Tenure: 44 years
Positions Held at GA:
- Lower School teacher
- Middle School teacher and administrator
- Upper School teacher
- Assistant Dean of Faculty and Studies
- Director of Faculty Relations
- Assistant Head of Middle School
- Director of Professional Development
- Schoff Chair for Excellence in the Teaching of English
- Class of 1760
- Commencement Speaker
- Outstanding Teacher Awards
- Distinguished Achievement Award
Why Maggie Stayed:
- That’s a very good question. Why would anyone stay put for 44 years? GA has gifted me with the opportunity to do what I do well (usually): teach, write, speak, listen, and counsel…in all divisions of the school. I grew up in so many ways here at school, my children are who they are because I stayed…and my husband, too, was able to share his artistic talent with the GA Community. To be truthful, I have to admit, the commute was always a draw.
- After 44 years? Are you kidding?
- The royal blue I painted the cabinet doors in my first classroom. The glass display case, arranged to promote UNICEF. The first Sixth Grade Publishing Party…magic from beginning to end. Sam Jackson’s fountain pen always at the ready. Peter coaching 90 lb. football. Every day learning from Gwen how to teach with love and laughter. Jack Pickering announcing my marriage to Steve Kennedy at the opening faculty meeting, explaining that Steve had decided to “keep his own name.” Hickory Run, the speeding ticket, and the bears.
- Oh dear I’m still in the Lower School years.
- A standing ovation for a shy student, braving to recite her Romeo and Juliet monologue, first with tears, creeping each day towards the front of the room until the moment she turned and faced us all and delivered the Bard’s words flawlessly.
- Late afternoon venting sessions with Richard, laughing hard about almost everything.
- Moving to the Upper School and feeling brand new all over again.
- The Field House transformed into a holy space with light and flowers and music to honor and say goodbye to Peter.
- And of course, some memories hurt and are best left unshared, but know that they, too, are part of a tapestry woven over 44 years.
Maggie is thankful for:
- The rare collection of extraordinary educators I happened into at the very beginning who taught me what it means to be a teacher, who guided me and trusted me to be worthy of their time.
- The school’s willingness to change those traditions that limit our students.
- Colleagues and students who love to laugh and aren’t afraid to cry.
- The chance to work with my brother and know him as a teacher.
- The many, many colleagues who extended themselves to my children, persisting when necessary, to help them become the interesting and interested young men they are today.
- The many beautiful spaces in which I have worked and which have inspired my work with students and faculty.
- “How are you, Jason?” “Living the dream, Mag. Living the dream.” (Jason Straub 1760)
- “Maggie, ‘need’ is a very strong word.” (Charlie Landgrebe 1760)
- “Put a little bow in your hair.” (Kristen Donches 1760 quoting her Nona)
- “How long have you worked at GA, Ms. McVeigh?” “Forty-four years, Evan.” “Ms. McVeigh, that’s thorough.”
- “How can I know what I think till I see what I say?” (Ascribed to many)
- “Favorite meeting of the day!” (Rich Schellhas)
- “No, no. He’s my brother, not my husband!” (MMM)
Next Page of Life:
- Some people know exactly what they plan to do after they stop working at GA. Many just turn around, come back, and work at GA some more. My plans are nebulous; bits and pieces of ideas float through my head; I consider only those that allow me to slow down and pay attention. I might cuddle babies, collaborate with Steve on a children’s book, spend a whole day planning, shopping for, preparing, and eating a meal. Maybe I will finally become a Jungian analyst. I am curious to see, in fact, I welcome with an open heart, the surprise of the rest of my life.
What Maggie Will Miss Most:
- Much as I love my colleagues, and indeed I do, I will miss most the students, the genuinely incomprehensible range of personalities, interests, talents, and struggles our students carry with them into school each day. I will miss the announcement made breathlessly at my office door between classes, “Ms. McVeigh, I got an 87 on my history test. Thanks for helping.” I will miss the mental snapshot of kids laughing uproariously in the hallways while tucked in a corner a teacher and student lean towards each other in quiet conversation. I will miss the opportunity to make my colleagues laugh as we begin the school year, and I will miss all the kindness dotting our days, and weeks, and years. I will miss the thrill of stepping out of the cool administration wing into the bright sunlight to begin Commencement, and I will miss the long quad-curving line of handshakes and hugs which conclude the same event.
- I leave with such gratitude in my heart, and I know for certain I will miss the bone-deep familiarity of my home.