Fairfield Educators

Our teens to watch named some of their most influential teachers



Robert Benjamin, Math and Economics teacher at Fairfield Ludlowe

The September/October 2013 issue of Fairfield Living magazine features ten amazing teens. That story got us thinking about their teachers. We asked some of the teens to tell us about one of their mentors.

Edouard Smith. French. Fairfield Ludlowe. Nominated Fairfield Living magazine teen to watch Maggie Calcutt.

On having Maggie Calcutt as a student: "French, like many foreign languages, can be difficult to learn with various grammar rules and spelling peculiarities. However, Maggie made every effort to learn these things until they became natural for her. Her effort paid off because during our exchange trip to Orleans, France, her host family were very impressed by how well she was able to communicate and understand everything that was going on.”

On becoming a French teacher: "I was fortunate enough to live in France for a while as well as travel to Italy, Austria, and Russia. These experiences profoundly affected me and the way I view the world.…Being able to communicate with other people in their language was such an empowering experience that I wanted to share the message with students that studying a language is not just for academics, but for living a fuller and richer life.”

My pet peeve in the classroom is…"the cellphone. I don't want any student checking FB, Instagram, or SnapChat for the latest status update from his or her friend two classrooms over.” 

Tony Canuel. Chemistry/Biology. Fairfield Prep. Nominated by Fairfield Living magazine teen to watch Austin Trotta.

On having Austin Trotta as a student: "He is very intelligent, highly motivated and incredibly cooperative. Above all, however, Austin is a great person. He is sensitive and compassionate toward others.”

On wanting to be a teacher: "My kindergarten teacher was so vivacious, interesting and kind that I loved school from day one. I remember thinking how cool it would be to go to school forever!”

On success: "I owe my success to the professors in college who stretched me beyond my comfort zone and forced me to reformulate my study strategy. When I started college I relied on the same sloppy study habits that got me through high school with flying colors. Boy, did I get slammed pretty good at first! Quite a rude awakening! I have tried to pass my revamped philosophy on to my students on the high school level so that they can hit the ground running when they get to college.”

Favorite sports team…"Let's go Red Sox!"

Jon Noyes. Director of Fairfield County Children's Choir and choir teacher at Holland Hill Elementary School. Nominated by Fairfield Living magazine teen to watch Amanda Violone.

On having Amanda Violone in choir: "Amanda is a truly outstanding member of the Fairfield County Children's Choir. I believe that she posses the attributes for success: natural talent and the self-motivation and perseverance to achieve her full potential.”

On teaching children in Fairfield County: "I believe Fairfield County appreciates and supports the arts. The Fairfield County Children's Choir is in its nineteenth year. We have a little over 300 kids, to the point where we can't take much more than that."

My favorite song on the radio is…"Mumford and Sons, 'I Will Wait.'"

Bob Benjamin. Math/Economics. Fairfield Ludlowe. Nominated by Fairfield Living magazine teen to watch Daria Efimov.

On having Daria as a student: "Daria is very smart, very focused, works hard for the sake of learning, is a positive and cheerful person, and polite and respectful. All good students have some of these things, but Daria has them all."

On what he's learned from teaching: "I am very sure I would come in high in a 'least intimidating people in FLHS' poll, [but] there is still the occasional student who will just find any adult intimidating."

My favorite U.S. President is…"Franklin Roosevelt. He had the clearest perspective of any President on two issues: One, what the President had to do during his time in office, a particularly difficult time in history. Two, what it meant to have a government for the people."

Todd Simmons. Piano/Music Teacher. Nominated by Fairfield Living magazine teen to watch Niles Luther.

On having Niles as a student: "I credit him for taking risks. I think he's going to be a superstar.”

On starting to teach piano: "It's funny how my life has taken an interesting route. Where I am now, teaching piano, is what I do. I enjoy teaching one on one—a personal connection that provides an individually rewarding experience for everyone."

My favorite composer is…"exactly like choosing what to bring on a desert island, but Bach. Although he composed 300 years ago, he is still able to fully capture all emotions, thoughts and mathematics.”

Dale Griffa. St. Luke's. Nominated by Fairfield Living magazine teen to watch Morgan Simmonds.

On having Morgan Simmonds as a student: "It has been an honor to work with Morgan over the past three years. Morgan is one of the most dedicated and professional musicians that I have had the pleasure with which to work. He is a role model and leader for the St. Luke's Chorale and the school."

On a favorite moment at St. Lukes: "I am honored to have experienced each and every day with my students. I am one of the few teachers at St. Luke's who gets to work with students for more than one year. The bond that is created over time is amazing and with many of my students continues even after they have graduated."

When I'm not teaching, you can find me…"traveling. I love to travel. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to all seven continents, and this past summer I visited my fortieth country in the world. It means a great deal to me to share my love of travel with the students, and that is one of the reasons we do International Concert Tours every other year." 

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