We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Teebie Saunders, Director of Secondary School Admission Counseling for The Hamlin School. Ms. Saunders is in her 7th year at Hamlin and has a daughter in Grade 1.
You have an impressive academic background (Groton HS, Princeton BA, Duke MBA). How has your education helped inform your work at Hamlin?
Groton shaped me the most. I grew up in North Carolina. Going to school outside of Boston was a big switch. I learned that I didn’t have to be one thing. I could be an athlete (basketball and tennis), a scholar, and sing in the choir. I was able to be my authentic, best self at Groton. That is why I do what I do at Hamlin. Groton was SO transformative for me. I know how pivotal high school can be for a student. I love supporting Hamlin girls in the process of finding their life-shaping high school experience.
For my MBA I studied marketing and nonprofit management. That degree helped me hone my communications skills. Because of my time at Duke, I’m better able to articulate the cultural essence of a school, dissect marketing materials, interpret data, and understand trends. Schools have institutional needs, my ability to look at longitudinal studies helps me better comprehend the whole landscape of the secondary school market.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Building relationships with our girls. I get to know them intimately, through the eyes of their teachers, coaches, and piano instructors. It is amazing to get to know a 13 year old so closely. It is great to be an adult that is not their parent, thinking about their best interest. I also enjoy many close relationships with Hamlin parents. I stay closely connected to admissions people all over the country, that peer group is one of the things that keeps me deeply engaged.
What impresses you most about our Hamlin Grade 8 students?
They are so mature. They are self-reflective about how they learn best. They are great about being serious in class and silly and still a kid outside of class. They have a profound sense of responsibility; they embody the Hamlin creed on a daily basis.
What is one piece of advice would you give someone (parent or student) going into the high school admission process?
Have an open mind and let yourself be surprised by something you didn’t expect to love about a school, and let yourself also be open to the fact that nothing is perfect.