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Celebrating Outstanding Faculty and Staff Contributions

Coming together to reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of the academic year, Rye Country Day School faculty and staff attended the Faculty & Staff Tea on May 30. This festive annual gathering recognizes individual faculty and staff for their outstanding contributions to Rye Country Day through seniority fellowships, endowed awards, vacation grants, and anniversary and retirement celebrations. Congratulations and deep gratitude to all of our awardees and honorees!

Seniority Fellowships
Faculty and staff who have served Rye Country Day for over 10 years are eligible for one of five Seniority Fellowships.

Meredith deChabert
Assistant Head of School, Middle School Principal

Jennifer DeVito
Upper School Librarian

Laura Festo
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Johnny Flynn
Humanities Department Chair, Grades 5-12 Humanities Teacher

Ethan White
Upper School Humanities Teacher, Coach

Summer Vacation Grants
Nominated by their peers, six faculty members (two from the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools), two staff, and two administrators are awarded Summer Vacation Grants. Designated for travel and vacation during the summer months, these special grants recognize outstanding service to Rye Country Day. Many thanks to our dedicated colleagues. We can't wait to hear about your adventures!

Debra Simpson
Lower School Science Teacher

Jamie Radwan
Lower School Learning Specialist

Ellen Cartwright
Grade 7 & 8 Dean, Director of Middle School Study Skills Program

Tammy McKenna
Language Arts Teacher, Middle School Learning Specialist

Kerry Linderoth
Director of Sustainability, Upper & Middle School Science Teacher

Dan Murray
Upper School Latin Teacher, Coordinator of Global Studies

Stephanie Melgar
Computer Technician

Ariana Wimpy
Student Billing Manager

Eliza McLaren
Director of the Institute for Innovative Teaching & Learning, Director of Marketing & Communications

Dion Beard
Director of Facilities

Endowed Faculty Chairs
The Rye Country Day School Endowed Faculty Chair program was established to honor and reward outstanding teachers in all three divisions of the School, while also providing additional funds for overall faculty compensation. Since the program's inception, eight Endowed Faculty Chairs have been created, seven of which rotate every three years.

Joel Brockman Memorial Chair - Lower School

Whitney Turner
Lower School Computer Science Teacher

Sue & Edgar Wachenheim III Humanities Department Chair

Johnny Flynn
Humanities Department Chair Grades 5-12, Upper School Humanities Teacher

RCDS Parents Association Chair

Debra Pager
Director of Student Support Services, Lower School Psychologist

English Chair

Ted Heintz
Grade 10 Dean, Upper School English Teacher

Middle School Chair

Marcia Mignon
Middle School Science Teacher

Middle School Chair

Beatrice DeSabatino
Middle School Latin Teacher

Lower School Chair

Laura Festo
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Class of 2006 Chair

Gary Solem
Upper School Art Teacher

Endowed Awards
Endowed awards are presented to faculty and staff for outstanding service to RCDS. Recipients are those who meet the specific criteria for each award.

Frank Effinger Award
for outstanding service to RCDS

Elizabeth Bennett
Athletics Office Administrator, Coach

Priscilla Liebman Award
in recognition of courage and outstanding service to RCDS

Ileana Hernández Carafas
Upper School Spanish Teacher

Linda Grossman Award
for outstanding service to RCDS

Morgan Fitzpatrick
Admissions Office Administrative Assistant

Carol Lichtenfeld Award
for outstanding advising in the Middle School

Denise Francella
Physical Education Teacher & Coach

Will McCurdy Award
for outstanding advising in the Upper School

Donald Kyle '81
Dean of Upper School Students & Upper School English Teacher

Cohen Excellence in Teaching Awards
The Cohen Excellence in Teaching Awards are yearly grants awarded to faculty members who have been nominated by their peers and selected by the administration for outstanding instruction and contributions to the School. These awards are the result of a leadership gift from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation to the Advancing a Tradition of Excellence campaign.

Karen Cosgrove
Grade 2 Teacher

Stacy Kaufman
Grade 4 Teacher

Carrie Donahue
Middle School Counselor

Amanda Sackey
Middle School Science Teacher

Tim Silverman
Middle School Spanish Teacher, Upper School Counselor, Peer Leadership Director

Doug Cerrone
Upper School Mathematics Teacher

Jen Doran
Upper School Science Teacher

Ali Morgan
Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Humanities and Drama Teacher, Coach

Gil Castagna
Physical Education Teacher, Coach

Heidi Southard
Head Athletic Trainer, Upper School Health Teacher

With meaningful dedication spanning up to 40 years, the following faculty and staff were recognized for their ongoing service at Rye Country Day School. Congratulations to our anniversary celebrants and thank you for your commitment to Rye Country Day!

From left to right: Joe LaVigna, David Yellen, Lauris Khan, Matt Cavanaugh, Gil Castagna. Not pictured: Lorraine Brimat-Smith

40 Years

  • Gil Castagna: Physical Education Teacher; Coach
20 Years
  • Lorraine Brimat-Smith: Middle School Administrative Assistant
  • Matt Cavanaugh: Grade 9 Dean, Upper School Spanish Teacher
  • Lauris Khan: Upper School Mathematics Teacher
  • Joe LaVigna: Maintenance
  • David Yellen: Upper School Mathematics Teacher

Rye Country Day bid farewell to six members of the faculty and staff who concluded their careers at the close of this academic year. We thank them and wish them all the best in retirement.

From left to right: Carmela De Carlo, Ileana Hernández Carafas, Denise Francella, Kate Ordway. Not pictured: Heather Robinson, Susan Nelson
  • Denise Francella: Physical Education Teacher & Coach (27 years)
  • Heather Robinson: Library Assistant (26 years)
  • Susan Nelson: Director of Publications (25 years)
  • Kate Ordway: English Department Chair, Upper School English Teacher, AP Art History Teacher (21 years)
  • Carmela DeCarlo: Upper School Administrative Assistant (17 years)
  • Ileana Hernández Carafas: Upper School Spanish Teacher (12 years)