Ms. Repp reflects on retirement

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It’s not very often that, at a school with just 75 teachers, one would find two middle school teachers with the same last name: Repp. While this is only a minor coincidence, it is bound to create some confusion. The solution? Each teacher has their own moniker. This fortuitous coincidence gave Middle School math teacher Jane Repp the title of “Ms. Math Repp,” which couldn’t be more fitting. Ms. Repp’s passion for math and care for her students has brought joy to the KO Middle School for the past 37 years, and this year she will begin her retirement.

Ms. Repp began teaching at KO in 1985. Prior to KO, Ms. Repp taught at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Mass., and at a Pre-K-8 school in Boston; these experiences all make up her remarkable 42-year-long teaching career.

Ms. Repp received her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Denison University in Granville, Ohio. At Denison, she discovered a love for psychology and the science behind learning.

Ahead of her graduation, Ms. Repp began the tedious job-interview process. Along the way, she interviewed with a recruiter for a teaching job, and from there, the rest was history. Teaching was the perfect marriage of her two key interests in math and educational psychology. “I loved kids, and I knew I wanted to do something with children, but I hadn’t really thought about teaching,” Ms. Repp shared. “Then when I thought about teaching math, I realized it was perfect – how I can be involved with young people and also teach them something that I love.”

During her tenure at KO, Ms. Repp has been a devoted member of the math department, teaching Middle School math during all 37 of her years at the school. In addition to academics, KO’s athletic department has seen Ms. Repp’s passion and care through her longtime role as a coach of the cross country teams. 

And to complete the trifecta, Ms. Repp has worn many administrative hats, holding titles throughout her career including Chair of the Middle School Math Department, Associate Director of the Middle School, Director of the Middle School, and the Director of Teaching and Learning.

While Ms. Repp has had a hand in every aspect of the KO experience, her true love is teaching math.  “My favorite thing is being a math teacher,” she said. “That’s why I always come back to it.”

As she heads onto new adventures with her retirement, Ms. Repp will miss the people at KO the most, both her students and colleagues, and the supportive dynamic of the community. “I love the way that we connect with students,” Ms. Repp shared, “how we’re all in it together. You’re learning, I’m learning. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s incredible. That is just really special.”

One of the most memorable and rewarding aspects of Ms. Repp’s time at KO each year is teaching sixth-graders. “[I love] when they do a project where they discover or learn something and they can see the power in it,” she said.

A project she noted is titled ‘Data About Us,’ in which students use math to answer the question: Are you a typical KO Middle School student? In this project, students collect data, create statistics, calculate averages, and graph their results. “It uses something interesting to them, and it’s fun,” Ms. Repp shared. “They learn so many things about math. What’s great about being a teacher is when you get to have moments like that.”

In addition to influencing the lives and learning of countless students in the math classroom, Ms. Repp left a lasting impact on KO’s Middle School by pioneering the double-period block schedule. Prior to entering her role as Head of the Middle School, Ms. Repp was on a committee that looked to reassess the middle school schedule. “We decided that we were going to really change the schedule and go to double periods, only meeting every other day, which is how it works currently,” she described.

The committee worked tirelessly towards this vision for a year, setting up the schedule, doing practice runs, and participating in professional development. “When we did it, it was perfect,” Ms. Repp reflected. “It was amazing to be part of something that the whole Middle School faculty had worked together on, and to see it just click. We had so nailed it because we knew what we wanted and what was good for the kids. It was amazing.”

During her retirement, Ms. Repp is most looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren, seeing family in different parts of the country, and enjoying her favorite hobbies. “I’ll read, go running, do pottery, visit my family, and spend time with friends,” she said. “I’m looking forward to retirement.”

Ms. Repp hopes to impart one last piece of advice to her math students. “If you don’t know or can’t do something, it’s only that you can’t do it yet,” she shared. “Try and embed this belief in yourself that ‘I haven’t learned it yet, but I’ll listen to the teacher, practice, ask questions, but of course, I can learn it’. Believe in your own ability to figure things out, and it may take longer than you want, but you can learn anything.”

Throughout her storied 37-year tenure at KO as a teacher, coach, advisor, leader, and friend, Ms. Repp has instilled confidence and a love of learning within countless students. We are so grateful for her innumerable contributions and wish her the best of luck in her retirement!