GouldSPOTLIGHT: Tracey Wilkerson
Name: Tracey Wilkerson
High School: Kent Place School
College/Grad School: Middlebury College
At Gould, I am a teacher of Spanish language and cultures. I am a teacher of Food Science and Systems. I am a teaching farmer and director of Farm and Forest. I am an advisor for a few pretty awesome kids and their families. I am an advisor for the student-led environmental group, Gould Goes Green. I am a weekend opportunity maker. I am a study hall dorm coach. I am a dog scratcher.
Proudest Achievement: Recently… launching and sustaining Gould’s Veterinary Science Immersion Camps. I don’t know of any other veterinary science camp that offers as much authentic hands-on experience as Gould’s. Pretty awesome to have our own farm to partner with the Vet Science programs.
Last book I read: The Circus Ship, by Chris Van Dusen. A boat, carrying a circus, is traveling through Maine coastal waters when the ship wrecks on a shoal in the fog. The circus animals make their way to a small island, where they become part of the community. Bedtime still includes book reading and story telling for our kids.
My soundtrack is: Depends and changes. Right now, if I’m making dinner it’s likely to be Jack Johnson. If I’m cleaning the house, Contemporary Bollywood. I don’t understand the words, but it’s hard not to move with Bollywood dance music in the background!
Movie I would recommend: Favorite move is still Dances with Wolves. Remember the part when the horse, Cisco, comes back? Yup, me too.
Favorite food: Favorite? Whoa. Eating is experience, and I savor all experience. Gotta say though, I think I found my favorite foods when I was in China with Gould students. Such a variety of flavors, textures, temperatures, spices…
One word that describes me: Authentic
Best advice I ever received: Try it. And I did. Again and again.
Why Gould? There are so many ways for students to be good at something at Gould. We’re all about academics here, but not ONLY about academics. Kids are encouraged to live full and live well here. They’re encouraged to explore and discover things they care about. They’re allowed and expected to be different from each other, and acceptance is the norm. Our students treat each other well, and that’s a culture that’s easy to support 100%.
What’s the last thing you crossed off your bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list. I can’t imagine saying, “well, that’s done… CHECK! On to the next.” In my reality, one experience leads to another, and another and another. Bucket list seems to imply “one and done.” It has a terminal implication that doesn’t sit well with me. My real “bucket” list? Have dinner with my family. Roast marshmallows as the sun sets. Work so hard that the sweat pours. Offer help when it’s not expected. Accept a compliment. Listen like nothing else matters. Seek the steepest part of my learning curve. Keep my eyes, ears, heart, and passport open.
What are your interests/hobbies? Farming. Small-scale responsible forestry. Animals. Skiing. I love animals, and I love farming. We have a grass-based farm ten minutes outside of town. Rotating our cattle through green pastures and making/feeding hay keeps us busy. And horses. Everything associated with horses keeps me happy. Right now we have 3. Teddy, an off-track thoroughbred who can go all day, dance fancy, or gallop and jump. Lance, a draft cross who is an all-terrain unflappable tank. Dinah, a Percheron mare who has been a teaching partner at Gould’s farm for many years. She has worked as a woods horse, a farm-chore horse, a fancy wedding horse, and a riding horse. Working with horses/animals and people feeds my soul and fills my sails.
What is your spirit animal? Elefante