Ms. Ildefonso Brings Energy, Kindness, Connection to History Department, Coaching

Ms.+Ildefonso+Brings+Energy%2C+Kindness%2C+Connection+to+History+Department%2C+Coaching

joanna chattman

The newest teacher on campus is no stranger to boarding schools, or top-level academic universities, and she brings her love of learning and her comfort with campus life to Williston’s history department.

Alexia Ildefonso, a 2020 graduate of Harvard University, is new to Williston, but she is a veteran of boarding schools. She went to St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware, and she decided to rejoin the boarding school community, after earning her Bachelor’s degree in History of Science.

St. Andrew’s School left a huge impact on her, she explained, and it is one of the main reasons why she got into teaching. “I loved it and I am still really close with all of my friends,” she said. “I’m still in touch with all of my teachers.”

“I really love school and learning so I mashed them together and thought boarding school would be a good option,” she continued.

Her connection with the community, the faculty members, and the students is what really made her decide Williston was the place for her.

Ildefonso told The Willistonian, “I had a really great chat with Peter and Meg Valine. I met them through a headhunter for independent schools, and I got matched with them in Boston.”

She continued, “They invited me to campus and I had a really great feeling. I felt like I connected really well with Sarah Klumpp [History and Global Studies Department Head]. I walked away having a really great feeling.”

She visited campus at the end of February, right before Covid-19 struck, and she immediately felt like it was the right place. “I thought the campus was so pretty and it’s a bigger school than what I went to,” she said. “The courses were amazing and the teachers here all do really cool things in their spare time. Everyone here is so interesting. The kids are all super great.”

Though she’s younger than most faculty, Ildefonso doesn’t feel like her age is an issue; instead she feels  it has helped her connect with students. “When I hear you guys talk about teenager things, I understand what you guys are saying. I understand the vocab,” she said.

The most challenging part in the classroom for Ildefonso is the technology. “I was initially nervous about it,” she said. There were little hiccups along the way. “I would’ve been talking for five minutes [on Zoom] and I’ve been mute the whole time, or I shared my screen when I wasn’t supposed to be sharing.”

Ildefonso currently teaches only ninth graders: humanities, history, and religion.

Not only is she a teacher, but she is also a dorm parent at Emily McFadon Vincent House, and coaches JV Field Hockey, Basketball, and Lacrosse.

Her favorite part about being a dorm parent is being able to talk to girls. “I love chatting with you guys. Especially when you have a good day or a nice relaxing week. It’s nice to hear about it,” she said.

Ildefonso enjoys coaching field hockey too. “It’s awesome. I love working with Sarah Klumpp. The girls are so fun and we have a really great time,” she said. “I wish that we can play games because they’re all returners and they’re really good. Playing with them is one of the highlights of my day.”

Kim Evelti, Director of Curriculum, enjoys working with Ildefonso, and praised her energy, kindness, and dedication. “She works hard on behalf of her students.”

Evelti, who lives in Emily McFadon Vincent House, joked, “She also likes to eat my baking, and I like her for that.”

Kat Livingston, a junior from Westerly, Rhode Island, said that Ildefonso is very helpful. “She’s very supportive and helps me get better [at field hockey],” she said. “She cheers us on and motivates me.”

Not only is Ildefonso Kat’s coach, she is also her dorm parent at EMV. “When she’s on duty I’ll come to the common room early to hang out with her.”