The Elizabeth Odell Leadership Society was established in the fall of 2014—at once recognizing the Susan Odell Taylor School's sustaining patron, Elizabeth "Betty" Odell, as well as members of our community who have made a significant investment in the school's mission and academic excellence.
Recognition within the Elizabeth Odell Leadership Society is based on total giving each fiscal year* at the following levels:
Ground Breaker - $1500 and above Catalyst - $2500 and above Exemplar - $5000 and above
*Included in each year's total giving history are: outright gifts of any amount (restricted or unrestricted), Annual Fund, Financial Aid program, Fund for the Future, Gala Honorary Committee, corporate matching gifts received and applied to the donor's giving record, and pledge payments made during the fiscal year.
The Susan Odell Taylor School recognizes - with great pride and sincere gratitude - members of the 2016 Elizabeth Odell Leadership Society:
Kristen Martin and Kristian Mariaca
Priscilla Richards and Michael Fanning
Kelly and Joe Ahearn
Valerie Gill and Allan Chlastawa
Rita and Jim Dillon
Kelly and Gerry Magoolaghan
The Susan Odell Taylor School recognizes members of the Elizabeth Odell Leadership Society each year through the following:
- Dedicated Elizabeth Odell Leadership Society wall plaque at the school
- Dedicated Society page on school website
- School newsletter with link to Society web page
- Annual recognition event
Members of the Elizabeth Odell Leadership Society share with Betty the dedication to educating children to be engaged and successful citizens of the world; a steadfast commitment to ensuring a secure future for the Susan Odell Taylor School; and an appreciation of the profound impact of giving. Your leadership will be an inspiration to others who believe in the Susan Odell Taylor School as deeply as you.
*The Susan Odell Taylor School's fiscal year begins July 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2017.
ELIZABETH "BETTY" ODELL
Betty Odell made a wise investment in the education of young children in 1998. It would be the first in a legacy of leadership gifts to the Susan Odell Taylor School.
At its core, Betty's exceptional generosity has been an incalculable investment of the heart. Her daughter—and much beloved kindergarten teacher at The Emma Willard Children's School in Troy until her untimely passing in 1997—was Susan Odell Taylor. With each gift to the Susan Odell Taylor School Betty has honored both Susan's memory and the teaching profession.
The roots of Betty's abiding love of education run deep. Not only was her father a school principal but her sister also followed the same path. Her favorite aunt taught at Emma Willard and Betty visited her many times. Her aunt's influence and engaging presence in the classroom led Betty to become a teacher.
Betty graduated from Plattsburgh State Teachers College and taught in western New York for several years prior to marrying Frank Odell. Eventually they would relocate to the Capital Region when Frank assumed the position of president of State Bank of Albany, now Bank of America. Decades later, Betty's remarks about the teachers at the Susan Odell Taylor School would recall the powerful inspiration she received from her aunt:
"Some of my strongest beliefs about the school are the great leadership through the teachers and the learning environment. Teachers are helping the children learn; but having a family-like atmosphere is important. Children need to be grounded at an early age and learn to be with others... learn how to get along."
Betty's vision, leadership and continued investment in education are the cornerstone of the new Fund for the Future, dedicated to the future growth and sustainability of the Susan Odell Taylor School. At present, the Fund is committed to the realization of two of the goals in the current Strategic Plan:
- To become a preschool-through-8th-grade-school beginning in 2016-2017
- To occupy a facility that supports best practices in educational programming and administrative operations
As the Susan Odell Taylor School moves forward, we will continue to innovate and nurture young minds, knowing that in Betty Odell we truly have our champion.
SUSAN ODELL TAYLOR
Susan Odell Taylor taught at The Children’s School at Emma Willard for seven years. She was an exceptional teacher, who freely shared her gifts and talents with the children she taught, as well as with parents and colleagues. Her classroom was a vibrant, exciting place to be, warmed by her wonderful giggle and lit by the power of her smile. Cooking lessons, science experiments, art projects—nothing was too much for Sue to undertake and she did it all with enthusiasm and energy. No one passing by could possibly resist poking his or her head in to see what was going on in her classroom that day.