This Just In: Mr. Jaeger Now Permanent Director of Upper School

From building relationships with teachers to greeting people in the hallways, Mr. Kurt Jaeger, now permanent Director of the Providence Academy Upper School, made a great first impression in his first semester as the interim head of Upper School. Jaeger’s short term position was meant to be a bridge between Mrs. Harrington, former Director of Upper School, and a future face in the office, but Headmaster Dr. Todd Flanders announced in his “Headmaster’s Blog” on December 6, 2021, Jaeger’s position will now be permanent. 

Each day, Jaeger can be found talking with students in the atrium between classes and reading school announcements.

“Mr. Jaeger is such a great guy,” glowed Mrs. Kate Gregg, Upper School Administrative Assistant. “I have known him for years and have always had great respect for him. I was very excited to hear that he is now permanent.”

Jaeger could not be more qualified for his new role, given his long history at PA. He served as the Athletic Director for thirteen years and has taught in every division at the school. Jaeger has seen Providence through all of its changes and growth and even his family is deeply ingrained in the community. His children have studied at PA, and his wife, Mrs. Danette Jaeger, teaches third grade in the Lower School. 

“One of the best things about coming back to PA is reuniting past relationships as well as getting to know new faces,” exclaimed Jaeger. 

Jaeger is using his qualifications to make positive changes throughout the Upper School.  In his first semester as the Director, he began checking in with students in the hallways, talking to them at lunch, and communicating more with teachers. 

Mr. Jaeger stands with his 2001-2002 second grade class.

“My favorite aspect of Mr. Jaeger is his friendliness,” stated Olivia Menzel ‘22. “He always makes a point to ask me how my day is going.”

Jaeger’s important position at the school does not come without challenges. The spectrum of his responsibilities – from managing students and teachers to letting parents know that PA will be closing early due to snow – can seem daunting. But Jaeger accomplishes the tasks set before him with ease and compassion, and he cannot wait to see where his new job will take him. 

The PA community is very excited to see where Jaeger leads the Upper School; but one thing is for sure, it is in very good hands and its future is bright.

A Day in the Life of Mr. Jones

“From his energy to his cheerfulness, Mr. Jones is the best,” explained Macallister Clark ‘22, Providence Academy tuba player.

This sentiment is shared by many in the Providence community. Cheerful, caring, and highly competent are three ways to describe the Upper School Band Director, Thomas Jones. 

Mr. Jones assists Ms. Catherine Ratelle with the Upper School Choir during light blue period.

Since he started teaching at Providence nine years ago, Jones has had many different roles. Last year, he served as Middle School Band Assistant, as COVID spacing regulations required the band to be split in half. As a result, Jones taught half of the Middle Schoolers each day, while Middle School Band Director, Mrs. Nicole Clark taught the rest. Jones is also Upper School Choir Assistant this year, helping keep choir students engaged in the songs. He even teaches Lower Schoolers, giving individual lessons to fifth grade brass players on Wednesdays. 

In addition to these many responsibilities, Jones’s day is also filled with either lessons, monthly Aviation Club meetings, or weekly Upper School Jazz Band. In the afternoon, he will supervise his Upper School House Xi or Activity group depending on the day.  And after the 3:15 bell officially ends the school day, Mr. Jones will continue administering lessons or attending meetings. 

The bulk of Jones’s day consists of the individual music lessons. Every band student has the opportunity to meet with him for ten minutes a week. Because of this, Jones will administer anywhere from around nineteen to twenty-five lessons per day. Throughout the week he will teach at least ninety-five lessons. 

“I love working with each student individually,” glowed Jones. “It is so fun to see where each student is at in their musical journey and then be able to take that and comprise it into a band. It is the best part of my job.”

In between all the lessons, Jones gets to fulfill his main role of directing the Upper Symphonic Band for an hour. 

Mr. Jones teaches Gretta Martin ’22 a lesson after school.

“I love being a part of the Upper School Band,” articulated Gretta Martin ‘22, clarinet player. “Mr. Jones always has a positive attitude and makes every rehearsal memorable.”

Despite having an already full schedule, Jones still wants to do more. He likes working with the Symphonic Band so much he wishes he could have longer class periods. He also is advocating for a music course in which students could learn about all the different aspects of music as well as how it developed in different time periods.

No matter whether Jones is working with a student in a music lesson, conducting the band, or running the Aviation Club, the community can be sure that Jones will be on it with his usual energy and enthusiasm. 

Falling for the Fun Fair

From crazy hair to the cakewalk, Lower School students had an absolute blast this past Saturday at the annual Fall Fun Fair. This event, which spreads across three gyms, includes many different minute-to-win-it games where Lower Schoolers can win candy, toys, and cakes. Tickets open up the whole fair and all the games during this joyful day for Lower Schoolers and their families. Although typically advertised for the Lower School, this brings the entire PA community together for a day of amusing fall festivities.

Lower School Director Mrs. Nancy Galgano and her son running the bouncy house at the Fall Fun Fair.

There is something for everyone at the iconic celebration. Lower School students get to run around with their friends and partake in activities like bouncing in the bouncy house, sliding down the inflatable slide, or racing their friends through the blow up race course. Middle and Upper School students can volunteer to run different stations with friends. Volunteering allows them to develop important relationships with younger students. Lastly, parents get to make memories with their children while they enjoy the great day. 

“The Fall Fun Fair allows parents to have the opportunity to have conversations with other parents knowing their kids are entertained and kept busy,” expressed Lower School mother, Mrs. Jessie Bollig, who has run this event for two years now. “It really helps to build a stronger community all around.” 

Fifth Graders AJ Weiland and Henry Hilberg take a break from the day’s activities to pose for a quick picture before they run back to the Fair to enjoy more games.

Bollig was not the only one that enjoyed the beloved event. Lower schoolers zoomed across from one station to the another with their hands full of prizes and eyes wide trying to figure out what station to go to next. 

“I love the Fall Fun Fair,” articulated fifth grader Jake Shore. “You get to win free prizes!”

The young children could not get enough. Fifth grader Henry Hilberg partook in the festivities from start to finish, enjoying the time with his friends and winning prizes to bring home later.  

“My favorite part of the fair was the cakewalk,” remarked Hilberg. “You have the chance to win a whole free cake.”

Each year the PA community looks forward to the Fall Fun Fair.

Mrs. Meghan Milovich, a parent and teacher at PA, concluded, “The Lower School students are not only here at PA to learn but to also develop relationships with other students outside of school and the Fall Fun Fair is the perfect opportunity for this to take place.”

Reading into the School Year

Sitting, studying, and searching. What do all these words have in common? They are the key ingredients for having a great time in Mrs. Krista Wiederholt’s library. Although it was sad to see Mrs. Claire Commers leave, especially after nineteen years of being Providence Academy’s only librarian, it is always nice to welcome a new face. Wiederholt is following in Commers’ footsteps with her love of reading and fun new additions that help make reading a fun experience. 

Besides Mrs. Wiederholt, Allegory (a crocheted bookworm), is a new and welcome addition to the library.

Wiederholt has always loved going to the library and has always loved books. She believes her passion for books started with her grandma when she was very young. Wiederholt would lead story time with her at the public library in her hometown. She would even tag along with her grandma when she led story time at the nearby assisted living center. These early experiences cultivated her love of books now. 

Like her love for books, Wiederholt’s love for Providence isn’t new either.  As a PA parent with two daughters that have been attending for four years, she is not completely new to the PA community. In fact, Wiederholt remembers being impressed by the library when touring the school.

“One of the main reasons I wanted my children to go to PA was because of the library,” remarked Wiederholt.

When the librarian position became open, she reflected, “I just feel like it really spoke to me and was the right fit for me.” 

Along with a new face in the library, some fun new displays have also appeared, including a doll house, reading mats for individual reading time, and the saint book shelf. Young library goers are perhaps most excited about Allegory, a book worm that hides in a different spot every week and shows the children where they can find new books to read. 

“I love Allegory,” glowed Wells Martin ‘31. “It is always so exciting to read the clues and search for him each week.” 

Martin is not the only one who is enjoying the new additions to the library. The rest of the Lower School takes delight in the cozy atmosphere. 

“The children never want to leave,” stated fifth grade instructor Mrs. Beth Reopelle. “They love being read to, picking out a new book, and taking a break from the [rest of the school] day.” 

From hanging out with their friends to sitting in a comfy chair and reading their next favorite book, the library offers a variety of engaging activities for students of all ages, thanks to Widerholt’s enthusiasm and efforts.

“I am most looking forward to getting to know the kids as well as the library and helping them pick out great books,” concluded Wiederholt.

Wiederholt reads her one of her favorite books to a group of fourth graders.

Farewell Mrs. Harrington

Teacher, Coach, Director, Mother. Mrs. Kelly Harrington has assumed all those roles throughout her seventeen years at PA. And now, Harrington will embark on a new journey as Director of grades 6-12 at Hill-Murray School in St. Paul. Though she will be deeply missed, Harrington takes beautiful memories with her while she leaves an incredible legacy with all she has accomplished during her time within the ‘yellow walls.’ 

Harrington made the decision to move to Hill-Murray School on behalf of her family. For multiple years now, her three children have been at three different schools and it has become increasingly difficult to manage everyone’s schedule. 

“I really wish I could stay at PA,” articulated Harrington, “I love it here, and it is so hard for me to leave. This is a decision I had to make for my family and it is truly what was best for all of us.”  

Harrington has taught in all three divisions at PA–Lower, Middle, and Upper school–and has loved every part of it. She started her career at PA in the Lower School as a fourth grade instructor.

A warm memory from a cold day, Harrington recalled a funny present from Mr. John Wagner in her fourth grade classroom.  Wagner delivered a real snowman in her room while she was out. (PAW Photo credit, Kelly Harrington)

“She has always been my right hand,” commented Mrs. Nancy Galgano, Lower School Director. “She never stopped working, even when she was on her maternity leaves. I had to remind her what a leave was! She just cared so much about her job as well as her students.”

Harrington then coordinated pre-K for a year before moving to the Middle School wing, where she served as Director and history teacher. Her most recent title will be the last she holds at PA as Upper School Director.

Though known for her dedication to PA’s faculty and administration, Harrington has also made significant contributions to athletic programs, a natural outlet, given her passionate involvement in student life.  She has coached softball and volleyball in the course of her tenure at PA. 

In 2004, Harrington took the position of JV Volleyball coach with Physical Education teacher, Mrs. Colleen Carron, who began teaching at PA the same year as Harrington. They coached volleyball together for two years and then, in the spring of 2006, Harrington started the softball program while Carron was her JV team coach. Carron and Harrington have coached a total of five years together and become very close friends.

 “Though this is not the end of our relationship, what I will miss most about being around her often is her ability to make me laugh and her support through life’s ups and downs,” lamented Carron. “I will also miss her passion for students and their education; they have always been her priority.” 

Carron and Harrington have experienced a number of milestones in their lives throughout their friendship:  not only have they started two sports teams and a chapter of their teaching career together, they have also endured pregnancy at the same time.

Carron and Harrington (center) pose for a picture with their 2005-2006 Volleyball team. (PAW Photo credit, Kelly Harrington)

With children only fourteen days apart, Harrington and Carron have enjoyed sharing stories and experiences as they have journeyed through motherhood together while still investing in the lives of their students and their own professional development.

Carron recalled a funny story that neither she nor Harrington will ever forget. During a fire drill, then fourth grade teacher Harrington told her students not to talk. What she didn’t know was that there was a snake on her foot. Her obedient pupils did not tell her about the overly friendly reptile. Carron can still recall the expression on Harrington’s face when she saw her new companion.

A woman who has worn many hats, Harrington will be greatly missed by everyone in the Providence community. As she begins a new chapter, students and faculty alike wish her the best of luck in her next adventure at Hill-Murray.