Webb Schools Honor Trio of Academic Leaders with 2022 Perry Awards

The Webb Schools have recognized Fine Arts Department Chair Stefanie K. Plumley, Director of Teaching and Learning Resources Dr. Mark Dzula and Director of Experiential Education Dr. Susanna Linsley as recipients of the 2022 Perry Awards for their dedicated service to students.

The awards were announced Sept. 30 during Webb’s annual Family Weekend.

“The Perry Award recognizes our teachers for their extraordinary dedication to the growth and development of Webb students,” Head of Schools Taylor B. Stockdale said. “Today’s honorees exemplify all that is best about Webb’s faculty.”

The awards are named for Les and Barbara Perry, who served at Webb from 1946 to 1976. Les Perry was athletic director, head football coach, head basketball coach, head baseball coach, advisor to the Block W Club, math teacher and assistant head under both Steve Longley and Fred Hooper.

Barbara Perry was a committed dorm parent, providing students with much needed support. She also hosted seniors for breakfast on Sundays and organized table seating in the Price Dining Hall. Together, they made an indelible mark on Webb. Legions of Webb alumni continue to profess their gratitude for a couple.

The award’s financial gift can be used for a variety of purposes: sabbatical support, study abroad, conference attendance, research, continuing education, and more.

Stefanie K. Plumley

Director of Studies Michael Hoe lauded Plumley, who not only leads the Fine Arts Department, but also directs all student plays and musicals. Plumley has worked as an educator for 20 years, including 15 at Webb.

“In the past three years, Ms. Plumley has been tested, tried and thrown every single wrench possible in trying to navigate how to run our arts program. However, with incredible grace, flexibility, and empathy, she has been able to not just allow our arts program survive, but thrive throughout the pandemic,” Hoe said.

Plumley managed to stage a play with student actors who lived across the globe appearing remotely, shifted arts programs outdoors and engaged students effectively online in a field that relies heavily on in-person contact.

“Whether it was the outdoor play production during the peak pandemic, the outdoor concerts and rehearsals, the revival of Mamma Mia!, the outdoor dance performance, or otherwise, Ms. Plumley has been able to provide a full, engaging, and incredibly rich experience for all of our students,” he said.

He also noted her leadership in the department.

“Her dedication and passion to the program has helped fuel growth at our more advanced level courses, and she continues to find ways to push the boundaries of our program in an unbounded way,” Hoe said.

Dr. Mark Dzula

Hoe praised Dzula for his ability to serve in multiple, highly critical roles at Webb – and then some. In addition to his role as director of teaching and learning resources, Dzula is a dorm parent for Jones Dormitory, a journalism teacher, advisor to the Webb Canyon Chronicle, accreditation coordinator, Jubilee coordinator, COVID testing center coordinator and plays bass in a band.

Dzula, an educator for 15 years, has been at Webb for eight years.

“What Dr. Mark Dzula has been able to juggle and do has been nothing short of incredible,” Hoe said. “His willingness to adapt, be flexible and jump into any roles that Webb needs is just a fraction of how much he means to our community.”

“Dr. Dzula has done a phenomenal job in creating a safe, nurturing, inclusive and open residential community. Similarly, in the library, Dr. Dzula has done an incredible job creating an inclusive, inviting and studious space to ensure that students have somewhere to go to focus, be productive and also still feel like they are part of a community. In the classroom, Dr. Dzula has elevated our journalism program to national prominence, winning countless awards for his role in overseeing our student-run newspaper.”

Most recently, Dzula took over responsibility for Webb’s COVID testing center.

“From staffing the testing center to overseeing the data entry and reporting to thinking about the schedules and protocols for our community, much of the time and energy that he has put into this process is not publicly visible,” he said. “But it certainly has not gone unnoticed.”

Dr. Susanna Linsley

Linsley guides her peers in incorporating experiential elements into their instruction, an essential element of the Alf Method of instruction that is core to Webb’s pursuit of unbounded education. She also runs Webb’s Junior Scholars Summer Program, coordinates Webb’s trips program and the biennial Unbounded Days, and teaches courses in Webb’s Humanities Department.

Director of Faculty Michael Szanyi praised Linsley – who has been at Webb for eight years – for guiding her students to new discoveries.

“Suzi Linsley is not shy in moving herself, or her students out of their comfort zones,” he said. “Whether it’s through her leadership, her classes or through the vital programs in Unbounded Days and the Summer Junior Scholars Program that she leads that are central to our mission, Suzi acts to cultivate our curiosity and desire to connect to the world around us.”

Linsley, he noted, has a history of this type of work. In 2017, she traveled to Oaxaca to practice Spanish and build comfort and familiarity working and traveling in Mexico. The experience helped inform her instruction for such classes as Global Indigenous Studies, the Politics and Culture of the U.S. Mexico Border and Latin American Studies.

“Since that trip, Suzi has been thinking a lot about how she could return to Mexico for a longer period and about how she could make exploring the Spanish language and exploring the world in Spanish a bigger part of her life and her children’s lives. In other words, Suzi aims to live her own pedagogy, eager to put herself in new and challenging situations that offer the opportunity to struggle, explore, and create – and ultimately to fuel her commitment to doing this type of experiential work with students,” he said.

September 30, 2022

15:11 PM PDT