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Mindfulness, Mentorship, and Joy: Deb McDermott Retires

Deb McDermott was a beloved faculty member in the Preschool and Lower School for twenty-five years as an Associate Teacher in various grades, most recently in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. 

A recipient of the PA Excellence in Teaching Award, she was a passionate and thoughtful educator; loving, funny, creative and mindful; her love for children shone through in all she did. 
Always making sure that each child was appreciated and placing great value on their social-emotional development and wellbeing, Deb brought mindfulness, meditation practice and a love of poetry and art to our youngest learners. 

Deb also contributed to our community in many ways outside the classroom —  she supported her teaching partners, mentored new associate teachers, helped develop curriculum, served on hiring committees, hired and coordinated substitute coverage, and spent countless hours with students playing in the Garden.

Deb's calm and welcoming presence at Packer will be greatly missed by students, parents, and colleagues alike.

Bill McCarthy, Packer’s Head of Preschool and Lower School, reflected on the light Deb brought to our school each day:

"Deb has the incredible and unique ability to make everyone that is around her—adults and children—feel cared for, special and welcome. When you walked into the classroom, you could always find Deb on the floor or at a table fully engaged in conversation or immersed in a special project with our students. Her great passion for teaching and love of children came through in everything she did during her time at Packer. Deb is an exceptional role model of teaching excellence, and for all of us who had the great honor to work with her, she allowed us to not just become better educators but also become better people. The inspiration and talents that she shared with us time and again live on in our work and will remain her incredible legacy for many years to come."

—Bill McCarthy, Head of Preschool and Lower School 

Deb in her own words

After being awarded the PA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017, Deb detailed her journey as an educator—take a look back at what she shared

If you would like to submit well-wishes to Deb, please send them to

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