Remembering Mimi Minkoff

Mimi Minkoff inspired hundreds of Winsor students

-by Arielle Mitropoulos- It is not very often in life when you meet someone like Mimi Minkoff. There was just something about her – maybe it was her contagious smile, her warmth and innate ability to create connections with her students, or maybe it was her infectious charisma and love of life. Whatever that ‘it’ was, there has always been something special about Ms. Minkoff, something no one could really put her finger on. I think the entire Winsor community would agree that back in July, we lost one of the most beautiful, talented, gifted individuals many of us have ever come across. Despite her battle with cancer, she very much longed to return to teaching in the fall; however, her disease proved to be too aggressive, and she lost her life in late July.

After meeting Ms. Minkoff in 2009, I immediately found myself drawn to her, as many other students have in the past. I forged a connection and relationship with her that I had never had with any other teacher and I was able to confide in her, seek her guidance and help on many academic and non-academic issues. As Cheryl Hagan ’13, who graduated from Winsor just this June, expIained, “She was a great listener, and I felt like I could tell her anything; and she had sound advice whenever I needed it. She really was someone you could trust and would guide you in the right direction.” My relationship with Ms. Minkoff is one that I will treasure for the rest of my life and the lessons and memories she has left with me will stay with me forever. It would be impossible even to begin to express the impact Mimi Minkoff has had not only on me but on hundreds of others during her 30 years at Winsor. She was like a second mother to me, and it did not matter why I needed her or when I needed her, I always knew she would always be there for me no matter what.  Although, it is clear that she left us far too soon, her presence and all for what she stood for is still greatly felt within the Winsor community.

Before the start of school in late August, the Winsor community came together in celebration of Mimi’s life with a memorial. After hearing the remarks of several colleagues and friends, it became clear to all that in returning to school and beginning a new academic year, there would be a major hole in the very heart of Winsor. At the Winsor memorial, fellow French teacher and good friend, Ms. Houlette remarked, “While Mimi’s presence is gone from our school and the routine of our daily life, her influence remains. She was a beacon to many of us, and I believe that her afterimage reveals a map, a map that shows the connections we had with her and, because of them, the potential connections between us all.  I think that building on these connections will be one of the ways we can honor her memory.” Winsor also announced the opening of the Minkoff-Kelly fund, in order to ensure her memory within the school and to help fund the Winsor girls’ international experience that she felt was such a key to growth.

Ultimately, whether you knew Mimi Minkoff personally, or just knew her as a smile in the hallway, she was very much one of the greatest spirits and hearts that Winsor has ever known. All I really know is that no matter what I do or where I go, I’ll carry her with me for the rest of my life.  ☐