EDITED by Jennifer Sensenich ’19
January 2016 – Adapted from June ’14/’15 interviews
Over the past eight years, Sandy and Jeremy Thorne have volunteered, tutored, taught, cooked, mentored, and set an impressive for what it means to be active TSA parents. Their dedication to TSA began in 2008 when the Thorne’s moved from Florida to Vermont just in time for their daughter Aenea ’14 to start seventh grade at the TSA Middle School. With a degree in Secondary Math Education and experience in middle and high school math, Sandy so graciously volunteered her time for MathCounts, a middle school math competition while Jeremy donated his skills to the ScienceBowl.
Sandy has since worked at both the TSA middle and high school—sometimes beyond the tutor role: “One year they needed to split the eighth graders into three levels instead of two and I took on one of the levels—the pre-algebra level—for an entire year.” Sandy appreciates the Vermont independent school model because “you can end up with a really diverse—economically diverse—group of students.” Sandy also works in the summer one-on-one with students as well as during study halls.
Meanwhile, Jeremy teaches a computer-programming elective, to “push the envelope” on how early the skills can be taught. Jeremy’s elective is also useful from a professional standpoint. As a software developer, Jeremy finds teaching beginners an excellent “opportunity to reexamine the software development process through a different perspective.”
The Thornes place a high value on TSA. “One of the things I really like about this school is how many opportunities they give for students to take on leadership positions,” opines Sandy. She knows firsthand that students can recognize when they no longer need a tutor and say, “I can get support from my instructor or I can get support from working with a small group of students.” Seeing a student move on from that formal support is especially valuable on the collegiate level, where “they’re not going to provide you with a tutor.”
Jeremy and Sandy have enjoyed involvement in some of TSA’s large-scale endeavors, like the Mission Statement creation and NEASC accreditation. Jeremy loves the discussions around finding TSA’s identity. “One of its primary commitments is to staying small,” he states, and “if you don’t change that one thing, if you just stay small, everything else can fall into place.”
As far as TSA goes, Jeremy points out, “as different students and parents come in the community can change to reflect the needs and desires of the new families.” This has long been something they both value. Many parents move on when their student graduates, but these two are invested in the school itself. They are able to utilize their unique gifts for the benefit of TSA and truly value the input of its students.
Once again, thank you for all you do Jeremy and Sandy. No doubt these parents have played an unparalleled role in creating even more opportunities for a generation of TSA students.
* Jeremy Thorne has also been incredibly instrumental in the creation of the TSA Stories page. Working swiftly to get the site up and running for us to post stories. TSA Stories extends our most sincere gratitude to you Jeremy.