From recruitment to recognition, endowed gifts support Rye Country Day’s continued commitment to faculty and staff excellence. The RCDS culture of excellence ensures that the School can attract and retain the best faculty for our students, preserving high academic standards and fulfilling our mission of offering a challenging program that stimulates individuals to achieve their maximum potential through academic, athletic, creative, and social endeavors.

Please consider making a gift in honor of RCDS faculty/staff

MAKE A GIFT TODAY


To learn about endowed giving opportunities, please contact Lynette Gioffre, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, at lynette_gioffre@ryecountryday.org

Cohen Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Cohen Excellence in Teaching Awards are yearly $10,000 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.

The awards are the result of a tremendous leadership gift of $10 million from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation to the Advancing a Tradition of Excellence campaign. As past parents of the School, Mr. and Mrs. Cohen recognize the importance of supporting our excellent faculty. Five million dollars of their $10 million capital gift has been put towards the campaign’s $7.5 million goal for raising the endowment for faculty and staff.

2018-19 Recipients



Gil Castagna

Physical Education Teacher and Coach

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Gil is one of the School’s longest serving teachers at Rye Country Day, having joined the faculty in 1979. His dedication to the School, his students, and his work, is evident. As a coach, he has demonstrated his versatility across multiple sports. While he encourages his athletes to compete hard, he also expects them to show exemplary sportsmanship. As a PE teacher, Gil is extremely nurturing and supportive. One nominee wrote, “Watching Gil’s PE classes, especially with our youngest students, is a gift you should give yourself if you have never seen it. It is pure joy!”



Doug Cerrone

Upper School Math Teacher

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Doug has been an outstanding Upper School math teacher, capable of working with the most or least confident students at RCDS, since he joined RCDS in 2003. He is a team player who is always enthusiastic about collaborating with other teachers and is willing to cover for a colleague. Doug thinks deeply about pedagogy and consistently takes the time to understand the individual needs of each student.



Karen Cosgrove

Second Grade Teacher

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Karen focuses on the positive aspects of each child, but also holds them accountable for their actions. She develops strong relationships with students’ families, giving consistent and thoughtful feedback. While she fully embraced the second grade curriculum, she was willing to change and tweak it; for example, just when she acclimated to the Immigration Unit, she revamped it so that it was more reflective of students in the grade. Karen collaborates well with her grade-level partners and participates in the life of the School through the Faculty Staff Association and the Lower School Community Council.



Carrie Donahue

Middle School Counselor and SEEK Teacher

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Carrie has been at the forefront of social-emotional learning for decades, and the world only seems to be catching up now. The work that she does with our Middle School students in SEEK is top-notch, and she tailors each topic to the individual section's needs - not just the grade’s. She is sought out by and an excellent mentor for faculty advisors, as well as for parents; one only has to attend one of her very popular Middle School parent coffees to see how much parents rely on her advice. Carrie is masterful at managing even the most difficult situations; she is selfless when it comes to helping others, and seemingly tireless in how much she can listen to, validate, and honestly respond to others.



Jennifer Doran

Upper School Science Teacher

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Jennifer has a contagious enthusiasm for teaching, and her passion for science is mirrored by her students. Her own eager curiosity makes her perfect for shepherding students through the independent work required by the Science Research program. She is a warm hearted advisor and supportive teacher. Jennifer has also worked collaboratively on STEAM projects with colleagues in different departments.



Stacy Kaufman

Fourth Grade Teacher

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Stacy is a staunch supporter of all her students, yet she knows how to focus on the individual child and build each student’s confidence. She is a flexible teacher who has taught Kindergarten, second, and fourth grades with skill and enthusiasm. She is a team player, collaborating often with colleagues and celebrating their successes. Stacy is always willing to further her own professional development and was instrumental in the Lower School Lesson Studies initiative.



Ali Morgan

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

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Ali is loyal to everyone in the community. He handles whatever comes his way and is unflappable when helping students and adults work through difficult discussions. This past year, Ali helped lead the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. In addition, he collaborates with colleagues on other initiatives throughout the School, which creates a wonderful cohesiveness within the program. He supports the Humanities Department by teaching an Upper School elective, the Arts Department by teaching in the drama program, and the Athletics Department by coaching after school.



Amanda Sackey

Middle School Science Teacher

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Amanda’s classroom is a student-centered space designed for exploration and innovation. She derives inspiration for her students from the natural world.

Her interest in professional development always starts with an exploration of what is important to her students. Amanda is an active participant and thought leader in sustainability, diversity and inclusion, public purpose, and service learning; in addition, she teaches in the ACTION program each summer, and she supports the performing arts by choreographing the Upper School Musical. Amanda radiates warmth, optimism, and positivity, and we are a better institution because of her presence.



Tim Silverman

Middle School Spanish Teacher, Upper School Counselor and Co-Leader of Peer Leadership

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Tim creatively uses high and low tech, movement, and gestures to support his excellent teaching. He is highly active in annual committee work: Health and Wellness, Peer Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, and the Middle School advisory program. Tim is constantly shaping students into “upstanders” and cares deeply about their well being beyond the classroom. He wants to ensure a measure of ethical and honorable behavior in Rye Country Day students, and enjoys counseling, teaching, and coaching in order to interact and connect with them in various ways. On a daily basis, Tim contributes heartily, humorously, and good-naturedly to make RCDS a better place for us all.



Heidi Southard

Head Athletic Trainer and Health Teacher

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Since arriving in 2011, Heidi has been the ultimate team player. She is a kind hearted, selfless person and frequently volunteers her time to help others. She shows tremendous dedication and support to all of our students, especially our student-athletes. As an athletic trainer, she helps educate coaches and student-athletes about the prevention of injury. When student-athletes are injured, she supports them and their families through the recovery and return-to-play processes, carrying out these responsibilities in a thoroughly professional manner. Heidi consistently explores ways to improve and strengthen the areas of player safety and communication with coaches. She is also supportive of all aspects of our Health and Wellness initiative and teaches Health, Anatomy and Life Skills in the Upper School.

Past Recipients

Anne Bedrick

Anne Bedrick

Lower School Art

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A creative and innovative teacher, Anne introduced a “choice program” that gives Lower School students ownership and responsibility for their creative pursuits in Art class. She helps students think critically about their work, encouraging them to develop their creative skills. Anne works collaboratively with her Lower School colleagues and often seeks interdisciplinary approaches to specific projects. One example of such collaboration was the Grade Three STEAM projects that combined art, technology, and science.

Anne actively pursues professional development through attendance at conferences and workshops. She often shares professional development ideas with colleagues. In recent years, she has presented workshops on her “choice program,” and she regularly serves as a mentor to aspiring student teachers from local colleges. At RCDS, Anne has led the Bowls for Haiti faculty initiative that raises funds during the International Arts Festival, and she serves on the School’s Balance and Wellness Committee.

Cathie Bischoff

Cathie Bischoff

Chair of Science and Coordinator of STEAM

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In 2001, Cathie Bischoff joined the RCDS faculty as the new chair of the Science Department for Grades 9 through 12, a role that was later expanded to include oversight of the Middle and Lower School Science programs , as well. As department chair, Cathie models professional growth by participating in various conferences and workshops, and she enthusiastically encourages her department colleagues to follow her lead. Her teaching has recently focused mainly on AP Biology and AP Environmental Science, two courses where her students have achieved excellent results. She also has co-taught biology, physics and middle school science courses over the years. Most recently, Cathie has developed and co-taught an interdisciplinary engineering elective in the Upper School, while also serving as coordinator of the expanding, school-wide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) initiative.



Ginny Black

Middle School Language Arts

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Ginny is a master teacher with creativity and innovation at the forefront of her teaching practice during an impressive 40-year career at RCDS. This year she embarked upon teaching sixth grade Language Arts, in addition to her beloved eighth graders. Ginny exhibits excellence in teaching with her positive and caring attitude, fairness and respect for students, enthusiasm, dedication, and reflective approach to her practice. Ginny's advisees adore her; she is thoughtful, nurturing, and helps them see the big picture of their seventh- and eighth-grade years at RCDS.

Susan Burns

Susan Burns

Middle School Social Studies

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Susan Burns has been making learning at RCDS fun and meaningful since 2008, when she started at RCDS as a teacher of Grade 4. In 2014, she moved to the Middle School to teach Grade 6 Social Studies. At whatever level she is teaching, Susan creates a classroom environment where students feel appreciated and comfortable asking questions, and she is dedicated to meeting students where they are developmentally. She has brought energy, commitment, and attention to detail to her role as middle school public purpose coordinator, and has championed the service learning work of faculty and students. Susan is a top-notch advisor and an excellent communicator and collaborator. She also has served as an assistant coach for the girls’ varsity soccer team.

Anne Bedrick

Ellen Cartwright

Middle School Dean of Girls; Director & Instructor Middle School Study Skills Program

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Ellen joined RCDS in 2000 and has become a fundamental leader in the Middle School. She is an unassuming, practical, and knowledgeable professional and someone every single Middle School faculty member loves to talk to and go to for advice. She is an experienced member of the RCDS community and truly enjoys helping everyone grow and develop in their roles. Ellen has been a key supporter of school initiatives, including the Upper School girls' efforts to work with Middle School girls through the Etre Club and WISE.

Monique Caterina

Monique Caterina

Kindergarten

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Monique Caterina joined the RCDS faculty in 2010 as an assistant teacher and later was hired as a lead teacher for Kindergarten. She stands out as a strong collaborator, eager to work with all members of the community with thoughtfulness and quiet enthusiasm. She has extended the Public Purpose, Global Studies, and Balance and Wellness initiatives into her curriculum and instruction. Among her accomplishments, she has expanded the Homes Around the World kindergarten unit; run several after-school clubs; served as a co-leader of the SET (Saturday Enrichment Tutorial) program for local public students in Grades 1-4; and served as SCOPE Coordinator, Responsive Classroom Coordinator, Summer Mini-Camps Coordinator, and Assistant Teacher Mentor Program Coordinator. She has recently been awarded a fellowship through the Institute for Innovative Teaching and Learning to develop Mindfulness Toolkits for Lower and middle school teachers, so as to lead our faculty and students in developing a common language and practice.

Matt Cavanaugh

Matt Cavanaugh

Upper School Spanish and Grade 9 Dean

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An engaging, energetic teacher, Matt Cavanaugh has effectively taught all levels of Spanish from Level 1 through AP Literature during the past 18 years. He maintains the highest standards, cares deeply about each of his students, and is always focused on teaching the whole student. In this sense, he manages to balance a rigorous, yet nurturing approach in his classroom. An experienced chaperone, Matt has participated on numerous RCDS trips, including the service learning trip to Nicaragua, as well as the global studies trip to Sicily. In 2014, Matt was appointed co-dean of Grade 9, and he brings the same focus and understanding to these additional responsibilities that involve guiding and supporting freshman students as they begin their high school careers.



Sarah Danziger

Classics Department Chair

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One of Sarah’s colleagues described her in the following manner: “She is an incredible department chair. Her classroom observation feedback has been invaluable to the development of my teaching …. I credit my willingness to take risks … to her trust and confidence in me.” As a department chair and as a teacher, Sarah models a high level of scholarship and a love of Latin. For instance, she regularly meets with individual AP Latin students to sight-read passages of Latin text. On another occasion, she stayed late after school to explore the use of specific verbs in passages from Caesar with a department colleague.

Beyond her role in the Classics Department, Sarah was actively involved in the proposal that has led to the creation of the new Institute for Innovative Teaching and Learning, which was piloted last summer. She is a regular, thoughtful contributor to the school-wide Curriculum Council and the strategic planning committee focusing on Leadership, Character, and Ethics. Her work on the latter led to her involvement with co-teaching a week-long bio-ethics seminar for Upper School students in June.

Clemmie Everett

Clemmie Everett

Humanities

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An excellent Humanities teacher, including United States History and Global Economics, Clemmie brings fresh ideas and innovative approaches to her classroom. She regularly attends conferences and workshops to stay current in her field, and she finds ways to connect her courses to current event and other disciplines.

Clemmie’s contributions extend well beyond the classroom, as she has been the assistant coach for the highly successful girls’ field hockey team. As a member of the Leadership, Character, and Ethics strategic planning committee, she helped to develop the first Student Leadership workshop that was launched in 2015. As co-leader of the school-wide Sustainability Committee, she has helped to keep “green initiatives” moving forward following the School’s 2013 Green Ribbon School recognition. In addition, she recently volunteered to chaperone a week-long service learning trip to Nicaragua.

Jay Gerlach

Jay Gerlach

Drama and Dance Department Chair

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Right from the start, Jay has been a true pied piper on behalf of the Drama and Dance department at RCDS. His collaborative approach within his department, as well as with faculty from other disciplines, is exemplary. Nominations in support of Jay pointed out the following: “The work that Jay does with his team and students is phenomenal; His work ethic is impressive.” In five years, he has grown participation in the Student/Faculty Musical, which involved 130 students in three sell-out performances of Legally Blonde this past February. Jay has also brought an innovative approach to the Spring One Acts by having students select the theme, direct the plays, and design the sets – all of which resulted in a well received Upper School assembly.

Jay is committed to professional development for himself and his department members. In his own case, he is pursuing a second master’s degree through summer study in Colorado. For his department, he uses his contacts in the New York theater world to bring actors and dancers to campus, and he invites his department colleagues to a Broadway performance each year.

Anne Bedrick

Amy Haff

First Grade

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Since 2006, Amy Haff has filled her classroom with joy and support for her students. She is consistent, has an upbeat positive attitude and addresses the emotional needs of students first and foremost. Amy is willing to reevaluate curriculum, introducing the First Grade Post Office this year, which was a huge success with all Lower School students. Amy continues her own professional development by investigating the new phonics program and shares her findings with colleagues.

Sara Ingrassia

Sara Ingrassia

Lower School Mathematics

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Since 2003, Sara Ingrassia has brought an abundance of knowledge about math programs and a true dedication to students to the RCDS Lower School. Sara works with students at all levels to develop strong math skills and a love for the subject. She collaborates often with colleagues, providing materials and guidance in teaching, modeling lessons in her classroom, and serving as an in-house professional development resource for RCDS faculty. Sara holds several math workshops each year for parents of all lower school grade levels. In nominating her, a colleague wrote that Sara’s “gentle engagement with students yet disciplined and critical approach to teaching and student evaluation make her memorable to students and their parents.”

Mary Krasovec

Mary Krasovec

Upper School Science

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Mary Krasovec joined the Upper School Science Department in 2008 as the RCDS physics program was growing. Ever since, she has led a strong course of study that engages and challenges students from an introductory level through various AP courses. A lifelong learner, Mary is constantly discovering new tools, new ideas, and new methods to improve her courses. In every respect, she is an impressive role model for female students in science and engineering. As head of the RCDS Young Physicists Tournament (YPT) program, she has adjusted the program so it now includes more students in this indepth study of physics problems. It is not surprising that, under Mary’s leadership, the RCDS YPT teams have been successful at the annual YPT competition, including winning the national championship in 2016 and the world championship in 2012 and 2017!

Anne Bedrick

Joan Kubisch

Upper School Spanish Teacher; Middle School French Teacher

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Joan Kubisch joined RCDS in 2005. She is a kind, nurturing, and understanding teacher who knows her students well. Joan’s accommodating and flexible nature has proven to be invaluable, as she teaches both Middle School French and Upper School Spanish. When a teacher left, Joan was ready, willing, and able to fill the void, both in terms of doing the work and receiving necessary support from her colleagues in the department. Joan carried these duties superbly and responsibly and continues to do so.

Nicole Leath

Nicole Leath

Fourth Grade

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As a lead teacher of Kindergarten and now Grade Four, Nicole has demonstrated her strong ability to create, sequence, and scaffold curriculum. She integrates technology very effectively into her classroom, while offering differentiated instruction that meets each student’s academic needs. For students who need extra support, Nicole willingly extends herself, often meeting before and after school to offer extra help to individual students.

Nicole’s other Lower School contributions include serving on the school-wide Scope and Sequence Committee, participating on the Grade Four Admissions Committee, and mentoring the Assistant Teachers and new Lower School faculty. This spring, she helped chaperone the girls’ golf team spring training trip. In addition, she has served as the Summer Mini-Camp Coordinator for 10 years.

Anne Bedrick

Melissa Liebowitz

Lower School Music

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Since 2011, Melissa has exuded great enthusiasm for all that she does and the students she teaches. Steeped in Responsive Classroom strategies, she enjoys sharing this information with others and is always willing and available to help her colleagues. Melissa is a leader of the RCDS Arts Festival and International Fair, as well as Grandparents & Special Friends Day. She has high expectations for classroom behavior, yet the joy in her lessons and songs shines through, and the school concerts reflect students’ musical progress.

Mary Marcell

Mary Marcell

Head of Music

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Mary Marcell joined the faculty in 1992 as chair of the Music Department and Upper School choral and band director. Under her leadership, participation in and energy for music at RCDS has grown tremendously. As an educator, Mary teaches her students the fundamentals of music, while also weaving the School’s commitments to diversity, inclusion, global citizenship, and service into her approach and into the repertoire she selects. Over the years, Mary has created many different singing groups to broaden students’ exposure to music and participation in the music program; The Bel Canto, Madrigals, and WildScats choirs provide greater opportunities for in-depth study. In addition, each year Mary combines the collective talents of students, faculty, alumni, and friends into an annual Festival Chorus concert that teaches all the participants a major work, performed with an orchestra, for the enjoyment of the RCDS community. A superb musician in her own right, a talented teacher, a spirited conductor, and an excellent educator, Mary has taken a history of good music at RCDS and turned it into a central and daily activity for a growing number of our students.

Anne Bedrick

Ofelia Marquez

Middle School Mathematics

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Ofelia has accomplished a great deal during her six years at RCDS. This year, Ofelia instituted "Math-o-Magic" during flex times in the cycle, which is an opportunity for students three times a week to come to her classroom to work with her on their math and ask any questions they might have. One only has to see Ofelia taking her students on a “math walk” to know that she is an innovative teacher. She's also one of the teachers who thoughtfully incorporates mindfulness into her classroom, which is extremely helpful for students with math insecurities.

Tammy McKenna

Tammy McKenna

Language Arts

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Tammy is an excellent teacher who incorporates creativity and innovation into the Language Arts curriculum. She is also very dedicated to helping each and every one of her students. One Middle School colleague described her as “a pit bull on the pant leg of student learning.” Nothing falls through the cracks with her students; she meets with students at all hours and regularly throughout the school day to ensure that they “get it.” A similar, thorough approach is evident in Tammy’s work as an advisor. She is quick to communicate with parents of her advisees, and as a result, nothing falls through the cracks.

Tammy models ongoing learning for her students and colleagues. Whenever she attends a conference or workshop, she gives it her full attention and always comes back with outstanding ideas to share and to use in her classroom. She has presented at grade-level meetings about alternative/nontraditional ways to assess students.

Overall, Tammy is a wonderful and very capable colleague who does not seek the limelight, and her students and colleagues greatly benefit from her expertise and friendship.

Kyle Mitschele

Kyle Mitschele

Middle School Social Studies

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Since 2001, Kyle has been inspiring his middle school students to think deeply about topics they are studying, and many of his former students stop by his classroom long after they have moved on to the Upper School to thank him for encouraging them through his teaching . Having taught social studies in three of the four middle-school grades, Kyle has a comprehensive understanding of the scope and sequence in this academic discipline. He also has worked collaboratively with several new RCDS faculty who co-taught his courses. In this respect, his colleagues have benefitted from Kyle’s intense interest in curriculum and pedagogy, two topics he is pursuing through his doctoral studies. Kyle’s impact extends beyond the classroom as he supports middle-school diversity work, serves as a fencing coach at the middle school and varsity levels, participates on the school-wide Scope and Sequence Committee, and co-leads the RCDS Institute’s Community of Innovative Teachers project. For the past six years, Kyle also has served as director of the RCDS Summer School.

Anne Bedrick

Katie O'Shaughnessey

Computer Science Department Chair; Upper School Computer Science

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Katie joined RCDS in 2016 and strives for nothing short of excellence in the classroom. She is constantly revising and improving the Computer Science curriculum to meet needs of both the school and individual students. Katie pro-actively linked Public Purpose to AP Computer Science Principles and electives. Her vibrant energy and kind nature enable her to forge strong working relationships with her colleagues, and she has revived the school-wide technology committee.

Susan Peck

Susan Peck

Mathematics

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Susan demonstrates a solid work ethic, extra effort, and amazing problem-solving skills in all that she does. An exceptional collaborator and supportive colleague, Susan contributes significantly to the Grade Five team and the Middle School Math Department. As Math Department chair, she has been instrumental in the growth and development of the department.

In all of her interactions with students and advisees, Susan is warm, accessible, enthusiastic, and caring. She establishes high expectations for her math students and encourages them to work at their best level, while creating a respectful sense of community and belonging in the classroom. As with other excellent teachers, she is always willing to meet with students outside of class for extra help, often providing them with extra material to help them learn or master specific math concepts.

Last year, she shared her ideas with the Grade Five team for a year-long service learning project focusing on animals. This leadership is indicative of how Susan approaches her work at RCDS every day as she displays a positive attitude, support of the school’s mission, and genuine love of teaching her Middle School students.

Anne Bedrick

Iain Pollock

Upper School English

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In 2015, Iain joined the Upper School English Department and has since become a savvy leader of new faculty. He is a top flight teacher who creates a truly safe classroom, which allows room for all kinds of thinking and discussion. Recently, poetry hit mainstream in the student consciousness, and Iain is the adult energy behind this. As a published poet himself, Iain brings some of the adult work of the academic world into his own personal experience and shares it with the community.

Corey Rubel

Corey Rubel

Middle School Drama

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Corey Rubel brought his energy, creativity, and passion to RCDS in 2014 when he joined the drama program as it was expanding in the middle and lower divisions. As a drama teacher, he helps his students peel away any insecurity they might have so they can tap into their own creativity. He makes sure every student in one of his productions feels like an important part of it. A true believer in collaboration, Corey seeks input from his students and from colleagues when he is co-teaching a class or co-directing a show. His energy and creativity extend beyond the Drama Department, as he engages his advisees through fun activities, motivates his hockey players on the ice, and brings joy to the middle school community through his co-production of the weekly news show Good Morning RCDS with his middle school colleague, Tim Silverman.

Anne Bedrick

Jenny Smith

Upper School Physical Education & Coach

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During her six years at RCDS, Jenny has proven to be a versatile and valuable coach, leading varsity tennis, JV soccer and JV basketball. She is always willing and able to step in and help her colleagues, including covering for others on medical leave. She puts the students first and cares about doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. Jenny finds every opportunity to use teachable moments to reinforce life lessons learned in physical education and sports, and continues to be a superb role model for other coaches.

Richard Strean

Richard Strean

Humanities Department Chair

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As one colleague pointed out Rich is the “definition of a master teacher.” As such, he is always exploring ways to expand what and how he teaches, including integrating technology into his classroom. Rich stays on top of his field through reading, web searching, and professional development, and he encourages department colleagues to pursue similar opportunities.

In addition to his teaching and department roles, Rich sponsored numerous independent study projects, and he led a series of lunchtime sessions featuring students who have been in his independent study group. These sessions present current topics for discussion among faculty and students.

All in all, students comment regularly on the rigor and challenge AND rewards of having Rich as a teacher. As students head off to college and beyond, they realize and appreciate the long- term impact he has on their critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

Georgette Summers

Georgette Summers

Assistant Athletic Director

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Georgette Summers, assistant athletic director and coach of varsity field hockey and girls’ varsity lacrosse, joined the RCDS staff in 2000. In her 17 years at RCDS, she has coached the field hockey team to eight NYSAIS championships and the lacrosse team to three NYSAIS championships. The field hockey team has 204 wins, 74 losses, and 15 ties under her leadership, while the lacrosse team has 175 wins, 96 losses, and two ties. In 2015, the girls’ lacrosse team had its first-ever undefeated season, winning FAA, NYSAIS, and WNEPSAA championships. That year, Georgette was honored as the first recipient of the Frank Effinger Coaching Award. In addition to coaching, Georgette teaches the required upper school health course. More important than her stellar win-loss record is Georgette’s steadfast commitment to her students and athletes. She is an outstanding advisor to upper school students, and is committed to helping her advisees and athletes develop leadership skills, character, and mindfulness practices. Georgette’s positive and thoughtful approach to students, love for her work, and professionalism make her a model teacher and mentor.

Anne Bedrick

Ethan White

Upper School Humanities & Coach

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Ethan White has been an excellent teacher during his 13 years at RCDS, and continues to exhibit his ability to teach the entire range of our students. Ethan has spent many years coaching cross country and track with an open, inviting, supportive atmosphere. He oversees Model UN, an active (and large) club, serves a co-director of the Academic ACTION program that brings 75 middle-school students to RCDS for the month of July, and he organizes the new student/parent orientation for incoming Upper School students.

Ashley Zanon

Ashley Zanon

Dance Instructor

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Ashley has injected energy, expertise, and encouragement into the RCDS Dance program. Participation has increased at the Middle and Upper School levels as she encourages students to try Dance and manages to teach many different ability levels by framing her approach perfectly for each student. Ashley uses terminology at all levels to invigorate students’ learning, and she encourages students to reflect on the creative process.

Ashley is constantly thinking of new ways to collaborate with other disciplines and support other programs. By incorporating the choreography for the Musical into the Dance program, she has elevated the performances of everyone – the chorus and individual actors. She achieves this by seamlessly weaving together the best dancers with those who are just beginning their study. The annual Dance Recital has also developed into a major school event that includes dancers from Grades 7 through 12 and highlights some student-created dances.

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.

2018-19 Recipients

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 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


Endowed Faculty Chairs

The Rye Country Day 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 its inception, eight Endowed Faculty Chairs have been created, seven of which rotate every three years.

Current Faculty Chairholders

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, 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


Former Faculty Chairs

Ginny Black
Middle School Language Arts
Middle School Chair

Ellen Cartwright
Dean, Grades 7 & 8, Director & Instructor, Middle School Study Skills Program
Middle School Chair

Sandra Castagna
Grade 2
Lower School Chair

Matt Cavanaugh
Grade 9 Dean; Upper School Spanish
Class of 2006 Chair - Upper School

Carrie Donahue
Counselor, Middle School
RCDS Auxiliary Chair

Cary Fuller
Former Upper School English Teacher
English Chair

Amanda Hanzlik
Former Lower School Music Teacher
Lower School Chair

Virginia Hearon
Former Lower School Librarian
Joel Brockman Memorial Chair, Lower School

Jenny Heath
Grade 11 Dean; Upper School English
English Department Chair - Upper School

Jennifer Iannariello
Former Grade 2 Teacher
Lower School Chair

Jessica Kaplan
Former Middle School Language Arts
English Department Chair

Stacy Kaufman
Grade 4
Joel Brockman Memorial Chair - Lower School

Sarah Land
Upper School English Teacher; Yearbook Advisor
English Chair

Nicole Leath
Grade 4
Joel Brockman Memorial Chair, Lower School

Mary Marcell
Head of Music Department and Upper School Music
Class of 2006 Chair, Upper School

Norma Mabry
Former Head of Modern Languages and Upper School French Teacher
RCDS Auxiliary Chair

Kyle Mitschele
Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Middle School Chair

Brian O'Callaghan
Dean Grade 5; Middle School Social Studies
Middle School Chair

Caryn Olson
Grade 4
Joel Brockman Memorial Chair - Lower School

Susan Peck
Middle School Mathematics
Middle School Chair

Elvira Rebate
Lower School and Upper School Spanish
Lower School Chair

Matt Rosolen
Dean, Grades 7 & 8; Middle School Mathematics Teacher
Middle School Chair

Joe Rue
Upper School Science
Class of 2006 Chair - Upper School

Debra Simpson
Lower School Science
RCDS Auxiliary Chair

Betsy Stedman
Assistant Middle School Principal, Dean of Grade 6, Middle School Mathematics
Middle School Chair

Richard Strean
Former Head of Humanities Department, Grades 5-12
The Sue & Edgar Wachenheim III Humanities Department Chair

Aundrea Tabbs-Smith
Former Kindergarten Teacher
Lower School Chair

David Tafe
Former Classics Teacher
Class of 2006 Chair, Upper School


Seniority Fellowships

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

2018-19 Recipients



Meredith DeChabert

Associate Head of School, Middle School Principal


Jennifer DeVito

Upper School Librarian



Laura Festo

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher



Johnny Flynn

Humanities Department Chair, Grade 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.

2018-19 Recipients



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 Awards & Chairs