Brian Feeney

I think I admired Mr. Hughes so much because he was the kind of educator that we aspire to be. He just had this way of making everyone feel welcome, comfortable, and eager to do our best.

Brian+Feeney

​​Mr. Hughes and I started at LM within a year of each other (1998, 1999) and it didn’t take long for me to see he was someone I wanted to be around. Over the next couple decades, we were involved in fantasy football leagues, Philadelphia Phantoms hockey nights, and countless other school-related activities and events. I found someone who I came to consider my friend, colleague, mentor, and the person I could go to at any time and just have a good laugh. His great sense of humor was probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me right away. We could make each other laugh with a keen observation or a quick-witted comment. At times, it seemed as if we were competing to see who could make the other laugh harder. Mr. Hughes and I worked out most mornings for the past several years and the running joke was that I was the perpetual “before” picture and he was the “after.” And who doesn’t love a guy—my boss, mind you—who would make a visit to my classroom, ask the kids how they were doing, and then apologize to them that they got stuck with me as their teacher?!! And he did this a lot!! Classic Hughes humor! He was my comic relief and support on long days that bled into nights when we would stick around for school dances and proms or referee together in an LM staff vs. Harlem Globetrotters fundraiser. He was a strong presence on the sidelines of soccer and lacrosse games, always there to support the athletes and us coaches, regardless of the outcome.

As Mr. Hughes moved up the “admin ladder” here at LM, I became a little concerned that our relationship might change when he ultimately became Principal. What I overlooked was one of his many special qualities—the ability to subtly convince even the most hardened “old school” teachers to try new ideas or adjust to the ever-changing philosophies about teaching and engaging with students that were implemented here at LM. A movie quote from an all-time classic comedy comes to mind: “He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a person in white gloves.” He convinced me to Maslow before I Bloom, Guskey-ize my teaching, and implement the domains of someone named Danielson. I swear he used some Jedi mind trick because I’m absolutely amazed that I even remember some of those names!

I think I admired Mr. Hughes so much because he was the kind of educator that we aspire to be. He just had this way of making everyone feel welcome, comfortable, and eager to do our best. We would have countless conversations about family and how important they are to us. He gushed about what his kids were doing with sports and school. It is very clear to anyone who has been around him that LM and the Lower Merion community were his second family and that he put his heart and soul into taking care of us. He was always around school, doing something to tweak or improve it so students had every opportunity to not only succeed, but truly enjoy their experience during their time here. I take solace in knowing what a tremendously positive impact he has had on so many people’s lives. I am so thankful and appreciative of the 23 years we spent together here at LM.

Hughes with Brian Feeney (second from right) and Thomas Kline (far left) at 2015 Winterfest. | Photo courtesy of LMSD Office of School and Community Relations
close

The Merionite Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox, every issue.