Blake teachers in Nashville

Blake congratulates its faculty members who have been recognized for their contributions to the school with a summer grant or sabbatical to support their ongoing professional growth.

Donaldson Sabbatical 2023-24

In spring 2024, Middle School instrumental music teacher Amir Kats will travel to Israel to explore some of the myriad musical traditions of the Middle East, including Ashkenazi Jewish, Mizrahi Jewish, African Jewish, Moslem Arab, Christian Arab, Druze and Circassian music. Upon his return, Kats will arrange some of the melodies he discovers for performance by school-level ensembles (band, orchestra, chorus), both at Blake and elsewhere.

Plank Scholars Fund

Lower School PE teacher Charlie Cracraft and Middle School math teacher Heather Cracraft traveled to South Korea for immersion in Korean culture. Their visit included historical and cultural sites such as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, Jongmyo Shrine, The War Memorial of Korea, Grand Palaces, Haenyeo Museum, Seoul, Suji-gu Yongin-si Gyeonggi-do, Jeu-Jeu Island and Busan. 

Joe Druskin, Lower School engineering and programming, traveled to Scotland to learn about architectural engineering, deepening his understanding of how people have historically harnessed natural resources in sustainable ways.

Upper School Mandarin Chinese teacher Lina Jin will travel to China in summer 2025 to experience, interact and observe the language, customs, culture and dance as she continues to build a culturally conscious curriculum.

Peter Kruize, Middle School computer science teacher, traveled to Rome, Italy, where he studied cornerstone historical landmarks and monuments with the goal of incorporating their cultural and educational significance in math classes through daily warm-ups and a new project focused on modeling using 3D geometry.

Upper School social studies teacher Mackenzie McIlmail traveled to Warsaw, Poland to attend the Jewish Community Relations Council's Educator European Summer Institute. The program provides teachers with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of World War II and the Holocaust. 

Claudia Urbina, Lower School Spanish, attended a five-week course at the Universidad de Salamanca to extend her knowledge in the field of the Spanish language, the Hispanic cultures and the methodology of the teaching of Spanish as a second language.

Middle School science teacher Joe Xiong visited Thailand to immerse himself in Thai culture and build a deeper connection to his Hmong heritage.

Hersey Summer Sabbatical

Janel Rieger, Lower School engineering and programming, attended the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute in New Hampshire to work in conjunction with Reggio Emilia educators from Italy.

Lyons History Fund

Elaine Hove (Lower School teacher librarian), Sara Lukkasson (Lower School music teacher) and Kamie Page (fifth grade teacher) studied the impact of the African diaspora on American music by visiting the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee.  They were joined by fifth grade teachers Beth Daniel, Christina Evans and Susie Jessop, who were supported by other professional development budgets.