Experience the Moravian Effect
Nancy Glassmoyer Brittingham ’69
Longtime Educator Found Right ‘Fit’ At Moravian
Throughout the semester, Inside Moravian tells the story of one of Moravian’s alums who exemplify what we call the Moravian Effect. The added value from their Moravian experience is created through Moravian’s emphasis on strong, personalized majors, hands-on learning opportunities, and encouragement of a deeper enjoyment of life—which is nurtured by engaged faculty and alumni. Surveys of our graduates show that these qualities help them grow in four years into focused adults who succeed and excel in an increasingly challenging world.
Brittingham Spends Retirement Splitting Time Between Rink and Dance Floor
In the mid-1960s, as Nancy Glassmoyer Brittingham ’69 recalls, career options for women were often limited to teaching or nursing. The daughter and granddaughter of educators, Nancy chose to pursue teaching when she enrolled at Moravian College and eventually embarked on a nearly four-decade career in education.
Brittingham, who transitioned into administrative positions later in her career, credits Moravian for putting her on the path to success. “The training I received at Moravian definitely helped launch a most fulfilling career,” says, Nancy, now retired.
Before entering college, Nancy was an active, athletic high school student in Willow Grove, a suburb of Philadelphia. When it came time to visit colleges, she remembers looking at schools in and around Pennsylvania both big and small. “When I got to Moravian, everything clicked. The school just fit,” Nancy recalls. “I went on a tour and looked around and knew this was the place for me.”
While on campus, Nancy immersed herself in the community, playing field hockey, volunteering, tutoring, student teaching in the local public schools, and enjoying the College’s social scene. “The training received in elementary education at Moravian was exceptional,” she said. “By the time I graduated, I was prepared for the classroom.”
Following the lead of a few classmates who settled in Boston, Mass., Nancy applied for positions in New England, landing a position as a second grade teaching in the town of Melrose, 15 miles north of Bean town. “The Boston area seemed like a good location to start a career in 1969,” she reasons of her move north.
A few years later, Nancy married her husband, Stan, and moved to central New York state. She relocated again shortly thereafter, settling in Connecticut, and enrolling in the University of Connecticut master’s degree program. All the while, Nancy continued teaching before eventually spending eight years as an administrator in a private school.
Once again, Brittingham continued her education, earning her sixth-year degree from Central Connecticut State University, which certified her to be a public school principal. She then spent her final 14 years as a public school principal before retiring in June 2008.
ABOVE: Brittingham, who started skating as a youngster, has been perfecting her skills over the past 25 years and is now a U.S. Figure Skating Association-certified silver ice dancer.
ABOVE: When she isn't on the ice, Brittingham participates in competitive ballroom dancing, traveling the country to attend competitions, including an upcoming trip to Las Vegas.
In retirement, Nancy has foregone the stereotypical rocking chair and slower pace, taking advantage of her free time to revisit her childhood passion. Having skated as a child, and again when her twins were young, Brittingham has immersed herself in ice dancing, training three days a week, and working with a former U.S. national ice dance champion.
She is currently a U.S. Figure Skating Association-certified silver ice dancer, having completed the silver test level by passing 15 compulsory dances over the past 25 years.
“In ice dancing,” she explains, “the levels of proficiency are similar to karate, where you earn belts for advancing. It’s pretty rigorous activity requiring high technical skill.”
Nancy’s ice time consists of more than just ice dance training. She also skates recreationally with 71-year-old Yale professor. In addition, Nancy co-coordinates the annual Nutmeg Ice Dance Weekend during the summer, bringing together nearly 50 dancers from the Northeast and Canada for clinics, lessons and social ice dancing.
“Skating is like riding a bicycle. Once you’ve learned how to ice skate, you can do it forever!” she says.
Nancy’s dancing prowess isn’t limited to the rink, as she also participates in competitive ballroom dancing, traveling the country to attend competitions, including an upcoming trip to Las Vegas. Her partner is a professional ballroom dancer with whom she “cuts a rug” in American Smooth style ballroom dancing.
“If you’ve ever seen a Fred Astaire movie, you’ve seen American Smooth,” explains Brittingham. “It’s traditional dance, like waltz or foxtrot, but with nontraditional moves. I don’t climb wall and dance on the ceiling with broomsticks like Fred Astaire,” she says, “but I do dance backwards and in heels!”
Back home in Haddam, Conn., a small town nestled by the Connecticut River, Nancy estimates she spends at least 10 hours a week in a skating rink, dance studio, or the gym. She also social ballroom dances with her husband at least once a week. “Stan has become a pretty good social dancer!” quips Nancy, “Does he have a choice?”
Nancy’s current schedule doesn’t resemble the 80-plus-hour workweeks she once maintained as a school administrator. “When I was raising children and running an elementary school, leisure time wasn’t an option,” she explains. “I’m making up for that time now.”
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