News Regarding Brittany Chase
With deep sadness and sorrow, I am writing to share that Brittany Chase, Senior Executive Assistant to Upper School Principal Mamadou Guèye for the past six years, passed away last night (January 30). She had been hospitalized for nearly two months, suffering from what her doctors believe was non-COVID related pneumonia and associated complications. Her medical team shared that they were humbled by Brittany’s case and moved by her kindness and determination. I am grateful for parent members of the Sidwell Friends community who ensured that Brittany received the highest level of care, and to our Health Services Team, especially Jasmin Whitfield and Anneke Collins, who worked closely with Brittany and her family throughout her struggle. Ashley Moore, our School Registrar and Brittany’s long-time close friend, has done a heroic job of coordinating communication and care.
Brittany was an extraordinary person. She began her service to the School in 2015 and, as you may remember, warmly greeted Upper School students with a smile every day. By offering a welcoming space and lending an ear when needed, she made a home for countless students, parents, and colleagues in the Upper School. In addition to leading operations in the Upper School Principal’s office, she was the founding advisor of the Black Girls Society, where she built deep and lasting relationships with students and gave them space to discuss meaningful issues and find love and support. Brittany also served as an advisor to the Black Student Union and co-supervised their annual production. Each year, we looked forward to hearing her beautiful voice and watching her interact with children across the divisions. Her leadership abilities and kindness were especially bright in these moments. A woman of faith and conviction, she always made sure that our BSU production had a strong spiritual foundation.
Brittany represented the best of the Sidwell Friends community and touched so many lives. She had a tremendous generosity of spirit and sense of hospitality that elicited the best in students and adults alike. Many colleagues enjoyed her “Bring It with Britt” Zumba classes, where Brittany created a warm and energizing environment for people to try new moves, build confidence, and, above all, deepen the sense of community that she so loved. In the words of a close colleague, she “demonstrated brilliance, beauty, generosity, courage, strength, and love” each and every day, including her last. In one of our text exchanges, Brittany wrote, “I am forever proud to be among the great #teamSidwell and I am currently fighting hard to be well once again and get back to who you all know, love, and depend on me to be.”
We have lost a dear friend who invested herself fully in our community, and we will need to focus on how we should care for her family and one another during this difficult time. Upper School will hold a Meeting for Worship to honor Brittany tomorrow morning, and our counseling team is preparing to have grief counselors available to students and faculty across each of the divisions. In addition, we are organizing a memorial Meeting for Worship that will welcome all members of the community, including alumni and Brittany’s family. As we do so, I ask that we especially hold her mother Lisa, sister Gabby, cousin Troi, and Ashley in the Light.
In this moment of grief, we will need to work collaboratively and respectfully with Brittany’s family to consider how we should honor her legacy and celebrate her life. We will communicate next steps and additional details shortly and will engage students, staff, faculty, young alumni, and parents in this process. Until then, I know that you join us in reflecting upon and giving thanks for the beauty and integrity with which Brittany let her life speak.
Head of School
Tributes to honor Brittany Chase. To collect as many messages or remembrances of Brittany to share with her family in a memory book, please send along your messages and photos if so moved. For videos or photos over the size limit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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