Skip To Main Content

Awarding Two Educators for Exemplary Teaching, Loyalty & Commitment

A photo of Rob Zimmerman and Amy Thonnerieux standing on the stage of Keeler Theater.

Amy Thonnerieux and Emily DiMatteo – this year’s Pattison Award winners – embody the pillars of the award. Country Day’s Lee S. Pattison Distinguished Teacher Award is presented to faculty each year for exemplary teaching, loyalty to the school, and commitment to the students, their parents, and their peers.

“Amy is a unique, beautiful member of the tapestry of our school,” wrote Molly Petre, Middle School teacher and 5th grade team leader, in her nomination. “She threads together our community with her professionalism and passion for literature, technology, and quilting. She is ever ready to help a student or a colleague with technology training or seek and find the ‘just right’ book…. She is a consummate teacher to children and adults in the Country Day community.”

Rachel Corwin, who is the world languages department chair and grade 8 team leader, says “Emily is the consummate professional and ideal teammate. Reliable and hard-working, she is someone who I can always count on. She is an asset to any team; always diplomatic, innovative, and kind. She has a knack for anticipating the next task at hand, and then taking the lead to get things done. In her classroom, Emily helps students discover a love of (or at minimum an appreciation for) reading. She works patiently to improve her students’ skills at writing. She is rigorous and compassionate simultaneously, providing each student with just the right amount of support they need to grow. She makes connections with all her students, especially her advisees, for whom she advocates and supports. Emily provides experiences in the classroom that teach students the skills they need to be successful. There is no doubt in my mind that she has inspired several future educators.”

Rob Zimmerman presenting Emily DiMatteo the Pattison Award.

The Country Day community would not be the same without these two spectacular people. Thonnerieux, who is the Lower School librarian and is now in her 17th year at Country Day, says she was “surprised and honored to receive the award. Knowing that other faculty members – people who do what you do – nominated you is very rewarding. It's nice to be validated and recognized for work that I'm passionate about…. Libraries have been called the great equalizer as they provide equal opportunities to all who walk through the doors. I hope that the children that come through our library feel this – that they see themselves as creators, coders, makers, researchers, and, of course, readers. That they challenge themselves to see the world in new ways and stretch themselves as learners. This is what I strive for every day.”

DiMatteo, who is in her sixth year of teaching English in the Middle School, agrees and says “it is nice that the school has something in place that recognizes teachers. Now I need to pay it forward; there are so many people here who are doing great work…. I’m just one person in a sea of talented educators; I want to help recruit the next generation of educators who are going to elevate this profession.”

Both faculty members were presented with $10,000, with an additional $1,000 that must be spent on something that supports their role in the school. While Thonnerieux is still deciding how to allocate her funds, DiMatteo “ordered books immediately, which allowed me to try something new in addition to purchasing more high-interest books. My objective is always to get the students to read and to read a lot, so my idea was to get them to read a trilogy this summer. I think it was an effective way to have them take more ownership of their reading.”

The Pattison Award was created in memory of one of the school’s legendary teachers, Lee S. Pattison, who graced the Country Day 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.

“Helping students develop their analytical eyes and writerly voices drives my daily efforts, and it sounds like no one did more for Country Day students in that regard than Mr. Pat. I would have loved to have learned from him,” said DiMatteo in her acceptance speech. “I don’t know if it’s a calling or a lack of creativity, but I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I think it’s the dream job.”

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