Awarded to a faculty member who immeasurably enriches the minds and hearts of students, this year’s Greer Chair Award honors Mercedes Taylor. Mrs. Taylor, who serves as a role model in and outside the classroom, has without a doubt, been voted for this award by Deefield students who persistently voiced their appreciation and gratitude.
A passionate and inspiring teacher, Mrs. Taylor has been working at Deerfield for the past 14 years. Starting as a Spanish teacher, Mrs. Taylor later moved to teaching art in 2012 and has done so for the last eight years. Despite her packed schedule – two sections of AP Studio Drawing, a Post AP studio class, another class of Topics Tutorial, afternoon art co-curricular, and coordinating educational programs in the von Auersperg Art Gallery – Mrs. Taylor continually sustains a welcoming and helpful persona.
She describes her experience teaching Deerfield students as “transforming, inspiring, and enriching.” Mrs. Taylor deeply invests into her students’ growth with great care and sincerity. Maddie Lee ’20 recalled how Mrs. Taylor “…always led by example and kindness, and brightened the room with her own kind of energy.” Lee also credited much of her personal growth to Mrs. Taylor, candidly explaining,“The thing about art classes (acting, music, drawing, etc.) is that you need someone there with you who is willing to guide you, but won’t step on your toes, and Mrs. Taylor was the first one to do that for me in my life.”
When former art teacher Mr. David Dickinson retired, Mrs. Taylor had big shoes to fill. However, Mrs. Taylor has undoubtedly shaped the arts program at Deerfield in her own unique way. She was always open-minded to new ideas, actively finding resources for her students and opening up new opportunities such as planning local museum visits and a new CSGC trip exploring London art and society. Benny Yang ’21 said, “Mrs. Taylor is constantly looking for ways to improve the program by adding more meaningful pieces and incorporating other fields of studies.” Through her endless efforts, Mrs. Taylor brought many valuable reforms to Deerfield arts and a refreshing outlook to many student’s perspectives on art. Yang added, “Mrs. Taylor finds a [great] balance between encouraging her students and pushing them out of their comfort zones, which is very important for us to improve our techniques and ideas while also maintaining our interest [in] art.”
Mrs. Taylor’s relentless commitment and enthusiasm working at Deerfield is evident in her active engagement throughout the school: in student life, co-curriculars, academics, and coordinating events in the von Auersperg Art Gallery. She truly made a lasting impact on Deerfield’s arts programs and her students. “I feel so honored and grateful to the Greer family for creating this award,” Mrs. Taylor said, “and to colleagues, students and members of this community who inspire me and energize my days and teaching.”