Faculty in Focus - Special Edition: Farewell, Joyce Boturão

The Graded Gazette

Joyce Boturão 
Graded Faculty Member, 1990-2024

For 34 years, Graded Pre-primary Teacher Joyce Boturão has welcomed her students each morning with a warm smile. This week marks Joyce's last at Graded as she embarks upon retirement from an impactful career in the classroom. In this special feature of the Graded Gazette, Graded students, alumni, and current and former faculty and staff share their love for and memories of Ms. Joyce.

Joyce’s Graded story began as a parent. Her children, Ricardo ’03 and Marina ’05, were both in pre-primary but had different dismissal times. Joyce would drop the two off at 8:00 am, pick up Marina mid-day, and return again at 3:00 pm for Ricardo. She was on campus so often that she decided to ask former Lower School Principal Paige Geiger for a job. “And then I just stayed,” she said. 

 Joyce (top left) with her first pre-primary class in the 1990-91 school year.  

With a background in pedagogy and specialization in educational orientation, Joyce began her Graded career as a teaching assistant. She traveled to Chicago to take a Montessori course and became an expert in the program. Then, after 10 years assisting in the classroom, Joyce transitioned into the role of pre-primary teacher.

“I love teaching pre-primary,” she said. “They come to us as three-year-olds, and they’re still raw. Then, they leave the classroom at five knowing how to read and write. They absorb so much at that age. It’s very gratifying to watch them grow. And they often stop by to see me, even high schoolers!”

According to her colleague Pre-primary Teacher Renata Reis, Joyce’s classroom has always been an extension of her heart. “Her endless patience, boundless love, and gentle guidance have shaped countless young minds and hearts. Joyce’s legacy of nurturing curiosity and fostering kindness will continue to bloom in every child she has touched.” 

In the classroom, Joyce is known for creating fun, hands-on experiences for students.

“Joyce is very artistic; this might be a side of hers that not many people know about,” said Patricia Cardoso, who has worked with Joyce as a teaching assistant for many years. “She loves coming up with creative ideas and working on them with the children. She is very talented.”

Joyce (left) with her former colleague Patricia Bree. 

Throughout her career, Ms. Joyce has served as a mentor and role model to Graded faculty and staff, inspiring those around her with her kindness, patience, and distinguished sense of humor.

"Joyce has the remarkable talent to quickly create a sense of calm and warmth among any group of very young learners," said former Lower School Principal Vance Boisjoli, who worked with her for a decade. "She also has a great sense of humor, adding laughs and joy to her interactions with students and adults alike. I appreciate our many conversations during which she shared her Montessori wisdom with me and the laughs we had together.” 

Joyce's influence has extended beyond the lower school. Luiza Taveira Conde '08 fondly remembers her in a different role: volleyball coach. "Joyce was more than a volleyball coach," Luiza recalls. "She was a mentor and friend to teenage girls."

Joyce (top right) with her volleyball team and former student Luiza Taveira Conde ‘08 (top row, second from the left). 

Reflecting on her Graded experience, Joyce described the school as her everything—the place where she has spent half her life, and where her children received an excellent education.

“What’s great now is that the students I taught are bringing their own children,” she said. “So I’m teaching the children of my former students. And also the children of my children's friends. Seeing my former students grow and succeed. I learned that the dedication and love I poured into my teaching not only shaped my students' academic journeys but also their personal development and future success.” 

Joyce (top left) with her final pre-primary class in the 2023-24 school year.  

Teachers can change lives, and Joyce has positively affected hundreds. Throughout her career, she has brought passion and dedication to her classroom, motivating students to be their best selves. 

“Joyce has had a transformational impact on the lives of our youngest learners for over 30 years,” said Superintendent Richard Boerner. “She has given countless students the fundamental beginning that started them on their journey to be successful and impactful people in the world. We are grateful for the guidance and nurturing she has provided over her entire career. She will be missed.”

Messages from Joyce's current pre-primary students:

"I am going to miss you. I hope you enjoy your free time!"
Thomas L. 

"Thank you for being our teacher."
Isabela J.

"Joyce, I love you!"
Celina D.