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Honoring Two Incredible Teachers with the Pattison Award

Kindergarten teacher Lee Ann Bertsch and Upper School teacher Matt Dahl have been named the Cincinnati Country Day School 2021-22 Pattison Award winners.  

The Pattison Award was created in memory of one of Country Day's legendary teachers, Lee S. Pattison, who graced our campus from 1946 to 1988. First granted in 1989, the Lee S. Pattison Distinguished Teacher Award seeks to celebrate teachers who best embody all that Lee Pattison gave, day in and day out: loyalty, creativity, humor, flexibility, and integrity. 

Teachers nominate their peers by reflecting in writing how the nominee demonstrates each qualifying characteristic.  

Lee Ann Bertsch now teaches kindergarten but started her Country Day career by working in the Early Childhood Center more than 17 years ago.  

Lee Ann and class

“Lee Ann continually seeks opportunities to take her students outside their classroom to learn from and collaborate with students in other divisions,” said Upper School teacher and makerspace coordinator Jamie Back. “Her positive attitude and collaborative spirit bring joy to learning for students and her colleagues.” 

Lee Ann is known for her project-based teaching style, her love of the outdoors, her creativity in the classroom, and her class pet - Lola the Bunny.  

"One of my students asked, ‘Ms. Bertsch, do you have a job?’ and I giggled at first. But on deeper reflection, I realized that what I do doesn't feel like a job," said Bertsch. "Sure, it's work that's never done. But there's never been a day I haven't been excited about coming to school. This is what separates our profession from a job. You put everything into it, but you get way more out of it." 

Matt Dahl teaches Upper School chemistry and has been teaching at Country Day for 26 years. He attributed his success as a teacher to former Upper School teachers, such as Sam Tumulo and Dave Walsh, as well as current colleagues. 

“Matt has served this school beautifully for many years,” said Upper School teacher Merle Black. “He is a colleague who can be counted on to perform well in every circumstance. He is loyal to the school and serves selflessly.”  

Matt and class

When Dahl began working at the school, he imagined himself staying for five years or less. Once he was on campus, he fell in love with the school, and it quickly became his home. 

“In coming to Country Day, l found a community,” said Dahl.  “A community of friends, colleagues, and students and I am convinced that this is what has kept me anchored for the last 26 years. I am honored to be counted among the best teachers at Country Day and I am especially proud to be a part of a very exclusive subset of the Pattison Award winners.” 
 
Congratulations to these two teachers who join the ranks of a long and impressive list of winners. To view past winners and learn more about the Pattison Award, click here.