to ask the right questions can be an incredibly powerful weapon in a student's mental arsenal. I love when my students ask "Why?," but maybe more importantly, I love when they ask "Why not?" My job is to build a rapport with that boy. If I can bridge the gap between us, and foster in him a desire to learn and to act industriously, my student will succeed and I will achieve my goal, too!