Kristine Brennan, Drew Dawson, Steve Mandes, and Jenn Spaulding were honored with the Appleseed Awards — given in recognition of faculty members who have shown exceptional dedication to inspiring and encouraging Brunswick boys in their academic, athletic, and extracurricular pursuits — at opening faculty meetings on Wednesday, August 30.
The Awards were established by the family of Sam ’11, William ’12, and Jamie MacFarlane ’16 as a way of thanking Brunswick faculty members for their dedication, commitment, and positive impact.
In addition, the Awards seek to recognize the vital role that faculty members play in developing the character of Brunswick boys and in identifying, nurturing, and channeling the enormous potential within each Brunswick student.
Kristine Brennan began teaching at Brunswick in 2004 and is a beloved Upper School history teacher and also the chair of the department.
In addition, Brennan has served as a senior advisor, the faculty advisor of student government, and the chapter administrator of Brunswick’s Cum Laude Society.
“It is remarkable how great an impact on the history department Kristine has had since assuming leadership as chairperson — a complete renovation of the ninth-grade curriculum, refreshed and pertinent course offerings, valuable hiring additions to the teaching faculty, and a collegial spirit among department members,” Assistant Head for Academics Rick Beattie ’80 said.
“Importantly, her own teaching is exemplary and an inspiration to others in both Upper and Middle Schools.”
Drew Dawson, who joined the faculty in 2018, teaches Middle School science and is the dean of the sixth grade. He is also a passionate and knowledgeable coach of Brunswick’s thriving robotics program, as well as the master planner of Middle School Field Day.
“Drew has an infectious enthusiasm for everything he does, and his students can count on his energy every day in the classroom,” Middle School Head Rob Follansbee said.
“To understand Drew, all one would need to do is come watch Middle School Field Day. He runs it masterfully, and it showcases him at his best — mixing organization and planning with loads of fun.”
Steve Mandes arrived at Brunswick in 2009 and has been a reliable and genuinely invested member of the history department, teaching both Modern World History and AP Human Geography. He also advises in the Upper School, coaches varsity hockey, and serves as a senior-review group leader.
“Steve’s professionalism and dedication to his students extends beyond their intellectual growth in his classroom to their development in character and personal integrity,” Brennan said. “He takes very seriously his role in making personal connections with his students to create a foundation for their moral growth.
“He is an incredible mentor to younger faculty, as well as a considerate and affable colleague.”
Spaulding began her distinguished, longstanding tenure on the faculty in 1996 and teaches fourth grade — also serving as the creative and talented director of the fourth-grade play, 13 Colonies.
Head of Lower School Katie Signer has been a frontline witness to Spaulding’s dedication for more than two decades.
“Jenn is a remarkable teacher — creative, energetic, and particularly gifted at teaching our boys what it means to be a leader and a team player,” Signer said.
“She does the important work of helping her students develop the strong foundational skills they need before embarking on the Middle School, while also encouraging them to find their voice, to think outside of the box, and to take risks.”