With the end of 2021-2022 school year, Jennifer Elliott ’94, Assistant Head of School for Residential Life and Dean of Students, will leave Andover to serve as Choate Rosemary Hall’s new Head of Student and Academic Life. Elliott has been part of Andover’s community for 12 years in coaching the Girls Squash team, serving as a house counselor, teaching students in the classroom, or playing another of her various roles in the Andover community.
Elliott reflected on her experiences and shared gratitude for her times at Andover, both with and for the students and faculty members.
“I have loved, loved, loved the opportunity to be able to work with students as much as possible. And when my job allows me to spend time with them, those are my favorite days, or parts of my day. I’ve also made really amazing friends and [have] been able to work with some of my most favorite teachers from when I was a student here. And it’s been awesome to now get to work with some of my former students who are now back as colleagues. I just feel very, very grateful,” said Elliott.
Having served as an instructor in History and Social Science, Elliott noted that seeing her students grow through challenges and work alongside instructors was of the most rewarding experiences as an instructor.
Elliott said, “I’m really grateful that I’m able to work in a department and in a subject where the content is endlessly fascinating to me and be able to work with teachers who always are pushing me to be better, and that my best, most favorite moments are when I get to see a student really work through challenges and really, really think about how to improve in areas that feel hard. I’ve loved being able to teach history, and I’ve loved the moments and stretches of time with kids in that context.”
Claudia Scofield, Dean of Students, has worked with Elliott since she began working at Andover in the fall of 2010. Scofield recounted her times with Elliott, describing the compassion and thoughtfulness she saw in her involvement in the community. According to Scofield, Elliott always sought improvements at Andover, being engaged with various communities and approaching conflicts with her unique vision.
“I think Ms. Elliott is one of the most kind, thoughtful, caring, compassionate people I know. And every interaction with people, I think she comes from that perspective. She’s very smart. She’s got great vision, she can see the big picture, and I think students’ best interests are always her top priority,” said Scofield.
Scofield added, “She is always very willing to hear other people’s perspectives and have compassionate, fruitful dialogue on what to do. She always, always comes from a point of making it the best for everybody. You always get that feeling from her, always, you know, when she’s trying to place house counselors in dorms, or whether they’re working on housing for students or it’s improving the EBI [Empathy Balance and Inclusion] program.”
According to Elliott, the last few years in the advent of Covid-19 have forced her to approach matters through different angles. Elliott reflected on how her understanding of achieving community progress deepened throughout her tenure.
“I have learned that progress takes a lot of deliberate work and [is] best when it comes about in a collaborative way. And to really think with care, and probably sometimes more slowly than I tend to, about how changes affect all members of a community. I’ve also learned that as long as we put ourselves in places where we can keep learning, we have the potential to get better. And so that felt really important to me,” said Elliott.
Zadia Rutty-Turner ’23, a member of Elliott’s advising group, expressed gratitude towards Elliott for the support she had given her. According to Rutty-Turner, Elliott’s role as an advisor served her more than just as a motivational figure, but as a reliable support system throughout the year.
“[Elliott] really provided me with a sense of focus and a lot of motivation, so I knew what I needed to do, and when I needed to do it. I think that sometimes once I get frustrated, I tend to give up, but she was always that person that was there to tell me, ‘Keep on going. You’ll get through this eventually,’ just constantly providing support. I really don’t think I would have had the same experience this year without her,” said Rutty-Turner.
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