Middle School teacher Vanessa Vanclief sits at her computer and smiles

Vanessa Vanclief

Middle School, Grade 8 Social Studies

Ms. Vanclief has worked in almost every corner of the school in her more than 20 years at BSS. She has taught in the Senior School, worked in Boarding, directed the Summer Academy and, for the last 10 years, has been teaching Middle School students.
History and geography come to life in Ms. Vanclief’s classroom.  Her concept of  “windows and mirrors” helps students integrate the curriculum with their own lives by looking out at the experiences of others and reflecting upon their own history and position in the world. Students engage with time periods, places around the globe, populations and concepts, and are encouraged to consider their own place in our world - past, present, and future.  

Ms. Vanclief looks for opportunities to introduce students to historical female figures and current local concerns, from urban planning to social justice and indigenous issues. She creates an educational experience in which her students can make connections between the academic material and larger conceptual questions of why we, as humans, make the choices we do.  

She hopes that her students moving into the Senior School next year will always keep in mind that there are “a multitude of perspectives we need to consider when thinking about anything. Whether it is the way city planners develop a city or the way a government and its citizens shape a nation. Once we are aware of the voices we are hearing and the ones that are not being heard, we need to seek out the missing information. Get the whole story, ask questions, be curious, and think critically.”

When Ms. Vanclief isn’t teaching BSS girls, she loves going on adventures with her family and, if the stars really align, finding some time with a good book.