Legacy Society Profile: Jane C. Shipp
Mrs. Shipp recognized Renbrook’s rare atmosphere on her first visit. Coming up the drive (“It takes your breath away!”), she noticed the embracing arms of the courtyard and soon came to feel that they embodied the open-armed feeling of the school. “Renbrook is a warm-hearted school,” she says. “And it’s defined by its people. What I’ve missed most since I retired is working with good people in a good cause for a common goal, the growth of young children. Everyone at Renbrook is a teacher.” Mrs. Shipp remembers the delight Mark Loether, the business manager, took in visiting the Beginning School and the way that Bill Kindl, Director of Operations enjoyed teaching Upper School students about the old building and its workings. She saw the whole staff as a team, hardworking, eager to do their best to bring out the best in our students. When the faculty feels supported in their work, children thrive, Mrs. Shipp asserts.
Creativity is a key characteristic of the school, according to Mrs. Shipp. “I loved to walk the school in chronological order, seeing the progression through the grades, hearing the creativity of teachers coming through every classroom door. It gave me a chance to see and hear the increasingly complex intellectual challenges and the students’ growing confidence over 12 years.” She saw students developing resilience because they felt safe and supported. She believes that Renbrook prepares children for an uncertain world by giving them “the resilience to recognize opportunity and seize it.”
Mrs. Shipp also describes civility, courtesy combined with a sense of humor, as endemic at Renbrook. She remembers “a sense of whimsy, a fun-loving tone” as children and adults went about teaching and learning. The respect with which all are treated at Renbrook contributes to the feeling of security that makes creative work possible and leads to growth.
Looking to the future, as school people do every day, Mrs. Shipp feels it’s vital to support a place that sustains its people and provides for growth as Renbrook does. “Look around you,” she advises, “at what is meaningful and has lasting value. What part did the school play in forming your character? What did Renbrook give your child, beyond times tables, proper grammar, and history dates; think also about the less measurable skills and attitudes that make such a difference in a life. Then give back.”
Mrs. Shipp’s rich legacy includes membership in the Legacy Society because, she says, “You can’t invest in anything better than a school, especially this school. I feel such gratitude for my Renbrook experience; it is a pleasure to be able to give something back to my beloved school.”