Advisors Are Life Coaches

Dean of Students, Carmen Beaton with Casey Littlefield ’03

Over the course of her four years at Middlesex, Casey Littlefield ’03 received all manner of help from her advisor, Dean of Students and Spanish teacher Carmen Beaton. There were late night talks, advice about crushes and sports and academics, even a shared stint on the Disciplinary Committee. And then there was the line she remembers perhaps best of all: “Know ‘your’ crazy.” It was, Littlefield says now, having completed her undergraduate degree in history at Yale and enrolled at Harvard Business School, critical for her progress through the world. “Just know, own it and then you can move forward,” she says laughing.

Littlefield, during her time at Middlesex, played lacrosse, field hockey, became junior class president and then Middlesex’s third female all-school president in her senior year.  “I definitely grew at Middlesex and learned how to push myself. And it’s hard to do that, so I think back to being able to walk over to the Beatons’ and say ‘I’m just tired, I need some help and an ‘Atta girl!’ Carmen was really good at reflecting what I said and getting me where I needed to go by myself.” She laughs again, “But also really good at just saying ‘Casey, cut it out!’”

Her relationship with both Beatons—Jim Beaton is an English teacher and Littlefield developed a passion for dropping by to discuss books with him—changed her forever. “The Beatons have been my surrogate parents and helped me be more stable and excited about life. All the things Carmen says about me are things they modeled for me. I really feel like they launched me. They saw all pieces of me and helped me realize that regardless of which one of those pistons is up or down at the moment it doesn’t matter, everything will balance out in the end. I feel like if I could do that for one other person that’s ultimately the most rewarding and important work I can do.” For that reason, she plans to make a career of education. Between college and Harvard she worked at an organization called New Leaders for New Schools, a principal training program akin to Teach for America, and loved it. “Leadership in education is what interests me at the moment,” she says. To that end, she plans to get a Master’s in Education after her business degree, and then get back into the education field.

“It always heartens me when I hear kids like Casey want to go into education,” says Beaton. No doubt Littlefield will continue her successes there, with Beaton’s voice ringing in her head. No matter what the occasion, she recalls, “Carmen would always say, ‘Make good choices, Casey.” And even if there was no occasion or specific decision that needing making, she says with great fondness and humor, Beaton never missed a chance to remind her how to approach life.  “She’d say, ‘February’s cold! Make good choices!” Because she knew that’s the kind of pithy advice that sticks with me.”

© 2011 Middlesex School