Exit Interview: Mrs. Annie Edwards

This article is part of a series of interviews of departing faculty conducted by The Mirror staff.

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When did you start working at Northwood and how long have you been here for?
I began working at Northwood in the fall of 1983. I have taught at Northwood for 34 consecutive years and I am now teaching the children of some of my former students.

What different jobs have you done/ classes have you taught?
Due to the nature of boarding school life, I have had many roles at Northwood. I was hired immediately out of college as the Chair of the Language Department, and as a French teacher. I held both of those positions for the first 30 years. I also ran the girls’ dorm, directed the yearbook committee, advised the photography program, and organized the drama club for the first seven years. I taught an introduction to psychology course for 10 years. It was open to all ages and abilities and was a fun course to teach. I have worked extensively in the community service program and I have enjoyed educating my students about ways that they can give back to our community. I also served as the Academic Director for 25 years and have been working as the Associate Director of College Guidance and teaching junior level English for the past three years. I have spent much of my time with students in the outdoors; we have gone recreational skiing, hiking, camping in the High Peaks, and running on the trails around Cobble.

Why did you decide to leave your Northwood job?
My husband, Jeff Edwards, a former Northwood faculty member and administrator during his 26-year tenure, has accepted a promotion with an assignment transfer to Beijing, China. He is the General Manager of Operations for Ironman China working for Wanda Sports China. He moved to Beijing full time on May 1st. Jeff will be building and training a team that will develop the endurance sports market throughout China.

Do you have a best story/fondest memory/funniest happening that you could tell?
I remember one day during my first year of teaching. A senior faculty member asked me to go sit with a young boy and to see what was going on. We had a wonderful chat. He was happy, but he could not understand many of his teachers when they spoke in class. Their Boston accents were very strong and their words made no sense. He was exhausted by meal time and he preferred to sit alone with his thoughts. I sat with him for most of that first month, gradually inviting other students to join us. I spoke in both French and English, translating when necessary, easing him into a conversational comfort zone that would no longer include me. I am bilingual and I have taught for more than three decades. I still reach out to students and families the moment I recognize their French accents. I invite hesitant English speakers to join in the discussion by speaking in their native tongue. When Francophone parents see that I am here for their child and for their whole family, the transition to boarding school life is that much easier for all.

Did you have a favorite year? Favorite part, class or team?
The biggest highlight of the year for me is celebrating the college acceptances of the students I’ve worked with. I cherish the days and weeks when students pop into my classroom with bright smiles on their faces, bursting to tell me that they have been accepted to college! They have been waiting to tell me in person. We hug. We jump around. We feel silly and exuberant. We have grown close working together and the possibility of venturing off to a new academic experience is exhilarating!

What did your years here teach you?
Patience. Most things can be solved with a kind word, an open heart, and food. I try to be a good listener. I really enjoy the company of my students. I love to hear what they are doing, what they dream to achieve, and what makes them happy. I learn from my students as much as they learn from me.

What are your future plans? Where are you going?
I recently accepted a job offer at a school in Beijing, China. I will be the University Guidance Counselor at BCIS (Beijing City International School). I am sad to be leaving Northwood, but happy to be continuing to work with students in the university search process. I’m simply off on a new adventure, and my current Chinese students have assured me that they will visit me in Beijing, especially those who live nearby! I do not plan to say good bye to anyone at Northwood, but rather, see you soon!

Dear Mrs. Edwards:


Alec Herman ’18 and Mrs. Edwards in the living room.

I remember the first day of school, when I walked into your classroom shaking like a leaf because I was unsure of what to expect. Starting a new school and moving away from my family was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but you were one of the reasons that I was able to adjust to a new school so quickly with your welcoming smile and enthusiastic energy. You were always willing to talk to me, ask about my day, and see how I am feeling everyday.

I must admit, I despised English class before I met you, but you changed my perspective. Thanks to you, my vocabulary has broadened and the SAT prep sessions in class were really helpful to me. I loved coming in for extra help sessions to review my vocab cards; you would always help me by giving me funny sentences to help me remember the words.

I remember when we watched the “character, setting, plot” rap song. When you first presented that to our class, I was thinking that maybe you were going insane, but that was just part of your awesome and humorous character.

I was honored to be taught by someone amazing like you, and I wish you the best of luck in China. I know  you will inspire others the way you inspired me. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us, and we will miss you deeply.

Alec H.
Class of ‘18


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