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Peddie Meets Anne L. Seltzer on Heads Day

Sue Lee'18, A&E Section Editor

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On this year’s annual Head’s Day competition last Thursday, April 27, Peddie’s former English Department Head, Director of Development, interim Headmaster and current member of the Board of Trustees, Anne L. Seltzer, visited Peddie.

In 1979, Seltzer moved to Princeton from Chicago. Nearly 40 years ago, a remarkable event led Seltzer to stumble upon the gates of the Peddie School. She had initially arranged for a job interview at the Lawrenceville School, but an emergency situation occurred just before her arrival, resulting in the cancellation of her interview. But she was soon informed that there was an opening for an English teacher at another nearby boarding preparatory school called Peddie. In 1980, Seltzer joined the English faculty at Peddie. As years passed, Seltzer served as the Head of the English department, as well as Dean of Faculty. She remembers her time as an English teacher with a particular fondness. “The 80’s [was] an interesting time to teach English—the curriculum was just beginning to change and open up to include a much wider range of writers.  Peddie was the first New Jersey school to offer a Women in Literature Class and I was very proud of that class.  English is a particularly terrific discipline to teach because it engenders a lot of class discussion and personal writing.  I felt privileged to get to know students so well through their writings,” Seltzer reflected. At the time, Seltzer was the only female teacher in the English department, which she believes to have opened up possibilities and expectations for the students. “It made me take my role more seriously because I was breaking new ground,” Seltzer said.

In 1988, Peddie experienced a great tragedy in the death of former Headmaster  Edward Potter. For a year, Seltzer took on the role of the Interim Head of Peddie. Her fundamental vision for Peddie was to create a “nurturing, academically strong school that [helps] students find their voice as learners.” Her efforts concerned creating an increasingly enriching curriculum for Peddie students.

After her time as Headmaster she served as the Director of Development, until her retirement in 2003. During her tenure, Peddie received the largest gift in its history – a $100 million donation from Walter H. Annenberg ’27. “Certainly, working with Ambassador Annenberg [and] helping to plan the use for the Annenberg gift [was a highlight during my time at Peddie]. That was thrilling because it really changed the focus of the school,” Seltzer commented.

“I believe the school just gets better and better and I am proud of that.    I am particularly thrilled to see the growing excellence of the arts programs – that is a change from my Peddie days on the faculty. But, in so many ways Peddie is unchanging – the friendliness of the students, the thoughtfulness Peddie students show, their creativity and energy.”

 

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Peddie Meets Anne L. Seltzer on Heads Day