Working where they grew up: Daniels, Ward pay homage to SPA

The St. Paul Academy and Summit School community is no stranger to alumni participation and involvement. However, not all alums are as directly involved with SPA as US History teacher Mollie Ward and US Spanish teacher Peter Daniels. There are currently four teachers in the upper school that were former SPA students. Ward and Daniels commented on their thoughts and feelings about working at their alma mater.

“It’s weird. It feels weird that I teach here [SPA] because I remember being a student here and my memories were not very fond of this place. It surprised me that I ended up coming back to teach,” Ward said.

“It feels like giving. I’ll admit it’s a little strange because I remember going to and not enjoying every single class. I think it’s nice to come and unlock the spirit of learning in the students I teach,” Daniels said.

Both reveal feeling odd about working where they went to school. While Ward feels as though it is a bit strange that she teaches at SPA; Daniels feels as though he gives back to his community by teaching.

I think it’s nice to come and unlock the spirit of learning in the students I teach”

— Peter Daniels

Relatability is a key factor during the decision process for both teachers. Ward specifically touched upon its importance. Daniels felt more empowered by the work SPA was doing.

“I decided to come back when a job opened up, and I thought it would be nice for students to have a teacher that understands them,” Ward said.

“I was looking for something that worked from my learning style. To have teachers that enjoy teaching and engage with students really works for me. The work I was doing outside matched the philosophy that SPA uses when creating their learning environment,” Daniels said.

The teachers believe that when there is a mutual understanding between the two parties the students learning will flourish with a teacher understands and cares for them. SPA’s community shaped their outlooks and convinced them to work at SPA and enhance its environment.