Ms. Wendy Levithan Honored with Cullman Teaching Chair


Wendy Carlson

Ms. Levithan has been teaching at the school for the past 21 years.

As Mr. Craig Bradley, head of school, would say, “Toutes nos félicitations à Madame Levithan!”
Ms. Wendy Levithan P’23, instructor in French, was awarded The Edgar M. Cullman Teaching Chair on January 31 at an all-school ceremony in Elfers Hall. The award was presented by Mr. Bradley and Dr. Merrilee Mardon, dean of faculty.
The chair was established by Joseph Cullman ’31 in honor of his brother, Edgar Cullman ’36. Now, the annual award is given to a faculty member who shows outstanding commitment to teaching and the school community.
Ms. Levithan has played many roles during her 21 years at the school, including serving as the head of the Language Department and teaching French. She created the new Language and Culture Center (LCC), a space uniquely geared toward language tutoring and immersion. Ms. Levithan also helped build up the French curriculum, organizing trips such as the annual Quebec trip for 300-level French students to provide immersion experiences.
Ms. Levithan’s commitment to the community does not stop at the Language Department. Outside the classroom, she has served on a number of committees, including the Dress Code Committee, Curriculum Review Committee, and the Independent School Gender Project. She has also served as a dorm affiliate in Tinker, an advisor, and a coach for JV Girls Tennis.
In response to her award, Ms. Levithan said, “I feel tremendously humbled and honored… I have committed many personal and professional years to Hotchkiss, and I love teaching, I love what we try to create here together, and I have tried to be a principled, committed, and honest part of Hotchkiss’ dialogue and evolution.”
Mr. Abdoulaye Fall, instructor in French, who has worked with Ms. Levithan for 15 years, said, “[Ms. Levithan] is dedicated to students. She sees teaching second languages as a way to bridge cultural gaps, and she readily acknowledges that perfection will remain an aspiration.”
Brian Haywood ’21 took French 470 with Ms. Levithan last year. Although he had previously taken French, he believes his language skills improved tremendously after his class with Ms. Levithan. Haywood said, “When I wasn’t confident in my French, Ms. Levithan showed me [that] it is okay to make mistakes, which made me more comfortable with speaking. Beyond the classroom, Ms. Levithan is a really great person to have conversations with about anything.”
A video of the awards ceremony is available on the school website.