Every year, Blake recognizes a faculty member who has taken the time to give of themself to students in a special way — as mentor, confidant, tutor, or friend — and a staff member who has gone above and beyond in their role at Blake. This year the school also named two honorary award recipients.

The 2020 Juliet Nelson Award goes to second grade teacher David Burton. Here are a few of the sentiments expressed in nominations for David:

  • David Burton faculty award Juliet Nelson Award
    He encourages each of his students to embrace the things that make them special.
  • He has a magical way of teaching kids that captivates and inspires them to learn while having fun.
  • One of David’s great mantras is  "Practice doesn't make perfect, but it makes you better.

The 2020 Staff Recognition Award goes to Upper School security officer Craig Rawls. Here are some comments from the nominations for Craig:

  • Craig Rawls staff award
    Few members of the Blake community have had as much of a positive impact on the spirit of the Upper School as Craig. Gregarious, generous, compassionate, toxically upbeat, he made friends with everyone in the school almost instantly.  
  • Craig regularly checks in with students who literally hang all over the entryway just to talk to him and enjoy the lift he gives them. He is a wonderful human being.  
  • He makes sure that everyone smiles at least once before heading to class.
  • Craig characterizes community at its very best.

This year, we are also giving an Honorary Juliet Nelson Award to Upper School math teacher Ryan Mahoney, who died at the beginning of the school year after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Here are a few reflections on Ryan:

  • Blake faculty award honorary Juliet Nelson Award
    He left Blake a better place for having been a member of it. In his roles as teacher, colleague and friend, he will forever be a part of us.
  • Selfless, funny, engaged and engaging, Ryan inspired students to think of themselves as mathematicians, to tackle complex questions and to study deeply.
  • Ryan’s legacy of joy, scholarship and care continues to resonate in the lives of the many students and colleagues he inspired, both at Blake and beyond. 

An Honorary Staff Recognition Award goes to buildings and grounds lead engineer Rick Gunderson, who died in January following a stroke. Here are some comments from Rick’s nominations:

  • Rick Gunderson staff award honorary
    Rick impacted everyone in the community — and in Rick fashion — you never knew it.  He always had a smile on his face and was eager to jump in when he was called upon. 
  • He was a one of a kind. He would do anything for anyone, even if you just wanted to sit down and talk or if you had any questions about the school. He knew Blake like the back of his hand.
  • Rick had the respect of our whole department. He was one of the smartest people that I was ever lucky enough to work with.