Schools are busy places: GA, perhaps, one of the busiest. Teachers and students bustle briskly from engaging classes to the inspiring BCI, from shiny gymnasiums to lush, green athletic fields, from the cozy Lower School Assembly Area to the well-equipped Tinker Lab to the restful Nature Nook to the high energy playground. We design classes, attend meetings, make phone calls, and send emails. Lots of emails. We find many ways to be busy.
The Lower School office, filled throughout the day with teachers, youngsters, and their attentive parents, all in need of lunches, bus forms, appointments, and important messages - to be delivered asap- is perhaps the busiest spot of all…but, from the calm eye of the storm, comes the gentle voice of someone who knows that, no matter how busy our days, how full our schedules, education remains the business of human beings being human. She stops, turns her full attention to you, and asks, “How are you? How are the boys? Is your knee getting better?” And then she listens with an open heart to your answers. Only then will she ask, “Now, what can I do to help you?” And with a grace and ease acquired through ten thousand repetitions, Barbara Buckley 1760 will, in fact, help you. Assistant to the Head of Lower School, Barbara ~patience and loyalty, compassion personified ~ has for 32 years infused the Lower School with a spirit of kindness and civility, gentle humor, and a Patriot’s heart. No wonder she was honored with the Mission Award in 2017 for her collaborative and compassionate approach to all she does.
The range of Barbara’s duties is daunting. Answer the phone, keep the calendar, prepare the mailings, make appointments, deliver messages, direct visitors, accompany students to the nurse, listen to what is said and what is not, mop up vomitus, empty mouse traps…all with her warm and reassuring smile. She has seen it all and handled it all. She knows what is deep down important. Schools are about people and to Barbara people are always most important.
Optimistic and flexible, Barbara has ably managed the Lower School office under the direction of six unique Lower School Division Heads. She brings to her work, every single day, a natural inclination to support those in her sphere. Now, she tells us that it is time to move on, enjoy a different pace, and while we understand and support this decision, it is hard, if not impossible, to let her go. So by way of thanks and in honor of our dear friend, let us all commit to slow our busy-ness, ask, “How are you?” …and as Barbara would, with that open heart, genuinely listen to the reply.
Thank you, Barbara. We love you.
Maggie McVeigh 1760
Director of Professional Development
Barbara Buckley 1760
Tenure: 32 years
Positions Held at GA: Assistant to the Head of Lower School
- Distinguished Achievement Award 1992, 2001
- Dorothy Strauss Feigin Grandparent Award 2005
- Class of 1760
- Mission Award 2017
Why Barbara Stayed:
- I always enjoyed working with my Lower School colleagues and the students
- Standing in the Quad in boots and rainslicker, the rain pouring down, and the water level rising to the curb, long pole in hand, trying to unclog the Connor Quad drain. Dripping wet success!
Barbara is thankful for:
- The many meaningful relationships I have developed with teachers, staff members, students, and parents
Gifts to the Community:
- A deep understanding of what it means to be a school
- A loyal Patriot who embodies GA’s mission: compassion and collaboration
- A strong warp thread weaving together the work of six Lower School Heads
- The willingness to get her hands dirty doing the work
- A true school person who appreciates the power of laughter
- A can-do attitude that inspires
- A beautiful lesson of gratitude even in adversity
What Rich will remember most about Barbara:
In a world of incessant, fast-paced communication via email, text, and social media, a few of us still prefer the old-fashioned way – the personal ‘drop-in’ or the almost extinct hand-written thank you note. How grateful am I that Barbara Buckley always takes the time to create the personal connection, to go the extra mile, and to share feelings not just on a screen. Barbara is an administrative chameleon, perfectly able to adjust to the needs of an enormously wide range of division heads, teachers, parents and students, always with a smile, always with an admirable ‘can do’ attitude.
Most of GA’s members of the Class of 1760, our honorary alumni class, are understandably teachers – the people who spend the most time with our students, day after day, year after year. That GA’s community and our Alumni Society Board made the wise decision to induct Barbara into this esteemed group says it all. Regardless of which teacher you had or which division head was currently in charge, Barbara was the constant – and such a consistently kind constant at that. Lost mittens? She would tear the building apart to help you find them. Need to change your bus plans for the third time today? No problem, we will make sure your child gets to the right place at the right time.
Even in her final year at the Academy, Barbara remains true to self in every way. After being uprooted for the entire summer of 2018 while Lower School projects were completed, she moved into her new space before the finishing touches were even begun. And by finishing touches, I also mean lights. It was dark. There Barbara was, hunched over a computer, adjusting, chameleon-like, to the situation, never complaining. Honestly I’m not sure she thought additional lighting was ever going to appear, but she persevered nonetheless, smiling, responding to the rushed installment of a sad old floor lamp the way you or I might have to, let’s say, winning a big prize on a national game show. You would have thought it was the best thing to ever happen to her. No, Barbara, it’s the other way around – you were the best thing to happen to us. Thank you, always.
- “How are you doing?”
- “How can I help you?”
Next Page of Life:
- I plan to do charitable work ~ perhaps listening to those who need an ear and advocating for children and grandparents. We shall see.
What Barbara Will Miss Most:
- My daily interactions with my colleagues
to share a memory with Barbara
to make a gift to the Annual Fund in honor of Barbara