Boulger leaves behind a golden age of the math department
May 24, 2018
Traditions are integral to the SPA community, from storming the field before the Homecoming game to Odyssey to Junior Retreat. The school is built upon a foundation of continuity through innovation. No one embodies that principle more than US Math teacher Bill Boulger. He has been working at SPA for nearly 50 years, and in that time he has left his imprint all around the school, from trophy cases to the mathematics curriculum.
Boulger has filled many different roles in his time at SPA, but he holds dearly his position as the math team adviser: “Some of my fondest memories come from working with math teams who have been very successful here,” he said.
Not only has the math league been very active, it has gone to the state tournament every year but once in the time that it has been around. Many former math leaguers have gone on to achieve PhDs or work at places like Google.
“[The math league] won a lot of times, that’s been very satisfying,” Boulger said. “More satisfying is getting to know those students and work with those students.”
Currently, the only classes Boulger teaches are his three Honors Geometry classes, comprised of 9th graders and sophomores. “Legendary” could be used to describe the course, geometry being his long-time specialty. However, Boulger takes great pride in his work on the SPA math curriculum as a whole.
25 years later
Juxtapose made by Noah Raaum
Leaving a legacy
“I’ve had the opportunity to work on and create course materials for a lot of different classes here,” Boulger said. “Classes I don’t even teach anymore—people are still using some of the things I’ve had the opportunity to develop.”
Boulger’s retirement marks the end of a golden era for SPA mathematics. Next year, the department will relocate to the nearly finished Schilling Math and Science Center, and the school will hire several new teachers and introduce new elective options.
As Boulger looks forward to retirement, he admits that it may take some getting used to: “I had Spring Break to try this out but I wasn’t too successful. You’ve got to find something that will help you get up in the morning,” he said.
Boulger also realizes that the allure of the school may be a little too much to allow him to completely step away initially. He admits that he may come back to help some students at SPA. Still, he is looking forward to being able to slow down a little bit and not have to be caught up in everything going on at school.
The other thing that retirement brings is the opportunity to spend more time with family. “I have three grandchildren, and their parents all work so I can be of help there also,” he said.
For every student in the Upper School—and their parents, if they went to SPA—Boulger has been a respected figure in not only the math department but in the greater SPA community. While the next generation of students may not have the benefit of having him as their teacher, they can still thank him for designing the curriculum that they will learn from every day. Boulger may be leaving after this year, but the traditions that he put in place—a strong math team and an innovative math program—will last. This year, in the annual Alumni/ae Day of Giving, donors can direct their gifts to the “Bill Boulger Fund of Teaching Excellence” in honor of his extraordinary accomplishments and legacy as a teacher.
Explore Bill Boulger’s fifty years at SPA with this interactive timeline:
Timeline made by Noah Raaum