Faculty, Staff and Trustees Dinner 2017

As is D-E School tradition, the annual Faculty, Staff and Trustees Dinner, held in late May, recognized outstanding teaching leadership, celebrated those individuals retiring from the School, and honored the newest member of the School’s Trustee Emeriti. Below is a description of the awards given during the event and the 2017 honorees. 

Lower School faculty enjoying each other’s company at the annual dinner.

Ellie and Dick Phayer Adventure Endowment for Curriculum Development

This Fund was established this year by Harry Hill ’81 to honor the memory of his mother and stepfather, who, by example, taught Harry to appreciate how much can be learned through exposure to other cultures around the world.  The goal of the Fund is to encourage faculty to add to the depth of D-E’s academic curriculum by creating or revising a course incorporating travel to a relevant destination.

Caitlyn Young, D-E visual arts teacher, was recognized as the first recipient of the Fund. Caitlyn stated in her proposal: “While incorporation and development of technology with the arts is certainly an important part of our discipline, I believe it is just as important to hold onto the craft of making things by hand. There is a beauty in the handmade object and in the process of making that object, that makes our ceramics courses a unique learning experience for students at D-E.”

Caitlyn will use the funding to attend the Native American Arts program at Idyllwild Arts in Southern California’s San Jacinto Mountains, where she will study under Diane Jenkins, daughter of renowned Pueblo potter Blue Corn.  In congratulating Caitlyn, Head of School Dr. Rodney De Jarnett said, “This experience will allow Caitlyn to further explore her interest in merging contemporary [artistic teaching] ideas with handcrafting techniques.”

Sloan Fellowship Award

The Sloan Fellowship, given every other year, promotes professional growth within the History and Social Studies Department by offering university-level courses, conferences, seminars and travel/learn opportunities to select faculty. Named for Dr. Ralph Sloan, who served as Headmaster at D-E from 1998-2006, this award supports two years of study. Upper School History Department faculty member Alex Russell-Walker was recognized by Dr. De Jarnett for being the 2016-2017 Sloan Fellowship awardee.

Blackwell Award

The Blackwell Award recognizes a D-E teacher who exudes a passion for education and teaching. It is named for Rebecca Blackwell, respected assistant head of school, middle school principal, language department chair and language teacher who served at the School for more than 40 years. Awardees exemplify Rebecca Blackwell’s enthusiasm for teaching and her dedication to the School’s mission of “life-long learning.” This year’s Blackwell Award recipient was Middle School Science teacher and coach Courtney Marro, who in the words of Dr. De Jarnett “has been a beam of light from her start here at Dwight-Englewood School…Courtney has a great relationship with her students, and her dedication to teaching is unteachable—[this is] something you are born with.”

Carskadon Award

The Carskadon Award is named in memory of Thomas Carskadon, former longtime D-E Trustee, and is given to a teacher who has exceptional drive for excellent classroom teaching and a particular dedication for students to succeed through that teaching. Upper School Science faculty member Dr. Marco Pagnotta received the Carskadon Award for his “desire to inspire” through teaching. Dr. De Jarnett noted, “Marco Pagnotta works hard to ensure every single student reaches his or her potential in his classes. From writing his own unique labs and activities, captivating our students in AP Chemistry, even using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream, “Dr. P” engages everyone to make the learning of science fun. Marco has also guided the award-winning D-E Robotics team in a way like no other. His advice and expertise provides a chance for our students to learn from their mistakes and “experience real science.” 

Geralyn Kossmann Award

The Geralyn Kossman Award was established in memory of Geralyn Kossmann, beloved nurse and assistant athletic director at D-E. Awardees are those teachers who give meaningful contributions to the School, characterizing goodwill and a spirit of giving that is “above and beyond.” This year’s recipient, Lower School teacher Madison Farrar, “has worn many hats at D-E, seemingly ready to embrace any challenge that comes her way,” noted Dr. De Jarnett. Beyond serving the needs of our Lower School community she has been involved with our Diversity Committee, our Upper School Basketball teams, our D-E 360° AfterCare & Enrichment and Summer Connections programs, and our all-school community service drives and events. Madison demonstrates true commitment to our D-E community.” 

Williams Award for Creative Excellence

This Williams Award for Creative Excellence was established by Charles and Pam Williams, parents of Geoffrey Williams, D-E ’99, and in memory of Charles’s parents. Awardees epitomize creativity in how they approach the education process. Dr. De Jarnett commented, “The 2017 Williams Award recipient, D-E Visual Arts teacher Caitlyn Young, has shown a willingness to work tirelessly and to take risks. Her classroom environment encourages emotional work and inspires students to access their deeply held ideas. Caitlyn does not merely teach the mechanics of ceramics, she inspires creations. She allows students to feel fully empowered by their artwork and see their work as vehicles for change.”

Trustee Emeriti

Emily Mann was named as the newest member of the Dwight-Englewood School’s Trustee Emerti. As noted by outgoing Board of Trustees President Matt Golub during the dinner, “The life-time position of Trustee Emeriti is reserved for those exceptional members of the D-E Board of Trustees who have represented, during their tenure on the Board, the very best of the School’s Mission Statement, core values and the work of their colleagues on the Board.”

A community leader and architectural designer, Emily served on the Board from 1992 to 1999. During her tenure, she chaired Development, and was instrumental in initiating many of D-E’s Special Events (Bulldog Classic, Auction), working closely with Bea Movsesian. She also served on Finance and ad hoc Marketing Committees. Emily and her husband, Sam, were committed to alcohol and drug abuse education, funding approximately $150,000 worth of programming between 1997 and 2001. More recently, she served on the 125th Gala Committee and this year the Manns opened their home to our Head of School Society displaying their world-class car collection.

Emily has also served in numerous volunteer leadership capacities for Ramapo College. As a member of the planning board for the City of Englewood, Emily’s expertise is evident through her work on the Central Business District, Economic Development Corporation and the Mainstreet Program, where she has received special recognition. 

Emily and Sam have two sons who attended D-E:  James Mann ’96 and Jonathan Mann ’92.

Milestones and Retirees

Faculty and staff who have served for 10, 20, 25, and 30 years at the School were also recognized during the dinner, as were the faculty and staff members retiring from the School this year. Each retireee was presented with a hand-inscribed, D-E chair. The impressive careers and immense contributions of Patricia Doré, Executive Assistant to the Head of School; Lynne Rullo, Assistant to the Lower School Principal; and Sheila Seinicki, Lower School Librarian, were shared in detail. Congratulations to all our 2017 Faculty, Staff and Trustees Dinner honorees.


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