by Rob Kahn
Listening to Wendy Taylor reminisce about her Landmark career brings to mind the wisdom of Mark Twain: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never work a day in your life.” Wendy reflects on her 44 years of faculty service with a deep sense of mission as an educator and an obvious love for the many and varied experiences that five decades at Landmark have offered.
Wendy has quite literally devoted her professional life to Landmark. In 1977, an index card in the employment office at Wheelock College sounded like an interesting summer job. She has never tired of the exploratory drive that enchanted her as a new college graduate, offering “five beautiful views of the ocean” en route from Marblehead to Manchester-by-the-Sea. The commute and the campus impressed this recent Education grad as a nice opportunity: the rest, as they say, is history!
A lifelong Marblehead native, Wendy saw herself as an instructor early on, helping her mother at the dance studio. Landmark colleague Ann Larsen was a rival in junior high swim meets. Wendy herself loves swimming and lifeguarded throughout her high school years; and Wendy later married her husband Keith two decades after they first met in kindergarten! Wendy recounts early Landmark days teaching, working in the dorm, house-parenting in an Endicott college dorm, and hostessing weekends at Derby Street restaurant in Salem.
At “North Campus” (now the Elementary•Middle School) in the ’70s, Wendy tutored, taught Social Studies, and Language Arts. The student profile in those days was perhaps more expansive than present day. She recalls a Language Arts class in what is now the Health Center where a student decided to leave via a window rather than the door. She also remembers valiantly driving to campus during the blizzard of ’78 to relieve stranded colleagues after three straight days of closed roads.
A unique role in Wendy’s Landmark history includes the early Vision Therapy classes. Students practiced improving visual efficiency with pencil pushups, the Marsden Ball, tachistoscopes, and the Brock String. She was a member of the Landmark cohort in Lesley University’s graduate school in the early ‘80s, and she played a key part in bringing social and emotional learning into the lives of boarders in the early years, serving as Special Events coordinator for banquets, parties, Spring flings, and winter carnivals.
As a Landmark veteran, Wendy has held her main role through successive incarnations as a ‘supervisor’, ‘case manager’, and ‘academic advisor.’ Though the label changed, Wendy’s approach remained consistently centered on the students in her caseload. She has always been the first in the office each morning, reading files, making notes, arranging her observations and her own tutoring calendar, and in the recent pandemic year, tutoring remotely through Google Classroom. Through it all, she has maintained a singular focus on what’s best for her students.
Reflecting back on her own early experiences with tutoring at age 9, Wendy displays a written report noting test progress, and in true Wendy and Landmark fashion states: “The test scores are exciting, but it’s about way more than just the numbers. It’s really about the confidence that each student gains. Dr. Drake used to say it was all of us together, working with that student, that can make the difference.” Wendy characteristically deflects attention from her own part in that progress, but countless students, families, and faculty would credit her caring efforts as critical to their success. Landmark adds its gratitude to theirs for a lifetime of commitment to the mission.