After 38 years of service to The Lexington School, Marijo Foster is retiring. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean we won’t see her. In fact, we know she will continue to make her mark. Here is a tribute to her…and her little dog too!In 1978, gas cost 79 cents, a dozen eggs was $.42, and to buy
Radio Shack Tandy TRS80 computer, you had to cough up $399.00. Here’s an Everyday Math problem for you: How much change has Marijo Foster seen in her 38 years at The Lexington School?
She would say “a lot” and “a little.” Indeed, the cost of getting to school from her beloved farm in Jessamine County has increased; so has enrollment. There are lots of other changes too, from technology to food service, physical plant, faculty, and the list goes on and on. For 38 years in a sundry of school roles, Marijo has affected and embraced change but for one thing on which she never wavered: The Lexington School must stay true to its heart, to a core mission that in her words “maximizes each and every child’s individual potential.” Let it be so; that is still who we are.
In 1978, TLS hired Marijo as a part-time Math teacher for just one year. She never left. In fact, by making her work so valuable, she made herself indispensable. In good, independent school fashion, she did pretty much anything that needed to be done. She taught Math, ran the school store, headed up the “Middle School,” then grades 4-6, directed professional development. She laughs now that at one point she was even in charge of busing. Yes, busing. She’s worn many hats, but the most recent one she’s donned since 2002 is Lower School Head, and it is likely one of her favorites; remember, she has lots.
Marijo loves working with children, and they love her. She reads to them, eats with them, talks to them, advocates for them. Each day, each year, she has a posse that hangs out in her office or around her lunch table eager for her attention, excited to chat about life. She talks to them like little adults, commenting, responding, enduring what some grownups would find burdensome child ramblings. But not Marijo. She encourages their imaginations, and she goes there with them and stays until the story has played itself out.
Kids who make mistakes? She loves them too, sometimes the most because as a teacher, she knows there is a teaching moment that is about to happen when she asks the questions and watches those little eyes alight in the awareness of what went wrong and how to fix it. Kids, parents, teachers, co-administrators, school staff, alumni…In one way or another, Marijo has taught thousands of people over her 38 years at TLS. She is a teacher.
She’s a little angsty about leaving. She’s worried we might stop playing the ukulele. She’s not sure what will happen to Weekly Words, a parenting column she’s written for over ten years. She’s worried no one will remember Founders Day on September 14th. That’s her birthday, so she always remembers. She shares that connection with the school; that and so much more.
Marijo feels tied to The Lexington School well beyond working here. She’s a teacher, administrator, former parent, and now BEST friend to the school. She’s taking on yet another role, and in her fashion, she will make herself indispensable.
In fact, she’s already completed her first project. In typical Marijo humor, she said she wasn’t up for writing a book (everyone has asked her to), but she’d be happy to write a BOOKMARK! “Mark My Words,” her 38 thoughts for 38 years is coming out soon, and rest assured, her parenting tips are spot on as always.
As she starts this new chapter, we will miss her (and her little dog too), but we know two things: she’ll keep working to make her mark and she’ll ALWAYS love The Lexington School.