The Hartsbrook School
Waldorf Education In The Pioneer Valley Of Western Massachusetts
Clarity of Thought | Warmth of Heart | Strength of Purpose

Alumni Feature: Barrett Allison

Barrett Allison, Class of 2001 (8th grade)

Barrett, who attended Hartsbrook from kindergarten through eighth grade (alongside his two brothers and sister) says it helped to form his persona and to pave his way through high school, college, and his current career in investment banking. Katherine Kretz taught him in first through sixth grade, Jan-Kees Saltet seventh, and Jessica Stark eighth. Barrett’s parents were also very involved in the school.

Barrett went on to graduate in 2005 from Amherst Regional High School and in 2009 from Williams College, where he played baseball, majored in economics and also studied art, an interest born at Hartsbrook. After college, he worked as a corporate legal assistant for Sidley Austin LLP in New York City, then moved to J.P. Morgan, where he creates asset-backed securities in the automobile and equipment sectors.

What Barrett and his parents loved about Hartsbrook was that it “provided a personalized approach to education. I felt no pressure to fit a mold, and I was continually given opportunities to expand in a variety of areas.” Comparing it to his experience in the public schools, Barrett notes that Hartsbrook also has a unique knack for fostering the ability to connect with others.

How has his Waldorf education furthered his career? Barrett says, “I developed a love of exploring ideas. Hartsbrook gave me a quiet confidence and an ability to communicate both informally and in presentations, skills I use constantly at J.P. Morgan.” He also notes that “my Waldorf education helped me to continually set, revisit, and adjust goals for myself.”

Traditions and special projects undertaken at Hartsbrook hold a special place in Barrett’s memory. He remembers fondly that it was his class that constructed the Cobb Oven that is still in use by the kindergarten building today. He hopes to one day revisit Field Day, the first-and eighth-grade flower ceremonies, May Day and of course graduation. He has remained in touch with several Hartsbrook classmates and notes that it is Hartsbrook’s traditions and projects that helped to seal their bond.