Fond Farewell: Nancy Herter Retires After 35 Years

Middlesex School Retiring Faculty Nancy Herter

Forty-four years ago, in 1970, Nancy Herter first stepped onto Middlesex's campus (then all-boys) as part of a group from Concord-Carlisle High School invited to add their voices to the Middlesex boys' chorus at the time. Among the Middlesex singers, unbeknownst to Nancy at the time, was Ned Herter '73. Ned spied Nancy from the Chapel balcony for the first time, and two years later a mutual friend officially introduced them on the Middlesex baseball field. In 1978, the two were married inĀ  the Middlesex Chapel, where their three kids would also be christened,and their daughter Emily '97 would be married as well. Raising three kids (Emily '97, Ben '99 and Aaron '02) and a dog on campus, Nancy and Ned lived in Hallowell for many years. Nancy was Head of House and taught Art, while Ned taught Math and coached Lacrosse.

Remembering living and starting a family on campus, Nancy calls their life here "a little slice of heaven," where they were able to work and play as a family, and get to know students not only as advisees and athletes, but also as babysitters and longtime friends of their children. Anyone who meets Nancy will attest to her optimism, humor, and good sense of fun. This sense of fun and renewed energy each day has kept her engaged with her work in myriad positions over the years-- among them Dean of Students, Director of Day Students, and finally Director of Student Activities for 23 years. Charged with the difficult task of annually coming up with new and creative ways to engage 350 teenagers each weekend, Nancy has worked with teams of students for decades to plan and carry out countless events from the traditional to the...unconventional. Nancy laughingly recalls such activities as "ice bumper cars" in the hockey rink, a headphone disco dance, and "Donkey Basketball," a truly unusual activity where students played a game of basketball while riding small donkeys around the court. These rather unorthodox student activities speak to Nancy's general outlook on her work with teenagers: "I just want people to have fun and enjoy being young."

Indeed, though she is now retiring after 35 years at Middlesex (as the longest-tenured female faculty member to retired), Nancy's demeanor is decidedly youthful, and she maintains relationships with current students that are equally as close to those she worked with decades before. For nearly every student that has graduated from Middlesex since 1979, Nancy played an important role in their experience. Several Middlesex traditions that now seem so integral to the annual culture of the School originated from Nancy, including the Middlesex Parents Association, the Dorm Wars competitions (like Field Day), and nearly all of the current annual activities and dances.

Many of Nancy's contributions are easy to quantify. She has organized 23 Middlesex proms, 23 Casino Nights, 23 Square Dances, 23 Hypnotists, 20 Spring Carnivals, 19 Luaus, 3 Foam Dances, 2 Splatter Paint Dances,and countless live bands, visiting performers, and trips...not to mention those 3 games of Donkey Basketball. For years to come, students will continue to play, dance, compete, and laugh while participating in these activities, and that contribution to Middlesex's culture and mission is immeasurable.

Middlesex School Retiring Faculty Nancy Herter
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