Dear Friends,

With both sincere regret and heartfelt appreciation for her time among us, Menaul School announces the retirement of one of our most beloved, long-serving schoolteachers, Mrs. Laurie Gilbert.

“It is with very mixed feelings that I announce my retirement. There are days when I wonder why I am letting go of something I have loved doing so much. I thank God for the opportunity he has given me to teach in the Menaul Middle School for the past 15 years. I am thankful for each of the students that I have had the privilege to teach and for all they have brought into my life. I am grateful for the amazing middle school faculty that I have collaborated with to create meaningful learning experiences for our students. Although I will not be here every day, I will continue to attend school events and cheer on our students. If there is a thought, I would like to leave with each of my students it is this: Know that you are loved by an amazing God who is always there for you and who created you to do great things with your life. You have been given the tools to accomplish whatever you are willing to work for. We live in a beautiful world and have been blessed with so many gifts and opportunities. It is up to each of us to continue to make it a better place by developing and using our talents and sharing kindness with everyone God brings into our lives. Thank you again for being a part of my life and letting me be a part of yours.”

Laurie Gilbert

Laurie has taught middle school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for fifteen years at Menaul School. In 2010 she was selected as the Air Force Association STEM Teacher of the Year in New Mexico. In 2015, Laurie was also made a fellow of the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Crow Canyon Research Project and then in 2018, she was invited to the US Patent Office’s Summer Institute for top science teachers in the US. She has lead workshops for National Middle School Math Teachers Conference, and she has regularly led our own teachers here at Menaul School with support, care, and enthusiasm. Whether she’s connecting with students or her peers, Laurie quite simply raises the bar.

“Some people are just born to be in the classroom.  They are kind, organized and passionate about their subject.  They are a bit uncomfortable around adults but perfectly comfortable around their students (who make most adults a bit uncomfortable).  They lie awake at night thinking of a better way to deliver a lesson or concept so that all students understand, and they take it personally if students do poorly on exams.  They prefer a plan but are fine operating without one.  Firm yet incredibly flexible, teachers are, well, different.  Laurie Gilbert is the consummate teacher.”  

– Troy Williamson, Menaul School Upper School Director, Assistant Head of School

An immensely creative teacher, Laurie’s classrooms are active places where students learn by doing. While education professionals might celebrate that her classes are centered around engaging projects rather than textbooks, Laurie’s secret sauce has always been that she loves her students and has a teacher’s heart. Outside of school hours, you can find Laurie at her students’ dance recitals, car races, and karate competitions. Her students know she cares about them as people, not just as students. Laurie is as a cheerleader for life.

“Words cannot express how I will miss working with my wonderful friend and colleague, the beloved, Laurie Gilbert. I want to celebrate her massive successes as an educator, she inspired kids and teachers alike. She inspired me and mentored me every step of the way when I first became a teacher. 

Laurie is one of those people you can call anytime. She will be excited when you are excited, she will lend an ear when you are upset. She will often have a solution for your problems. She will cheer you up, make you feel better, lend you books, offer support, unconditional love, or even a science lesson. She often has anything you need; in the moment you need it. She is a lifeline. As Laurie’s friend, I am very excited for her to spend more time with her children and grandchildren. As her colleague, I will miss her dearly, and there will always be a Laurie shaped hole in my heart. She is irreplaceable. 

The most notable thing about Laurie, from her many years as an educator, is how much care and attention she gave her students. She made them feel loved while helping them make huge strides in their education. She taught students how to read, took chances on students who struggled, and had empathy for every child who entered her classroom. Students who left her class measurably improved two grade levels in math in one year. They also left with a passion for experiential learning in science. She was a teacher whom students never forgot and always missed when they moved on to higher grades. Students came back to her classroom just to see her face, be in the presence of her comfort, and remember how she made them feel when they were young.” 

– Emily Dawson, Menaul School Co-Director

“Mrs. Gilbert is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had! When someone asks me ‘Why did you want to become a teacher?’, I am reminded of the inspiring light and joy Mrs. Gilbert brought to every class. Her passion for her students and their education is beautiful and contagious. One day I want to look back at my teaching and think ‘I hope I inspired my students the way Mrs. Gilbert inspired me.”

– Christina Baca, ’17, former student

You leave a large hole in our community, Ms. Gilbert.  Thank you for your unselfish service.  God’s blessings for the next stage of your life!

Mr. Lindsey R. Gilbert, Jr. 

President and Head of School 

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