Two Webb educators share grant

Friday, August 10, 2018
Daiva Berzinskas

The middle school head and the director of international programs at The Webb School shared the 2017-2018 grant from the Jon Frere Fund for Faculty Development.

Tabetha Sullens of McMinnville used a portion of the grant in her work toward earning a doctorate in education at Vanderbilt University. Sullens is Middle School head and teaches Focus 6, which is reading, writing, study skills and technology. She also teaches online safety. Daiva Berzinskas of Bell Buckle used her share of the grant to teach English as a second language at LCC University, in Klaipeda, Lithuania, during the summer. Berzinskas teaches English Language Learner courses.

The Ed.D. in leadership and learning in organizations, which Sullens is seeking, was developed by faculty within Vanderbilt University's Peabody College. According to the program description, it is "designed for current and aspiring leaders, the curriculum bridges the divide between theory and practice, equipping students with relevant skills to lead organizational change."

Tabetha Sullens

"I aspire to become the most effective leader I can in the Webb School community," said Sullens. "Having just completed an Ed.S degree, I felt compelled to challenge myself further. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn alongside other school leaders, hospital CEOs, military leaders and more over the summer. The diverse group of students and colleagues challenge my thinking and help me expand my world view." She added, "I feel more prepared to direct the middle school in an ever-changing, technological and diverse society while holding on to The Webb School foundation of 'The Character of Home.' I look forward to further research which will benefit the Webb community, and I want to serve as an example of a lifelong learner to my students."

While teaching in Lithuania, Berzinskas also had students from Poland, Belarus, South Korea, Iraq, and Russia.

"The Frere Grant provided me with the opportunity to teach English as a second language abroad," she explained. "All teachers volunteered their time in order to keep student tuition low and to make English instruction accessible to students from those areas. The opportunity also provided me the chance to work with a diverse faculty of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) instructors from around the world. We were able to collaborate by sharing ideas and instructional methodology and created curricula that I am looking forward to using with my students here at Webb. I also served as a mentor for college students completing the TESOL program at the university. Finally, personally, it provided me the opportunity to experience living in Lithuania. Experiencing my heritage first-hand was incredible."

The Webb School is a private preparatory school located in Bell Buckle, with both boarding and day students.

The Frere fund, which is designed to defray the cost of enrichment opportunities for returning Webb instructors through subsidizing an educational experience, was endowed by The James R. Meadows Foundation in 2014. It's named for Jon Frere, a former Webb headmaster (the position now known as head of school).