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Health Educator & Middle School Dean of Student Life building a kayak with her son, Jesse '31

In spring and summer 2020, when Covid-19 restrictions limited our activities and confined many of us indoors, our faculty and staff de-stressed by pursuing hobbies and learning new skills.  

“My son, Jesse (2nd Grader) and I began building a wooden kayak together in the spring. We’re not finished yet, but the project is well underway!” 

 —Bessie Oster
Health Teacher
  MS Dean of Student Life  


“Everyday I go on long walks with my three year old Nico in tow, sometimes literally.” 

— Anne Montero
Kindergarten Head Teacher 

During the pandemic, I’ve learned about the science of cooking and raised a puppy!”

Vidya Misra
History Teacher
MS Diversity and Equity Coordinator

“I create artwork, which is more like a lifestyle than a hobby. They are cut-out painted collages that are fashioned out of pieces of previous paintings that didn't turn out. Works that would otherwise end up trashed are given new compositions and forms. I suppose they could be defined as expressionist geometric abstraction.”

Matt Jackson
Proctor/Remote Supervisor

“I started a socially distanced 90's cover band. We have two guitarists and one accordionist!” 

Maxine Coleman
Director of Campus Operations
& Public Safety and Project Manager

“I started growing lettuce and other greens hydroponically with grow lights. It is far simpler than I imagined and so satisfying to be able to enjoy freshly picked garden lettuce and mizuna mustard in the winter.” 

Eric Baylin
MS and US Art Teacher

"When I was away from Brooklyn for many months, I really missed good bagels. So, I learned how to make New York bagels from scratch. It was well worth the effort!”

— Jamie Lilly
Literacy Coordinator

I learned to knit as a kid, and the lockdown provided me with the time to dive back into it with intensity. I think knitting is a perfect hobby. It’s just tricky enough to distract your brain from the world, and you can knit practical items like hats, or adorable, useless items, like a pillow in the shape of a #2 pencil.”

– Sadie King-Hoffman
MS and US Librarian

I began fostering rescue dogs and raising chickens. So far, we’ve fostered and found families for 16 rescue dogs (and adopted nine ourselves!)!”

— Sharon Melady
PS Science Teacher

I’ve started making watercolors and now have over 100 pieces! For as long as I can remember, fantastical creatures have been calling to me from creases in fabric, water stains on ceilings, paint chips on walls, and wood grain patterns on floors. My work is inspired by the world of stories as told to me through splatters, stains, and shapes I see on the sidewalks of my neighborhood of Fort Greene.”

Adèle Saint-Pierre
US French Teacher

For the Upper School Symposium in January 2020, visual arts teacher Mike Miller and I worked with kids to make surfboards. During the pandemic, I set up a surfboard-making workshop in my sister-in-law’s garage. I made three boards, plus a couple surfcraft odds and ends. It was incredibly fun and I learned a ton.

Ryan Carey
US History Teacher
Symposium Co-Coordinator

In March, I took up sourdough bread baking (and growing a starter from scratch). I know it’s totally bandwagony, but I'm especially proud because I've kept it up this whole time! I still bake bread 2-3 times a month, and I'm only getting better at it!”

Jeremy Hawkins
MS Health Teacher

I’ve begun taking long hikes in the woods with my dog and practicing wildlife photography.” 

— George Snook
US History Teacher

Read more:

Packer and the Pandemic

Home/School: Packer Parents Reflect on Remote Learning