Beloved English teacher Tamara Neiley will step into a new role next fall as the Dean of the Class of 2028. Neiley has been at Pace for five years and in her time here, has coached soccer, won 3 state championships as a cross country coach, taught an overload of English classes, and mentored and taught the Knightly News. In 2021 Neiley was recognition for her teaching excellence with the Kessler Award, Pace’s most prestigious faculty award.

“Here at Pace I’ve worn a lot of different hats,” she said. In her new role, Neiley is most excited to build relationships with the students and looks forward to the change of pace. “Just like the day-to-day to be different,” she said. “I’m most excited to really build long-term relationships with the students and their families. I’m looking forward to solving problems and helping students come up with solutions to whatever their needs are.” 

Before coming to Pace, Neiley worked at a boarding school in Massachusetts where she was very involved. “I taught English classes, coached soccer and ice hockey, assisted student government and was a dorm parent. Since I had so many different roles, I knew I definitely wanted to be in a highschool environment but also be more than just a teacher to the students. I love getting to know students in different dynamics,” she said. Neiley left the New England boarding school to move to South Florida while her husband was playing professional ice hockey in Europe. Soon after, Neiley moved to Atlanta and came to Pace in 2019.  

Neiley knew that she wanted to be a teacher from her own boarding school experience, beginning at age 16. “When I was at Exeter, that was the first time I actually started to build relationships with my teachers and really understand how a teacher can be an advocate and a mentor.” Neiley also mentioned a senior teacher she was able to work with at Choate Rosemary Hall during an internship in college. “He had so much energy. He was brilliant, hilarious, personable and is still a role model to me today,” she said.  

When asked what her favorite part about Pace was, Neiley gave many answers. “I would say the community; the students and faculty are grateful to be here,” she said. “Pace students are dedicated, curious, personable, and I genuinely enjoy being around them.” She also mentioned the freedom she has in her classes. “I incorporate a lot of film because I have a background in film studies and I like to share that passion with my students. Pace allows me to do that, which is pretty special,” she said. Finally, Neiley spoke about how involved Pace students are. “We have students on newspaper who are also lacrosse players or they excel in math or they’re really involved with ICGL or the musical…Pace allows and encourages students to get involved.” 

The love Neiley has for Pace is certainly reciprocated and she is loved by all of her students. “I absolutely adore Mrs. Neiley because she makes class so fun and is always willing to help her students in any way shape or form. She is a friend to all!” said Senior Ansley Freudenstein. 

Looking forward to next fall, Neiley gave some advice for the upcoming freshman. “Let’s do ninth grade right,” she said. “Get to know your teachers. Your teachers are there to support you, they want to help you and watch you succeed. Let’s take it day-by-day. You know, let’s figure out how to be 14-year-olds.”

Mrs. Neiley poses with the Knightly News staff on the staff retreat last August.

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