A Tribute to Dan Entwisle
Ann Lanpher

A Tribute to Dan Entwisle

Presented in an All-School Meeting for Business in February, 2020

Dan Entwisle has been a dedicated member of the Sidwell Friends faculty since his arrival in 1992, tirelessly serving the institution and its students.  Enumerating just a few of the ways gives a sense of his many talents and his deep commitment to our school community.  Dan served as head football coach for 5 seasons; head of the English department for 8 years; member of the Admissions Committee, Honor Committee, numerous search committees, clerk of the Senior Projects Committee, and representative to the Head’s Advisory Board.  He has taught a wide variety of English courses, ranging from Russian Literature to Comedy to World Novella.  He started the paper recycling program here, which he still supervises for work program, and has been a longtime faculty advisor for the Chess Club.  In addition to all this, Dan was for many years a Sidwell Friends parent to graduates Amy (‘08) and Laura (‘10).

Even with such a list, it is impossible to convey the ways in which Dan will be sorely missed when he retires.  He has been a true friend and mentor to many of us in the Upper School and especially to the current teachers in the English Department.  Ever professional and collegial, Dan has generously granted his advice, patience, and trust to help us become better teachers.  His wisdom and measured way of speaking, whether in private conversation or collective Meetings for Business, have allowed us to make better decisions.  He is reliably a good sounding board and good company.  In short, Dan’s kindness, curiosity, keen sense of humor, and unflagging belief in the value of the literature are inspiring to us all.

Dan has meant as much to his students as to his colleagues over the years.  He has been a devoted advisor and teacher to hundreds of students in his nearly three decades of teaching at Sidwell Friends and over four decades of a career which began at Friends Central in 1975.  Out of the classroom, Dan is a one-man booster club for students, quietly attending performances and sporting events and knowledgeably congratulating them on their accomplishments.  In the classroom, Dan strikes a wonderful balance of both academic rigor and joyful exploration of literature; his students learn how to read well, think critically, and express ideas in elegant prose, all while having a really good time together.  Ultimately, there is a lot of laughter in his class and much appreciation for the intellectual discovery he has helped make possible.  Dan’s talent and dedication has been recognized with a Goldberg Family Award for Teaching Excellence from Sidwell Friends, and most recently in 2019, with a University of Chicago Outstanding Educator prize, which gives newly admitted students an opportunity to recognize a teacher who has made a difference in their lives.  With characteristic humility, Dan gave credit for the prize to the student himself, noting how much the student had grown during his time at Sidwell Friends. It is a well-deserved acknowledgement, however.  Dan is truly an outstanding teacher, as hardworking now as when he first arrived, who daily earns his students’ respect and affection.

It will be difficult to say goodbye to Dan and impossible to replace him, but we will make the most of the opportunity to celebrate his long and accomplished career at Sidwell Friends.  We wish him the best in this new chapter with his wife, Clare, and in all of his future endeavors.