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Employees

Shalini Parikh

Grade 2 Teacher

The Big Blue Garden is just a glance outside of Ms. Parikh’s classroom window. For an educator who can’t imagine working in any other profession, a garden view mirrors the energy and brightness she brings to her class every day. It also reflects the growth and change her students experience, and the excitement they, too, can’t help but feel.  

“When I first came to Pingry, I was amazed by the level of engagement from the students,” she recalls. “Their dedication and commitment to learning is evident in everything they do.”

The annual second-grade poetry unit provides a perfect example. For weeks, the students explore poetry from all over the world and craft their own original works using the techniques they’ve learned. The culminating project is a presentation of their writing and accompanying artwork. “Each year, I am amazed to witness their voices come out in their published work,” she says.

In addition to her students, Ms. Parikh says her colleagues, who made her feel part of the Pingry community from day 1, inspire her. “Working with my fellow second-grade team brings me the most joy and fulfillment as an educator.” 

Shalini Parikh Employee Profile

 

Matt Horesta

History teacher, upper school
For Upper School history teacher Matt Horesta, one of the most rewarding aspects of his job takes place outside the classroom, on Pingry’s track and wooded campus trails. In addition to teaching, Matt serves as Head Coach of the Boys’ Varsity Cross Country Team and Assistant Coach of the outdoor Varsity Track & Field Team. As a former high school and college runner himself, Matt stays involved in the sport thanks to Pingry’s “Plus-One” initiative, which encourages Pingry teachers to pursue their passions outside of the classroom.

With Upper School athletic practices meeting six days a week (in both the fall and spring) for up to four months in an average school year, Matt spends more time with the students on his teams than those in his history classes. He appreciates that this kind of time provides a unique opportunity to get a sense of what students are capable of and he enjoys mentoring them, adding, “A lot goes into the pursuit of a long-term goal, like winning a team title or challenging a school record, and when those goals are achieved, well, it doesn’t get better than that!”

Matt is also proud of the number of runners he has coached who have gone on to run in college, especially since many of his athletes were not serious runners before they arrived in the Upper School. As a coach, he finds it rewarding to watch former student athletes expand upon what they learned in high school and take their running to the next level. “That they continue competing after Pingry means that they found something in the sport and in their teammates that they wanted to keep building upon.” His runners have continued competing at DI and DIII schools including Princeton, Dartmouth, Haverford, Middlebury, Williams, NYU, and Connecticut College.

Beyond coaching, Matt also helps out with Pingry’s Outing Club, which teaches leadership and wilderness skills by taking students on local hikes as well as to distant locations like the canyons of southern Utah and the high peaks of the Adirondacks. He sees the club as an important complement to varsity sports, explaining, “The natural world provides physical and intellectual challenges in a non-competitive setting, and that break from being goal-oriented is valuable. I also think that if kids—athletes and non-athletes alike—have fun in the outdoors and gain an appreciation for the natural world, they will become invested in it going forward.”


Amy Cooperman

Assistant Director of College Counseling and Co-Coordinator of Pingry’s Independent Senior Project (ISP)

Amy Cooperman '90, P ’23, can easily relate to the students and parents she meets, as she is a Pingry graduate as well as a current Pingry parent. After a decade working in publishing, advertising, and marketing, followed by an even tougher job as a stay-at-home-mom, she decided to return to the workforce. Starting a job at Pingry gave Mrs. Cooperman the job satisfaction and benefits she had never experienced before. 

 

She feels lucky to work at a school where she continues to see her son's teachers from the Lower and Middle School, and she enjoys being surrounded by faculty and staff whose children attend, or have attended. Mrs. Cooperman is also grateful for Pingry's tuition remission benefit for full-time faculty and staff, as well as the School's support in helping her to pursue a master's degree in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Through her master's program, she looks forward to enhancing her credentials and influencing how she approaches both day-to-day tasks and long-term goal-setting. 

Another perk of Mrs. Cooperman's job: Being part of a College Counseling team with colleagues who feel more like family, and have become close friends. She also enjoys her interactions with Pingry students, who she characterizes as "incredibly special people." Overall, Mrs. Cooperman describes a strong feeling of connection working at Pingry, adding, "There hasn't been a Sunday night when I haven't looked forward to coming to work the next morning, even when it's application decision time and I know the day will be filled with tough conversations. There is something about Pingry that makes me feel like we are all in this together. How fortunate!"

Amy Cooperman