Faculty Spotlight: Len Whitaker
February 08, 2018
By Lydia Whitaker ’17
In August of 1996, Len Whitaker started his first day at Thetford Academy. He was hired by Martha Rich for a part-time position teaching Forestry, Horticulture, and Vocational Agriculture. Twenty-two years later he is still teaching two of the same classes—along with 8th grade Earth Science and Astronomy.
Mr. Whitaker had experience in teaching before he started at TA; he worked as Behavioral Support in the adolescents’ department at Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island. Later, he moved to New Hampshire to work at the Pike School as a Forestry and Agriculture teacher, a job he held for four years before coming to TA.
Over the years, Mr. Whitaker has seen Thetford Academy make some dramatic changes. The campus has physically changed; he reminisces to the days when the quad used to be a parking lot. Technology has also had a big impact on the school; he remembers when the computer lab was first being set up…and nobody really used it.
When asked what he likes best about TA, Mr. Whitaker says he appreciates the strong, close-knit community at Thetford Academy and how students are really accepted for who they are. He likes the fact that it is possible to know every student that goes here and does his best to do this. One of his favorite things is when graduates come back to visit and he learns about their experience in college, work, or with their families.
“Working with students when they are really young, then seeing them mature and go off to do great things is really very amazing.”
Graduation is Mr. Whitaker’s favorite Thetford Academy tradition. Because it is a student-centered and student-run event, with student speakers and performances, it is entirely unique to Thetford Academy. He enjoys it most when the ceremony is held outside with beautiful views of the White Building and mountains.
In the classroom, Mr. Whitaker engages with each of his students, getting to know each one personally. His overall objective in each class is to teach the students to appreciate the wonder of the natural world that is all around them—and to appreciate each other. He says that he truly enjoys coming to work every day and teaching incredible young people subjects that he loves.