Last spring we were excited to honor this venerated educator and former Head of School (1967–1992). We asked his former students (and their parents!) and colleagues to send him a note in honor of his 90th birthday this year. The following are just a few of the many tributes we received. All of the messages that were shared with us will be included in a special booklet that we will send to Mr. Perrine.
With his disarming, self-deprecating sense of humor, he was able to hold together a talented group of teachers with very different, strong opinions! As someone once said, it felt as though there was a rainbow from one end of Loomis Place to the other!
— Jenny Byers (Former Faculty Member)
“As a lifer at Foote from kindergarten to the first 9th grade cohort to graduate, thank you for your thoughtful leadership. You built character and intellectual curiosity in generations of Foote School students. … Warm wishes on your 90th.”
— John Canellakis ’73
“One of my all-time favorite Foote memories has to be the day you gave me and two best friends a gigantic shout out and wave as you sped down Canner Street in your Saab. It was a day we had decided to take a clandestine mission to go off-campus to Whitney Market for lunch. Your genuine joie de vivre was on full display and we eventually returned to campus to face the music. But your against-the-grain response to the situation remains a part of our collective lore forever. In the world of headmasters, you’re the very best! So, a happy happy birthday to you, Frank. (Mr. Perrine)!
— Tag Mendillo ’80
“Happy 90th Birthday! I remember that you used to call me ‘Liberty,’ to the point that I wondered if you remembered my real name. A few years after I graduated I happened to be talking to someone who knew us both and they mentioned they were going to see you. I asked them to say hi from ‘Liberty.’ When I next talked to them they reported that you looked confused at the name ‘Liberty,’ only connecting it to me when they said ‘Justus.’ I realized then that, not only did you know my name, but that it was truly how you thought of me. It enforced my understanding of how connected you were to your students, and how much you cared about them! I wish you all the best on your 90th birthday!”
— Justus “Liberty” Addiss ’73
“My life would not have been the same if I had not been on the receiving end of this man’s love and passion for his students and education. I wish him the choicest blessings on his 90th birthday, and am proud that I encountered his encouragement and enthusiasm — especially directed to me as a minority student while at Foote. May God bless you continuously — happy 90th birthday!”
— Melanie Stringer ’75
“Happy Birthday to dear Mr. Perrine, who gave so much to Foote and to those of us lucky enough to benefit from his presence in our lives. Frank greeted all of us students by name, knew every family, and was always available to talk, advise, or share a lighthearted moment. He taught us, encouraged us, and helped us grow. … I will never forget my Foote years and the wonderful man who made them fun!”
— Pat (Palluotto) Burns ’72
The one trait that keeps coming back is your personal involvement with each student, and how you truly got to know each one and their family, and what made them happy. Thank you, sir, for the years of dedication to all the students whose lives you touched.
— Jeffrey Venter ’69
Happy birthday, Frank. You made Foote such a wonderful place to grow up, one that gave us a stellar education and lifelong friends. Your wisdom, creativity, and humor are remarkable! Many happy wishes for your 90th.
— Jonea Gurwitt ’75
Happy 90th, Frank! Teaching at Foote in the Learning Support Program under your leadership was a privilege. You cared about the well-being of all students at Foote, including those who experienced learning challenges. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the Foote Community!
— Carol Poling (former faculty)
As a member of the class of ’68, I remember being excited about the prospect of a new Head of School — someone we could “break-in!” But soon after meeting you it was clear you didn’t need any remedial training. What a kind and caring person you are and the wonderful presence you provided to our class and the entire school. That was evident as soon as we learned that one of your favorite songs was “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. Congratulations on reaching this birth milestone. We love you!
— George Holden ’68
Thank you for your leadership and love! Happy 90th birthday!!
— Toya Hill Clark ’89
You have the rare gift of encouragement and good will towards all — students, teachers, staff, and board. You embodied the spirit of Foote.
— Laura Altshul (former faculty member)
Your smile and the way that you cared about each of us is what I remember the most about you. You took such great care of all of us at The Foote School, we owe so much to you, Mr. Perrine, for always making sure that learning was fun. Happy birthday, Mr. Perrine!
— Cathy (Hansen) Sherrick ’88
Happy Birthday to you! I’ve never mentioned my time at Foote without a huge smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, thank you. … It was truly a special and magical place. I will always hold my years there as one of the best times in my life. Thank you for ALWAYS smiling and upholding a positive energy throughout the community. Cheers to you. P.S. I still know all my state capitals.
— Paige Miller Lewellyn ’90
Whenever I remember Mr. Perrine, I remember someone full of positive energy. One memory that particularly stands out took place during the blizzard of ’78. The highways were closed and I was one of a small group of students who had no way to get home. Mr. Perrine put us in one of the school’s vans and drove us to his own house. … To pass the time, we roasted marshmallows in the fireplace. Talk about a principal who went above and beyond.
— Evan Wright ’86
When an individual senses another’s belief and trust in her or him, it is life-changing and I claim my first teaching experience on your faculty as the most influential period of my formation as a teacher, collaborator, positive influencer, and community-builder. My memories of those years are full and happy, and so very treasured. I thank you for the difference you have made in my life, personally, professionally, and spiritually. No flattery here — simply the truth!
— Georgette Dionne (former faculty member)