2023 Inspirational Faculty Award: Lisa West

August 23, 2023

By Nicole Stice and Cassandra Will, Family Association

Each year the Family Association Steering Committee requests nominations from students, families, alumni, and faculty for an award to acknowledge the unique qualities of an individual teacher who inspires students to learn, families to cherish their child’s experience, alumni to reflect on their CWA days, and faculty to continue to maintain their high standards both in and out of the classroom.

The recipient of the 2023 Inspirational Faculty Award is Middle School Learning Specialist Lisa West. 

“Lisa provides a safe space for students to ask questions and seek additional support,” said Middle School Director Rachel Rippl. “During these formative years, Ms. West is an incredible resource, because she helps students understand how they learn best and how to become advocates for themselves. The transformation from the start of Middle School, as students are just figuring out how to navigate multiple classes and teachers, to the end of eighth grade, when students are able to identify and articulate their needs, is remarkable.”

Families and colleagues concur: patient, thoughtful, encouraging, kind. These are just a handful of words nominators used to describe Ms. West. One parent recalled, “She provided the help and, more importantly, the encouragement to my seventh-grade son during what was the beginning of a difficult two years of partial online learning—and a lot of pivoting due to the nature of what the world was facing. Always realistically optimistic, Ms. West had a way of holding our students accountable but in a kind way!”

Ms. West is known as a solver of problems when you don’t know where to begin and as a spring of reassurance that everything will be alright when you have no idea how you’ll get through. “Lisa consistently partners with parents and guardians to help teach them strategies so that they can effectively help their children at home,” says Lower School Learning Specialist Mary Cole. As my children and her students say, ‘She’s the best in the West!’”

“Growth mindset” is a common term and philosophy implemented across divisions, but it is not always understood. By the time our Middle Schoolers have worked with Ms. West, they know exactly what it means. She teaches Tarriers the big secret that many of us didn’t learn until we were well into adulthood: that we all learn differently, and anyone can learn anything if they lean into their gifts with patience and persistence.

“We met Lisa when my youngest son moved from the Lower School to the Middle School,” another parent said. “I was so nervous about the transition and if his learning needs would be met. Wow, was I blown away when Lisa began working with my son. She empowered him to express himself and developed his confidence in speaking for what he needs in the classroom.”

The Charles Wright community thanks Ms. West for everything she has done for our children and for so many Tarriers who have walked across the commencement stage—in large part because of her. For all these reasons and more, the Charles Wright Academy Family Association is thrilled to recognize Ms. West with the 2023 Inspirational Faculty Award.