Leigh Friedman - Retired Faculty & Staff - McDonogh School

Leigh Friedman

Leigh Friedman knows a thing or two about mountain climbing. She talks to her fifth graders each year about how to successfully traverse the Middle School and plant their flags at the summit of Mt. McDonogh. Together, this teacher and her students verbally examine everything the new middle schoolers are carrying in their proverbial backpacks. They decide what is useful to hang on to and what is simply extra weight. Gently, Leigh helps them let go of the things that make their journey harder while keeping the essentials, such as their moral compasses. She is the best trail guide these young adolescents could have. 

Leigh came to McDonogh in 1996 with experience as a physical education teacher and athletic director. The following year she joined the fifth-grade team and began to teach Wellness classes. For the next 24 years, she researched, revised, and rewrote that curriculum, incorporating her growing expertise into the content and strategies that have made the Wellness program so successful. 

Because Leigh covers topics such as alcohol and drug abuse, human sexuality, puberty, and reproduction, it was essential that she establish an atmosphere of trust among her students, their parents, and herself. She created an open and safe atmosphere where any conversations that emerged were supported. One colleague notes, “She is a staunch advocate for students, and she never hesitates to remind us of their perspective.”  

Leigh is also someone who is committed to her own professional development. She strives each year to improve her teaching and expand her skills. She practices what she preaches to the kids: if she doesn’t know how to do something, she reaches out for help. Conversely, she is just as willing to support her colleagues in whatever ways she can.

Leigh, we will miss your smile and your upbeat approach to everything. We thank you for all you have done, and we wish you a long and happy retirement. Stay well! 

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