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Betsy and Rick Edie: A Steppingstone Love Story
February 14, 2024
At Steppingstone, the relationships we form make us who we are, and make our work possible. Amid the many transformative relationships at the core of our work—mentorship, friendship, family ties, and so much more—there are even a few love stories.
The first Steppingstone love story takes us back to the early days of the program, when two educators met on a cool November day in 1992.
When Rick Met Betsy
Rick Edie had been hired by Steppingstone as a teacher in the summer of ’92. “I saw the job description in a little binder in an employment office. I said, you know, this is the job for me. This is what I want to do.”
He got the summer job and advocated for a full-time position building out the academic year program, which he started in the fall. He began as an assistant to Steppingstone’s first director of programs, Sintelle Taylor, and took over her role as director of secondary school placement when she moved on. New to Boston, Rick embarked on a series of visits to local schools.
“On one of my earlier visits,” Rick recalls, “I was visiting the Buckingham Browne & Nichols (BB&N) Middle School. And over the course of the tour, we stopped into one classroom and the director of admissions at the time said, ‘Oh, that's Betsy Lippincott; she's a substitute teacher.’ And we moved on, but Betsy immediately caught my eye for two reasons. One, I thought she was adorable. And two, I needed to hire a part-time English teacher for the academic program.”
So when his tour was over, Rick circled back around to Betsy’s classroom and asked if she would be interested in the job.
A Steppingstone Journey
Betsy, too, was familiar with Steppingstone before this chance encounter.
She had taught at BB&N’s middle school the prior year, filling in for a teacher who was on sabbatical. In that time, she connected with three Scholars from the Class of ’91: Natasha Velickovic, Phuc Thai, and Tegan Leonard. “And so when Rick came into my classroom,” she recounts, “I was immediately interested in taking a teaching job for Steppingstone.”
Betsy joined the team in January of 1993, and one of her first projects with Rick was to establish a curriculum for the academic year. “The two of us put together a textbook of short stories and poetry by theme,” which laid the groundwork for Betsy’s lessons throughout the year. “I feel like that was a time that we really bonded over a love of teaching. It was fun to share ideas and put this book together.”
When the academic year concluded, Betsy decided to stay on for the six-week summer session as well. “We had a great group of faculty,” she remembers. “We were all buddies and we did a lot of things outside of Steppingstone, and we just had a lot of fun together.”
This offered an opportunity for Betsy and Rick to connect outside of a work setting, and paved the way for their first dates: kayaking on the Charles River and witnessing a meteor shower at Crane Beach in Ipswich.
Back at the Massachusetts College of Art where Steppingstone held summer programming at the time, the couple could be seen chatting occasionally or throwing a lacrosse ball while waiting for buses to arrive. Scholars seemed to have an inkling that the two might like each other.
“We just loved that class so much,” Betsy smiles. “They were really special to us. We became very close with a lot of the families and shared our journey with them in that moment.”
So, after quietly getting engaged in May of 1994, Betsy and Rick hatched an idea to include Scholars and families in the celebration: they would invite them to a fake proposal.
“We decided to have everyone over to my house for a barbecue,” Rick remembers. The invitation read something like: “You are cordially invited to witness Mr. Edie proposing to Miss Lippincott—TOP SECRET.”
“I fake-proposed to Betsy in front of all these kids, and they completely fell apart. They loved it. You know, they thought it was the actual proposal. We acted like it was, and we wanted them to share in it.”
“Oh, they were all totally a-twitter,” Betsy adds. “That was just cute. And that, to me, shows our connection to Steppingstone, you know, that we felt so strongly about that group of students.”
A Lasting Impact
A few things have changed since that day: for one, Betsy and Rick now have three grown daughters (one of whom interned at Steppingstone for a summer, helping teachers and working as a bus monitor).
“One thing that has stayed the same,” says Rick, “is my love and respect for what Steppingstone represents and what it does for kids in the city of Boston... I think Steppingstone is the thing I'm most proud of, professionally in my career.
“It’s a place that really made us appreciate the value of an education, appreciate the kids who took a chance on Steppingstone in those early years—took the opportunity and ran with it—and just did great things with their lives afterwards. It meant a lot to us as a couple to share in that—to help provide, I guess, something of service, but also to be a part of that journey with them.”
The journey continues. Betsy has returned to teach at Steppingstone, including during the critical period leading up to and through COVID, and Rick has the opportunity to connect with Scholars through his work as a teacher at Dedham Country Day School.
“I appreciate the foothold that Steppingstone gave me in Boston,” notes Rick. “Obviously I've stayed and raised a family here, but you know, Mike Danziger (Steppingstone Co-founder) and everybody else gave me an opportunity to put an anchor into Boston and make a life here, and then obviously meeting Betsy solidified all that.”
Betsy adds: “We grew together by working together. It was a great bonding experience and continues to be a really important part of our lives, our memories, everything.”
“I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing, where I'm doing it, or who I'm doing it with, if it weren't for Steppingstone giving me an opportunity to bump into Betsy,” Rick remarks. “It was a lucky little run-in.”
Steppingstone is an educational nonprofit which serves students of every race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, or political beliefs to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to Scholars enrolled in the program. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, or other organization-administered activities.