Teacher receives Carolyn, Marion Hays Award

Juliana Berger

Upper school mathematics teacher Kent Nealis was awarded the Carolyn and Marion Hays Award Aug. 26 at a joint faculty meeting.

The award is given to a member of the faculty or staff who contributes to the school community in ways beyond what is expected.

The recipient is to show “loyal and dedicated service to the school; friendliness, good humor and encouragement; patience and thoughtful consideration for all members of the school community,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said in her presentation speech.

The award was created by Harvard School alumni Thomas Hays ’53 and Louis Hays ’62 in honor of their parents: Harvard School teacher, dorm head and assistant headmaster from 1944-1970 Marion Hays and wife Carolyn.

Nealis has been with the school for 24 years and has also served as the Faculty Academic Committee chair for more than 15 years.

Former Hays Award winner Eric Zwemer said all teachers at the school are both intelligent and openminded.

“That is an entirely apt description of this year’s Hays awardee,” Huybrechts said. “He is a formidable intellect, a life-long learner, an experienced and accomplished teacher, a leader of teachers. He values rigor as a way of seeking truth, and integrity as the foundation for a life of consequence, and he seeks to develop his students’ intellects and their character.”

Nealis was amazed when he received the award.

“It was a complete surprise to me,” Nealis said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I’m very appreciative, I’m honored, I’m humbled, but I was taken totally by surprise.”