Gala Auction Dinner Dance 2017

Celebrating Children Inspiring Dreams was the theme for the 14th Annual Gala Auction Dinner Dance, held February 25, 2017.  The biennial event raised more than $250,000 and all proceeds are directed to the Faculty & Staff Fund, which helps to support training and professional development for D-E teachers in all three divisions of the School. 

More than 400 parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends gathered at the shimmering ballrooms of the Glenpointe Marriott in Teaneck, NJ, to recognize this year’s Gala Auction honorees; bid upon (and win) exciting live and silent auction items; savor an amazing appetizer buffet representative of dozens of ethnic delicacies; enjoy each other’s company during a delicious sit-down dinner; and dance!   

Head of School Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett congratulated honoree Rob DeBellis

Head of School Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett congratulated honoree Rob DeBellis

In the welcome remarks of Head of School Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett, he noted, “Our children could have no better community celebrating and inspiring them… In a world filled with uncertainty, we must teach our children not to be pushed by the problems they see around them, but rather led by their dreams. Dreams won’t work unless the dreamer works. That is where the D-E experience is so unique. Faculty and staff, through kindness and empathy, and with knowledge and experience, help our students not only learn how ‘to do,’ they inspire them to do, so that their dreams come true.”

This year’s three deserving Gala Auction honorees together represent more than 65 years of dedicated service to Dwight-Englewood School. 

Rob DeBellis, described by his colleagues as the dreamer and “Pied Piper” of Jazz Rock and Stage Band, has shared enthusiasm for music for more than 20 years at D-E. He has taught saxophone, clarinet and flute in the Music Lesson Program, shaping the skills of our leading players. Motivating, inspiring and teaching some of our best musicians, Rob goes “above and beyond” — writing and arranging most of the charts for our ensembles, and working closely with wind instruments to enhance our amazing orchestral program. He also inspires our children through doing: holding a reed chair in the Broadway production of  The Lion King while juggling recording sessions and other professional appearances.

From left are Kelly Sacks, Miyako Hontani Schwartz ’81, Brian Kosnik, Lynne Rullo, Rob DeBellis, Annette De Jarnett, and Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett

From left are Kelly Sacks, Miyako Hontani Schwartz ’81, Brian Kosnik, Lynne Rullo, Rob DeBellis, Annette De Jarnett, and Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett

For 16 years, Brian Kosnik has been a model of versatility, creativity, and commitment in our community. Beginning his career as an actor, he made the wise and generous decision to move into the classroom, much to the enrichment of several generations of Dwight-Englewood students, first in the Middle School, and in recent years in the Upper School. His many elective courses, notably Gender and Identity, have challenged students to think boldly and imaginatively about complex topics; at the same time, he guides students toward the intellectual rigor they will need to succeed as undergraduates and engaged citizens, and he influences our students long after they graduate as well.

Since 1998, Lynne Rullo handles it all in the Lower School. In her role as Administrative Assistant she effortlessly manages all aspects of running the office efficiently with superb organizational skills and personal charm and grace. In the words of Dr. De Jarnett, “She knows well the many needs of our youngest students and their parents. Her capable and steady presence reassures parents their children will be well-cared for throughout their day. Loved by colleagues, often providing a listening ear, Lynne’s kindness, devotion and thoughtfulness make us a better community.”

The success of this event was entirely due to the commitment, creativity, and vision of this year’s Gala Auction Committee, volunteers, and sponsors. The sincerest of thanks go to our Gala Auction Co-Chairs Kelly Sacks and Miyako Hontani Schwartz ’81, the entire Auction Committee, and D-E Special Events Director Bea Morsesian for producing an evening to remember.

In Gratitude

Dwight-Englewood School salutes the following individuals and organizations. Through their immense contributions of time, talent, in-kind gifts, and donations, the Gala Auction Dinner Dance this year was a wonderful success.


Miyako Hontani Schwartz ’81 & Edmondo Schwartz ’81

Nancy & Peter Serpico


Kelly & Mitchell Sacks

Melissa & Lawrence Rosenbloom


Dana Drapkin Baumgarten ’94 & Joshua Baumgarten

Jodi & H. Tony Berger

Sofia & Peter Blanchard

Phoebe Boyer & Todd Snyder

Terri & Fadi Chartouni

Nila & Nazareth Festekjian

Caralyn & Steven Fuld

Fabe & Victor Gallo

Jennifer & John Law

Kristie Wong & Dr. George Lee

Steffanie & Geoffrey Levin

Jennifer & Alan Mittleman

Beverley Mac Keen & Michael Rego

Dana Romita ’90

Laurie Lovett & Robbe Rosenberg

Tara & Steven Merson

Annitsa & Philip Philliou

Shelley & Ira Taub


A Friend of Dwight-Englewood

Benzel Busch Motor Car Corp

Sandra Agemian Borg ’57 and Malcolm Borg ’56

Young J. & Choon Kee Choi

Marlene & William Griffin

Jasmine & Vipp Jaswal

Joan Van Alstyne Johnson ’44

Emily & Charles Lachman

Tal & Scott Lerman

Pamela & Sean Ludwick

Mindy & Fred Muselli

Margaret & Dr. Gangaram Ragi

Karen Simon

The Trout Family

Special Thanks

Barry Zeller & Roseann Todd, auctioneers extraordinarie


On the Move Entertainment (


Jenny & Kevin Chiang

Xiaoli Wang & Rulhal An

Judy Chow & Xiao Wu Chow

Peggy Ding & Steven Chu

Guohong Fu

Mei Huang & Gang Ying Jiao

Hong Ling


Robin & Mitchell Modell

Congratulatory Journal

The Agresta Family

Nila & Nazareth Festekjian


Fabe & Victor Gallo

Entertainment & Music

On the Move Entertainment

Miyako Hontani Schwartz ’81 and Edmondo Schwartz ’81

Honoree, Faculty & Staff Tables

Abbey Braverman

Jeffrey Gates & Michael Moran

Drs. Natasha & Harlan Levine

Joni Rosen

Aviva & Dr. Carl Saphier ’85

Nancy & Peter Serpico

The Mager, Spitzley & Witmondt Families

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