After 9 years of tireless effort in the College Counseling office, Ms. Tift has decided to retire. While mostly known by juniors and seniors, Ms. Tift has influenced and helped so many Belmont Hill students over the years, providing both crucial insight into the ominous college application and vital support through the anxiety-ridden process.
Ms. Tift started her career at Stratford Academy in Macon, Georgia as an English teacher. After 20 years of teaching, Ms. Tift took on the position of the Director of College Counseling. “Twenty years of grading English papers got to be a little too long,” she reports. The duties of an English teacher and college counselor complemented each other particularly well for Ms. Tift. Getting to know the students in the classroom was a fundamental step in preparing for the duties of college counselor: “I think it is best to interact with boys in a classroom so that way you can get to know them in a different way than just as a college counselor.” She spent two years as a counselor in Seattle at Seattle Academy before heading to Belmont Hill in 2007 to work as the Director of College Counseling.
Ms. Tift moved to the Boston region because she wanted to be close to one of her four children. Her daughter Dr. Jeanne Tift lived in the area, so Ms. Tift applied for jobs at some of the surrounding schools and chose Belmont Hill. One of the reasons she chose Belmont Hill was that she loved working with boys: “With boys there is less drama than with the girls. Boys are so straightforward, really easy to work with, especially Belmont Hill boys because they are courteous, cooperative, pleasant, and fun.”
A parent of a recent Belmont Hill graduate described her experience working with Ms. Tift through the college process. “I was anxious as this was my oldest child. Ms. Tift had the perfect temperament to deal with all kinds of parents. She set reasonable expectations and gave detailed explanations about the best school for my son. I was quite comfortable and confident working with her, as I knew my son’s best interests were her priority.”
As Ms. Tift looks towards retirement, she plans to move back to her family homestead in Macon, Georgia where the weather is warm and her other children and grandchildren reside. Currently she spends some time volunteering in prisons, helping with educational programs for the inmates, and she plans to continue her volunteer work in Georgia.
Although her presence will be dearly missed throughout the Belmont Hill community, she leaves the college counseling office in good hands. Mr. Walker Coppedge, ’94, will take Ms. Tift’s role as an advisor to the following classes of Belmont Hill. As an admissions officer for Tufts University, Mr. Coppedge has been reading Belmont Hill applications to Tufts for 9 years and will be sure to add a great deal to the strength to the college counseling at Belmont Hill. Mr Coppedge has big shoes to fill; Ms. Tift was respected and admired by all who worked with her and she will be greatly missed.