I met Mrs. Bisbee during my interview in 1976. I clearly recall sitting in her classroom in the old Upper School, the larger room that faced Cranmer Park. She was teaching the often abused irregular verbs, lie vs lay. The ninth graders echoed the sentiments of so many students who have studied the unusual forms of these verbs. I recall laughing-- not so loudly, I hope -- of one young man who huffed and puffed about the craziness of “had lain.”
I treasure a tiny watercolor Sally painted many years ago for the Graland Craft Fair. I purchased it for my mother as a stocking stuffer one Christmas. It remains a fixture on the wall in my study in New Jersey.
Valerie Gates ’69, one of Sally’s former students, delivered this touching tribute to Mrs. Bisbee at our first Master Teachers’ reception:
“Sally skipped her senior year of high school to attend Rockford College, where she pursued her fascination with political science. She had the honor of being the first woman ever admitted into Northwestern Law School. In 1954, her teaching career began at Rowland Hall, a girls’ boarding school in Utah
“Sally interviewed in Denver with Georgia Nelson, who hired her to teach English at Graland in the fall of 1956. She became the English Department chair soon after. Sally was a born teacher who thrived on connecting with her students and witnessing their progress. She expected her students to stretch, and she helped them reach beyond their own expectations. Children whose lives were touched by Sally Bisbee are lifelong learners who will remain richer for having known her.”
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.