Each Teacher Matters
At Canterbury School, each teacher matters.
We have about 120 total teaching faculty members, with an average of 15 years of teaching experience and 70 advanced degrees. With this many dynamic instructors and mentors, we can provide our students with a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. But, we offer much more than numbers and statistics.
Each teacher provides their students with effective and personalized instruction. They see each student as an individual with unique strengths, talents, challenges and dreams. They see each parent as a partner and collaborator in their students' education and development. Each teacher has a story to tell, and each teacher significantly contributes to the Canterbury School experience.
Read a few of their stories here.
Get acquainted with Beth Patterson! After 10 years teaching in Michigan, Ms. P was in search of a school that truly valued the roles art and music play in the development of children, both inside and outside the classroom. Canterbury was just the place for her and has been for 8 years.
"Hi, everyone! I’m Ms. P, and I’m a Vocal Music and Music Technology teacher for Grades 5 through 12. Each person has a chance to make their mark at Canterbury in a multitude of capacities. Students are encouraged to try different and new things, leading to the creation of a pure and sincere identity. And, these identities shape the school through rare mentorship opportunities. The stories continue to be written every day.
"I’m so lucky to be able to start with each Grade 5 student in choir and continue to work with them throughout their entire middle and high school career. Singers can participate in many exciting 'extras' like solo and ensemble opportunities, the musicals, community performances, and international travel. This leads to authentic skill building and personal development.
"The best thing about working at Canterbury is being part of a faculty that encourages learning, with an administration that puts trust and faith in our training and expertise. Match that with incredible students who are willing to take chances, and Canterbury can’t be beat. The divisions truly come together as one to provide the best experience for every child. The students are exceptional – compassionate, talented, caring, hardworking, driven and kind. They want to make the most of every second and consistently ask for more."
Meet Tom Meyer! Mr. Meyer joined Canterbury after teaching in both private and public schools in Chicago and northern Indiana. He’s been with us for 16 years and loves everything about the people.
"Hi, my name is Mr. Meyer, and I’m a Grade 2 teacher at Canterbury Lower School! I appreciate the positive reputation that Canterbury has developed in our community for providing a well-rounded and rigorous education. I really enjoy working with students who are around 8 years old. There’s a lot of natural enthusiasm for learning at this age, and it’s a year of tremendous change for the children. In particular, I look forward to observing the inevitable growth in self-control, responsibility, and independence.
"I enjoy the Canterbury students and their supportive families, as well as being part of a supportive faculty that invests an incredible amount of time and energy for the students and their families. I like that our school, being an independent school, is nimble and can make adjustments that improve the student experience. Also, I appreciate that arts and athletics are fully supported along with academics. Our 'Artist. Athlete. Scholar.' motto is important to me because it recognizes what is true about students – namely that kids learn in different ways and need all of these outlets to learn and express themselves.
"I like to tell parents that their child is an 'adult-in-training.' Mistakes are normal and perfection is not expected. Instead, our goal is to help each student learn from mistakes and grow academically, physically, socially, and spiritually. We care about the development of the whole child. There are many highly-motivated and high-achieving students at Canterbury. This is evidence of our students’ intrinsic love of learning. When a love of learning is combined with the many rich experiences of a Canterbury education, you wind up with thoughtful, caring, and well-rounded students."
Let us introduce Wendy Helmkamp! What started as a math tutoring job turned into a 19-year career with Canterbury School. Mrs. Helmkamp serves as Math Department Chair and Middle School Math Teacher. Read on to see how her love of math and the people of Canterbury creates the perfect sum.
"Hello, I’m Mrs. Helmkamp! I always enjoyed math because it was systematic and organized, and I knew when I was done. I liked the feeling of being able to finish a problem and the sense of satisfaction that went along with that. I enjoy teaching math because I like trying to get students to understand the 'why' of the processes.
"My favorite thing about Canterbury has always been the people – my colleagues, as well as my students and their families. This school is truly a team effort, and every single member of a team is important. I love to hear stories about how the school started and how everyone, including teachers, administrators, students and parents, all pitched in to make things happen. Hearing those stories makes me appreciate how special this place is.
"It’s the personal touch that makes Canterbury unique and valuable. The teachers are invested in what they’re teaching and making sure each student is known and able to learn. Canterbury teachers caringly push students in ways that many students would never be in another school. I also love that at Canterbury, students can be involved in so many ways. You can be in one or several sports, in the seasonal plays, and on the speech team – all at the same time!"
Meet Heather Gillian! Just four years ago, Mrs. Gillian was in search of a private school for her son and soon discovered that Canterbury would be a great fit – not just for him, but for her too! When given the opportunity to become a part of this incredible place, she "jumped at the opportunity" and started as a Kindergarten Prep teacher in the Early Childhood division.
"The atmosphere at Canterbury provides children with a joyful experience. The exciting signature units the children study at each grade level create an engaging experience. The school’s motto, 'Artist. Athlete. Scholar.' develops the whole child. Because of the small class size, it is easy for faculty to get to know each child. Attention is not on passing a state standardized test and teacher evaluation – it is on the success of each child and celebration of unique qualities. Through various projects, field studies, and performances, each child has opportunity to share unique abilities.
"I teach Kindergarten Prep (K-Prep), which is a program that is offered to students who have completed Junior Kindergarten and could benefit from an extra year of development before entering Kindergarten. I love all aspects of the K-Prep program. I love the organic way art, science, math, social studies, and literacy come together through an inquiry based approach. The curriculum allows for tremendous growth in self-confidence, inquiry, problem solving skills, self-regulation, communication, creative thinking, and stamina. Students are given the opportunity to apply problem solving and communication skills through open-ended play. The K-Prep student learns that art is all around us by studying various disciplines such as dance, architecture, theatre, painting, fashion design, photography, and culinary arts.
"Creativity, perseverance, and integrity are what make a Canterbury student stand out. Their level of kindness toward peers and respect for adults is quite admirable. These are the qualities we want to see in adults and it all starts here."