REMARKS BY HEAD OF SCHOOL DARRYL J. FORD
Darryl J. Ford introduced Dana Toedtman as she received the Honorary 1689 Award.
Dana Toedtman began her long association with Penn Charter 30 years ago as a consultant to the school. A gifted reading specialist, Dana worked in many capacities. In her early days, she served as an outside tutor, worked as our learning specialist in the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools, and, for many years, led our learning support team. Over the years, Dana’s employment increased to full-time and so did her work. Dana has read more educational testing reports and written more student profiles than humanly is possible. She analyzed ERBs, administered reading inventories, coordinated summer tutors, and worked in our summer enrichment programs to help new students transition to Penn Charter. Dana led book discussions, wrote for PCPD, our professional development newsletter, and supported students and their families on their journeys to understand learning styles and learning differences. While Dana herself may have been driven to distraction by the students and parents with whom she has worked, she introduced us to Mel Levine’s Driven to Distraction, Yardsticks, and many other seminal texts about learning differences.
Dana’s job at Penn Charter was to do the impossible. Singlehandedly, she was to rescue students who were not finding academic success and help them to turn around their academic performance after an advisor, five or six other teachers, a school director and parents had failed in this task. As super woman, Dana did just this. In addition to saving students (and their parents), Dana often saved us – her peers. She exhibited remarkable grace and a penchant for showing up just at the right time when her colleagues needed her most. Dana might cook you a meal, bake you some bread, write an encouraging note or present a gift at the exact right moment of need. Just as she gave professionally to our students, she gave personally to her colleagues, and all of us became her friend.
Dana, it is our privilege to count you as friend extraordinaire. For your work with students, enduring presence to us – your peers – and all that you have done to support excellence at the William Penn Charter School, we honor you and thank you tonight on the occasion of your receiving the 1689 honorary degree.