Jeffrey Pratt Beedy passed away at the age of 72 on April 12, 2023. With sadness and empathy, New Hampton School remembers former headmaster Dr. Beedy as a passionate believer in the strength of community and as an intellect that helped guide the School into a new era—and twelve years of students into the next chapters of their educations, careers, and purposes.
Jeff officially became New Hampton School’s 21st headmaster on July 2, 1992, joined by his wife Anne who served as the director of development, and his two daughters Amanda and Bailey. At this time, Jeff’s mission was clear to him. He shared, “As headmaster, it is my goal to create an educational environment that cherishes the life of the mind, encourages intellectual curiosity and creativity, and celebrates academic excellence. Equally important, it is my mission to educate good people—people with clear values about right and wrong, people who care about growing and maintaining a strength of character that will help them to stand for a purpose higher than themselves.” These early words reflected not only his mission but his promise.
Dr. Beedy brought a new philosophy of education to New Hampton School. The Total Human Development Model [THD] had as its guiding principles the mission to nurture and shape the whole person within the whole community. The school-wide culture and curriculum were built around a development philosophy that informed everything the school did while embracing our core values of respect and responsibility. THD provided the philosophical blueprint underlying the construction of five curriculum-driven dormitories; the 18,000 sq. ft. Academic Research Center; and the 30,000 sq. ft. Arts and Athletics Center. In 2002, New Hampton School’s commitment to character education was recognized by the Character Education Partnership by its selection as a National School of Character. At the time, New Hampton was the only private school to have received such recognition.
Even with these accolades to his credit, Dr. Beedy’s greatest and most enduring achievement at the School may perhaps be his authentic connection with the student body. This era is remembered for meeting students where they were in their education, for teaching them to stand out, and for unifying the community across a diverse spectrum of backgrounds. When Jeff and his wife Anne arrived on campus, they made it their mission to lead with passion and purpose. Together they devoted themselves wholeheartedly to improving the student experience and the New Hampton community. Jeff asked students to come as they are, and he asked the community to accept and celebrate them as they were. Alumni of these days frequently remember him as much for his guitar skills—proficiently performing classics like Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” at school meetings—as they remember him for running shoeless across campus, for being a master of moguls on the ski slopes, and for making their school feel like a home. He believed that students should be known, needed, and cared for and that they should have a say in the learning process. Dr. Beedy took care to learn about each student and address them by their first name. They were known, they were cared for, and they belonged.
Dr. Beedy also inspired many alumni during his time at New Hampton School. One such group included the Class of 1949, who celebrated their 50th Reunion in 1999. While welcoming contributions from all community members and future scholarship recipients, they named an endowment in his honor. The Jeffrey Pratt Beedy Scholarship was crafted to support a deserving student of great intellectual capacity and other stellar qualities demonstrated through their academics, co-curricular activities, and commitment to the New Hampton community. Since 2001, it has impressively supported eight students’ journeys and remains one of the most significant named-scholarship gifts at New Hampton School. These alumni have moved forward from New Hampton to become educators, artists, musicians, journalists, and more.
In June 2004, Dr. Beedy departed New Hampton School and began a new journey with more schools, programs, and students to inspire in the years that would follow. Trustee Jason Pilalas ’58 shared, “Jeff came to New Hampton at a very difficult time in the School’s history. In his twelve years of service, Jeff’s vision and leadership have transformed our school: We now embrace a distinctive and inspiring mission, one that New Hampton can build on for years to come. As we say goodbye to Jeff, we also say, with deep appreciation, ‘Thank you for your excellent work.'”
Preceding the arrival of the School’s Bicentennial celebration, the New Hampton community was reunited in many ways with Dr. Beedy. Head of School Joe Williams embraced the opportunity to reconnect with former heads of school and community leaders and was honored to meet and speak with Jeff. Joe shares, “It was important for me to connect with previous heads of school at New Hampton to build relationships and learn from those who share the important stewardship role for our community. Getting to know Jeff over the years feels even more rewarding now. When he talked about New Hampton, the people he worked with, the programs he advanced, and the students he cared for, I could see the glimmer in his eyes. His recognition of the needs of young people, his commitment to their development, and his hope for their futures were evident in every conversation I had with him and what his former students loved about him. I am grateful for the effort he made to be on campus for our Bicentennial Celebration and for generously sharing his wisdom with me while demonstrating his continued care for New Hampton School.”
Thankfully, though the celebration was delayed a whole year due to the pandemic, Jeff returned to campus once more in June 2022 alongside his daughters—Amanda Beedy Morrison ’96 and Bailey Beedy Smith ’06—to partake in the weekend-long event. Even with his health in a fragile state, Dr. Beedy welcomed the celebration with open arms, energized by the many former students and colleagues embracing his return. His visit also included a walk to the newly-renovated Gordon-Nash Library to view the portraits of the former headmasters—his own now hung with care among the stacks and airy windows on the campus he called home for more than a decade. We will miss his conversations and connection and are grateful for the spirit he infused into our alumni over the years.
Dr. Beedy held master’s and doctorate degrees in education from Harvard University. Before arriving at New Hampton, he served as a dean at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. Jeff also prided himself on being a teaching fellow to Pulitzer Prize-winning psychologist Dr. Robert Coles, co-teaching a course at Harvard. Jeff was the founder and director of the New Sport Experience Camp in Kents Hill, ME, and the author of several pedagogical books, including “Dancing with Natives”, a philosophical novel about how adolescents experience their lives, and “Positive Learning Using Sports: The New Science of Sports-Based Education”, a book that challenges us to use sports in building positive character traits in students to grow positive characteristics in our culture.
Jeff played in the Cape Cod Baseball League and skied in the freestyle tour. As avid musicians, Jeff and his wife Karyn performed professionally as the Nadia and Jocko Band.
A celebration of life will be hosted on campus on Sunday, June 4, at 10:00 am, during Reunion Weekend 2023.
Please join us in thinking of Jeff’s family and friends in the days ahead. You may share memories, view photo memories, and more in remembrance of Jeff Beedy online at www.newhampton.org/jeff-beedy.