Margaret Santana P ’22, ’24 and Kevin Schmidt ’98 join the Board as they assume leadership of the PSPA and PAA, respectively.
At the end of June, members of the faculty and staff will leave Pingry for retirement or new opportunities. We thank them for their years of dedication to the School and its students.
(From left to right, top row to bottom row)
Susan Conklin, who has spent three years at Pingry as Academic Support Coordinator and Learning Specialist for the Middle and Upper Schools, is retiring after a multi-faceted career as a psychotherapist, TV producer and talk show host, Grief Counselor and Service Coordinator at the 9/11 WTC Family Services Center, museum docent, and education specialist. At Pingry, she has focused on students’ psychological and learning needs, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, to make sure that teachers have been aware of special circumstances. Aware that shyness can result in reticence to ask for help, Ms. Conklin has encouraged students to reflect on their challenges and consider new strategies for learning in class, studying, and test taking, with the goal of academic success. A member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team, as well as Health Services and Counseling, she will miss the students, parents, and colleagues, as well as the warm, collegial environment at Pingry.
“Pingry offers countless areas to support students’ academic engagement and social emotional development,” she says. “Various art media, drama, music, sports, clubs, Affinity Groups, and community and civic engagement provide a platform for developing a growth mindset and expanding oneself as a person. I loved my role at Pingry and being a part of an amazingly talented faculty. I will miss you all!”
John Crowley-Delman ’97, Upper School History Teacher and Pingry’s first Director of Experiential Education (appointed in 2018), leaves after 14 years to become Director of Outdoor Education at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx. “Pingry has given me so much,” he says. “As a student, I found the ability to engage in intellectual discourse in [then-English Department Chair] Dr. [Jane] Ashcom’s English class and found inner strength while seeking a championship on [then-Math Teacher] Tom Boyer’s football team. [During my time] as an educator, Pingry students have rewarded me with rich perspectives on art and history, and have surprised me with their creative solutions to complex problems.”
Mr. Crowley-Delman was active in numerous aspects of school life: he taught World History 9 and 10, as well as American Society and Culture; served as Co-Chair of the School Design Subcommittee for Pingry’s Curriculum Review; designed and led Global Field Studies courses in Idaho/Wyoming (humanities), Utah (land use), and the Adirondacks (farm-to-table education and sustainability); with fellow Upper School History Teacher Matt Horesta, co-created the Outing Club with hikes and overnight camping trips that enabled students to spend more time in nature and learn environmental responsibility; helped develop the Basking Ridge Campus’ hiking trail and campsite; coordinated the Dr. Robert H. Le Bow ’58 Memorial Oratorical Competition for a decade; was one of Pingry’s first teachers to embrace the Harkness Table method of teaching; and, as part of his efforts in global education, established a screening of foreign and independent films (the titles included Tall as the Baobab Tree, the first feature film directed by Jeremy Teicher ’06).
His most memorable adventure with Pingry students and teachers occurred during the summer 2017 Global Field Studies course in southeastern Utah, when he, Mr. Horesta, and Upper School Visual Arts Teacher and Experiential Education Coordinator Rebecca Sullivan led a site-specific art history lesson in front of an ancient panel of art, a trip and lesson many months in the making. “Witnessing students engage with that special place was rewarding. There was magic in the experience.”
Mr. Crowley-Delman also coached Middle School and JV football and boys’ JV lacrosse, having played both sports as a Pingry student. He was inducted into Pingry’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016 as a member of the 1995 Football Team, and received the Senior Class Faculty Chair (2011) and David B. Buffum History Chair (2013).
Further reflecting as he departs from Pingry, Mr. Crowley-Delman says, “We are living in times that will challenge this school in ways we can’t possibly know. If the Pingry community remembers to hold itself accountable to the values articulated in the School’s mission statement and Honor Code, it will come out stronger. At the core, our job is to foster ethical citizens and leaders—that goal should be primary to everything we do to meet the daunting challenges ahead. As an alumnus and friend, I would love to help.”
Patti Euwer P ’97, Lower School Teacher who has taught Grade 3 for 33 years, retires after 34 years at Pingry (she taught Grade 2 her first year).
Rich Freiwald P ’03 (or “Frei” as many of his students affectionately call him), Upper School Visual Arts Teacher, retires after a 32-year Pingry career.
Norm LaValette P ’04, Upper School German Teacher, retires after a 41-year Pingry career that has also encompassed the instruction of teaching skills.
Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff P ’25, Lower School Director, is leaving Pingry after four years to become Head of the Lower School at King School in Stamford, CT. She served for three years as Assistant Director of the Lower School and this year as its Director. Dr. Lizaire-Duff has been a passionate, dedicated member of the School’s administration, involved in enhancing the curriculum, faculty and staff professional growth and development, student well-being, and diversity and inclusion. In particular, as part of the School’s efforts to enrich the experiential educational and healthy risk-taking opportunities for our students, Dr. Lizaire-Duff partnered with the P.E. team to incorporate an indoor traverse wall and other climbing elements made possible by a generous Pingry family. As part of this year’s wellness initiative, Dr. Lizaire-Duff worked with her team to integrate mindfulness into the K-5 curriculum and arranged for on-sight monthly guided meditation sessions for the faculty and staff with Qwell Meditation & Wellness Studio.
Additionally, under Dr. Lizaire-Duff’s leadership, the well-attended World Language Week Celebration has flourished. Beyond the Lower School, she has also provided administrative support to the ExEd Working Group, and was an integral member of the Purpose and Disciplines and Faculty and Staff Growth and Development Subcommittees for the 2018 Strategic Plan.
Elaine Ochab, Receptionist at the Basking Ridge Campus and a familiar voice for announcements over the School’s PA system, retires after 28 years. Through the years, she also handled students’ bus transportation forms, was in charge of the School’s mail, and filled in for other offices when they needed assistance. “I will miss my co-workers, the many friends I have made, the friendly parents, and feeling the energy and seeing the activities of the students—they are always involved in so much!” Her late husband Joe worked for Facilities from 2006-2010; they shared stories about their day during the ride home together, a special time in their lives.
Eva (Olesky) Ostrowsky, School Counselor and PoCC (People of Color Conference) and SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Committee) Co-Coordinator who has worn numerous hats at Pingry over the past nine years, is taking on a new challenge as Director of Counseling and Wellness at The Hun School of Princeton. Mrs. Ostrowsky began her Pingry journey as a permanent substitute (that position was “the best thing that happened to me,” she says, referring to the opportunity to try working in education, instead of remaining in finance), and then, as a Political Science major, moved into the Grade 6 history classroom, with supportive colleagues helping her learn how to teach (“a special memory”). She also coached JV field hockey, Middle School girls’ basketball, and girls’ JV lacrosse.
After receiving a master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, she continued to teach history and—unexpectedly—encountered new opportunities as Middle School Dean for Student Culture, Assistant to the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Department, Middle School Counselor, and most recently School Counselor. “The School had a lot of faith in me, which I really appreciate. My success in these areas is a testament to the people who supported me.”
When asked how she has approached working with students amid these difficult months, she says: “Normalize what students are going through. Everyone feels so isolated, so it’s important to know that others are going through the same thing. I’ve been helping kids see that new behaviors and feelings are reactions to what’s happening, and not necessarily a new character trait to be concerned about. It’s a traumatic time, and our response doesn’t necessarily define us and doesn’t mean that we changed completely.”
Mrs. Ostrowsky has also co-taught Grade 6 Emotional Intelligence/Cultural Competency, co-led Courageous Conversations (for administrators, faculty, and staff to discuss topics of diversity and inclusion in a safe space), helped oversee Upper School Peer Leadership (“Students got to know me as a person as opposed to a stigmatized counselor. They understood that counseling isn’t an office for diagnoses, but another place to have someone listen.”), and served as a member of both the ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) Working Group and Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Team.
Dennis Pearlstein, Upper School English Teacher and a 13-year member of the faculty, retires after a 49-year teaching career; the 2020 Blue Book is dedicated to him. “It is very hard to retire, because of my identity as a teacher, and I loved working with Pingry students,” he says. Mr. Pearlstein taught in the Middle School for four years and the Upper School for nine, finding pleasure in teaching high school and college favorites. His courses included English 9 and 10, American Literature, and the senior electives The Greek Epic and Magical Realism. Mr. Pearlstein also served as Advisor to the LGBTQ Affinity Group (seven years), Co-Chair of the English Department’s self-study for NJAIS accreditation, and Co-Chair of the School Design Subcommittee for Pingry’s Curriculum Review.
Dr. Reid Prichett P ’23, Dean of Faculty for Teaching and Learning, leaves Pingry after five years. During his time here, he guided numerous faculty through graduate programs, led an increase of faculty participation in professional development events, helped improve the quality of faculty In-Service Days, developed the Assessment for Growth (AfG) process, and led the creation of the Pingry Definition for Teaching Excellence. He also taught Upper School math and coached wrestling. As a result of his work, Dr. Prichett leaves the School in a strong position to evolve the AfG process.
Matty Yorkshire, Grades 4 and 5 Spanish Teacher, joins the Magistri and retires upon the completion of her 25th year.
Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review