Teachers bid farewell

Saying goodbye to all the teachers who retired last year.

Photos+courtesy+of+The+Enchiridion

Photos courtesy of The Enchiridion

LM is currently going through an unprecedented time in history. The pandemic has resulted in new, unforeseen changes for both teachers and students. However, even in times like these, it is important to reflect on the teachers and staff who have served the high school. This fall, many staff members retired to pursue new dreams and interests.

English teacher Bill Quinn is among eight teachers who recently left the school. Quinn’s style of teaching, which involved group discussions and collaboration, will certainly be missed by many students. According to Maggie Hollis ’21, the discussions were one of her favorite parts of his class. “He would arrange the desks in a circle, sit with us, and help to facilitate a conversation about whatever we were reading at the time,” Hollis recalls. English teacher Jeanne Maestriano also left after over 30 years in service to her students. Maestriano held strongly in the idea that storytelling could change the world, and inspired her students to explore the power of words. She left an impact on many students over the years, including an NBA superstar. The teacher helped the late Kobe Bryant ’96 kindle his interest in film and literature. The established alumnus went on to harness his kindled love of literature by writing and directing the Academy Award-winning animated short “Dear Basketball.”

Two valued world language teachers will also be missed. Spanish teacher Myra Rios, and French teacher Lisa Allen, were veterans of their respective departments. Each had their own styles of teaching that positively affected past students. Victoria Bermudez ’22 remembers Rios as an energetic teacher who was always excited to work with her students. “Señora Rios was such an enthusiastic teacher. I always enjoyed the ambiance of her class,” she says. Rios was also admired outside of the classroom, as she ran Mock Trial for three years. Maayan Barsade ’21, a member of the club, appreciated how “[Rios] always spoke her mind and would go above and beyond for her students,” and says that her favorite memory with the teacher was when Rios helped relieve her stress after a long meeting. Alex Bullard ’22 notes that Madame Allen created an environment that allowed students to master the French language. Bullard stated, “I liked how Madame Allen enforced a no-English classroom because it made me more comfortable with speaking French.” Rios and Allen both created ideal environments for students to prosper and become immersed in another language.

Another beloved teacher that left us this fall is the Art teacher Louise Pierce. During her 30-year tenure, Pierce taught courses ranging from ceramics to film and video. Additionally, she served as the girls’ volleyball coach, founded the boys’ volleyball team, and sponsored the Amnesty International Club. Her long occupancy had an immense impact on many students. Shoham Gilad ’92 expresses that “[Pierce’s] class was the first time I felt like I fit in properly anywhere; [she] had created a magical, engaging space, where our eyes were opened to new worlds.” Unfortunately, LM lost three more members of its staff at the beginning of the school year. Dom Pavia, a health and physical education teacher, was a leader of the Partners in Adaptive Physical Education program. The class allows any student to take a leadership role and support students who need assistance with physical skills. Eliza Rudy ’22, a member of this program last year, states that “[Pavia] clearly loved what he did. He was always so excited to work with everyone and was patient and understanding when there were difficulties.”

Another staff member who left was the Special Education teacher Debra Cherkas. Autistic support teacher and Special Education department chair Heather Van Horn describes Cherkas as a source of “sunshine and support” to the department. “When you entered [her] classroom, you felt warmth and kindness,” Van Horn stated. The final retiree, John Hyman, served as the instructional aid to communications teacher Diane Werder for eighteen years before he retired this fall. Werder cherished his dry sense of humor and amusing story telling, and loved how he participated in class meditation even though he hated it. Hyman’s plans for retirement include long walks on the boardwalk down the shore and watching lots of sports. The departure of these beloved faculty members will leave a void in our school’s exceptional educational staff. LM is fortunate to have had such amazing and dedicated staff members, and we wish these retirees the best in their future endeavors.