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In memory of Diana Nichols

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Diana Nichols, former chair of the board of trustees and school leader, died on Sept. 2 in her home in Carmel due to pancreatic cancer. Family members, faculty, staff and students attended a memorial service on Oct. 6 to commemorate Nichols.

Winged Post spoke to upper school staff and faculty members about Nichols’s life, legacy and contributions to the Harker School. Here are their stories.

Provided by Office of Communications
“We really owe it to [her],” assistant head of school Jennifer Gargano said. “It is hard to say what she has contributed because it is hard to say what she has not.”

“Her life was one you never thought would be extinguished and the fact of the matter is it never will be.” —Cindy Ellis, Community Liaison and former Head of Middle School

Advocate

Provided by Office of Communications
Nichols embarks on an outdoor adventure with family and friends.

“She was a tree lover. She was a devout environmentalist. She felt very strongly about saving the environment, doing everything that she could, and she definitely integrated it in her classroom and her personal life.” — Mike Bassoni, Director of Facilities

Provided by Office of Communications
Nichols visits China on a trip in 2004.

“She had me train and create a gender equity curriculum for grades K-8. She believed in giving all children equal opportunity. She [and] Howard [Nichols] were dynamic and benevolent. There was a culture that was created with the school, and it was a positive culture of hard work, equality and kindness.” — Enid Davis, former K-12 Library Director

Provided by Office of Communications
Nichols poses with her husband and former head of school Howard Nichols, who died in 2008.

Educator

Provided by Office of Communications
Nichols, who started out at Harker as a biology teacher in 1973, engages with a student during the early 80s.

“She always was very clear about the right thing to do for the students. She was a champion for our academic programs. Her passion was about [creating] the best possible experience for her students and giving the teachers the resources they need.” — Pam Dickinson, Office of Communications Director

Provided by Office of Communications
A 1970s-era Nichols looks over a student project.

“This is a woman who really connected with the higher ideal; she reassured the students to say violence is never the answer; we are one and we have to figure out how to resolve our conflicts on this planet without the use of violence.” — Diana Moss, upper school Spanish teacher

Provided by Office of Communications
Nichols, an advocate of STEM education, chats with students in the laboratory.

Leader

Provided by Office of Communications
Nichols speaks at a beam signing event before RPAC construction in 2016.

“The impact is just gigantic, from the decisions from how the school was run before there was a high school to the decision to start a high school and everything that happened, so many decisions.” — Brian Yager, Head of School

Provided by Office of Communications
Diana and Howard Nichols attend a graduation ceremony in the early 2000s.

“Energy, impact and insightfulness are three words that would come to my mind first. She could assess a situation faster than anybody I’ve seen. Some people will have passion and ideas, but they never come to fruition. That never happened with Diana.” — Cindy Ellis, Community Liaison and former Head of Middle School

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on October 17, 2018. 

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