Currents Magazine 2016

Page 1

Currents The Town School Magazine


Remember Them? They appeared on the very first cover of Currents. Catch up with them inside!


Currents Turns


Currents is published annually by The Town School Advancement Office for families and friends of The Town School.


Heather Greer Jodie Wilkerson CONTRIBUTORS

Melissa Bauman Philip Bien ’95 Verne Becker Danielle Cheriff Emily Fisher Ken Higgins Chelsea Koenig Kathleen O’Brien Telita Perry


Victoria Jackson Jason Lewis Kris Qua Town staff DESIGN


Linzie Hunter


Melissa Bauman Director of Advancement Philip Bien ’95 Director of Annual Giving and Alumni/ae Affairs Jodie Wilkerson Director of Communications Emily Abbott Development and Communications Associate

The editors welcome comments and story ideas from all members of The Town School community. e-mail: mail: Jodie Wilkerson The Town School 540 East 76th Street New York, NY 10021 © 2016 The Town School


class notes


10 2

program peeks


Message from Tony Featherston


Happy Anniversary Currents


Around Town


The 20 Year Club


20 Years of Covers


Meet Philip Bien ’95


Class Notes


Class of 2016


In Memoriam

Inspired by our view of the ever changing river, The Town School founded Currents magazine in 1996. This broad-based magazine is designed to share news and stories with our Town families past, present and future. Currents offers glimpses into Town’s evolving program, while celebrating the things that will always be Town: our philosophy, educational approach, core values and warm, inclusive community.




The Town experience helps our students build a foundation that serves them well in high school, college, and life.


w h o a m ong u s doesn’t at times yearn for the “good old days?” It is natural to think back to a time when things were simpler or better in some way, even if our memories are rarely as accurate as we believe or the old days as good as we remember. As Currents, our annual school magazine, marks its 20th anniversary with this issue, we are using this important point in time to take stock of all that is the same and different at Town. While students and teachers have come and gone over the years, the core essence of Town remains. Our commitment to outstanding academic preparation, firstrate faculty (some of whom started here 20+ years ago), the transformative power of our N–8 configuration, an empathic community, meaningful exposure to the visual and performing arts, a robust physical education and athletic program, and building life-long relationships remain at the core of the Town experience. Today’s graduates enter high school ready for the challenges to come, confident that the skills and perspectives developed at Town will serve them well. Our motto — Gaudeant Discentes, Let There Be Joy in Learning — continues to be the guiding principle that makes the Town experience special and helps our students build a foundation that serves them well in high school, college, and life. At the same time, it is easy to see that much has changed over the last 20 years. While the faculty and curriculum have certainly evolved and improved, perhaps the most revolutionary change is in the area of technology. In 1996 most classrooms had a computer or two, but the internet was in its infancy and the most talked about technology skill in schools was keyboarding. Now our students, all born in 2002 or later, are true digital natives, and we never worry about their typing skills. Today’s Townies cannot remember a time before mobile phones and flat screens, and while they still have a deep love for books and cherish the relationships they develop with their teachers, they cannot imagine school without laptops, iPads, interactive white boards, 3D

printers, and instant wireless connectivity in every corner of the school building. In practical terms it means that our students have access to the world without ever leaving East 76th Street. They do research on everything from the Lenape people to Galileo’s trial; they communicate with peers from every corner of the globe; Upper Schoolers share their work from their iPads on the white boards; students use Google Docs from home to collaborate on assignments in real-time; 7th grade math students made a prosthetic hand using the 3D printer. Just imagine how things might change over the next 20 years! As we note all the progress that has been made, the need to effectively tell Town’s story remains important. Accordingly, the school has been engaged in a rebranding process over the course of this last school year. Working with input from many Town community members — past, present, and future — as well as those outside the school community, we have developed a new look and feel for our print materials and website. The goal was to produce a print and web image that is approachable, dynamic, and bold, just like our students. By the time you are reading this issue of Currents, the new brand identity should be up and running. I hope you enjoy this look at how Town continues to thrive by holding close to its longstanding mission, vision, and values while constantly adapting to meet the needs of our students. Balance has long characterized the Town experience, whether it be between the traditional and innovative, academics and the arts, IQ and EQ, or joy and challenge. What is clear as we look ahead with an eye on our history is that Town continues to be a place where children build a foundation for an impactful future.

Tony Featherston Head of School

Happy Anniversary Currents!


Reunite. Reconnect. Reminisce.

n the spring of 1996, The Town School launched its first issue of Currents magazine. Broader based than any other publications to date, the content of Currents was designed to engage the entire Town community —

parents, alumni/ae, grandparents, faculty, staff and friends. We set out to share information and stories about Town’s ever evolving curriculum, its mission and philosophy, facilities, events and services along with updates on alumni/ae, showcasing their lives and passions. As we looked for an appropriate name for the magazine, we noticed that our sense of place here on the

Where are they now?

East River itself was important to our identity as a school. Ask any student, teacher or parent and they will

Gregory Quinn Gregory is working in the family business in the Caribbean and Latin America. He recently got married in Greece. Favorite Town Memory: the teachers!

proudly declare that the East River is not a river, but a tidal estuary and the currents change direction with the tides. Because of its dual purpose to communicate Town community news and at the same time celebrate our school’s home “where park and river meet,” the name Currents was chosen. We hope everyone finds something of interest within the pages of our 20th Anniversary edition of Currents. From its first paper copy in 1996 to this 2016 edition, which includes an interactive digital experience, we have loved sharing and celebrating Town’s program and community. And so we say “Happy Anniversary to Currents!” and here’s to sharing interesting and inspiring Town stories for many years to come. Melissa Bauman Director of Advancement

Jonathan Wexler Jonathan is an actor and currently lives in Yorkville. In 2010 he shot the film The Stand Up at Town with his brother David. Favorite Town Memory: trips to the farm & field days. Shannon Lewis Shannon, a 3-time marathon finisher, is a development producer at the Academy Award winning film and animation company Passion Pictures. Favorite Town Memories: the 4th grade play “Free to Be a Family,” trips to the farm, the Ellis Island re-enactment, Mr. Higgins’ film, “Spookies,” and learning to play the recorder. Brett Ellison Brett is a marketing analyst at a hedge fund and lives in the same West Village apartment she grew up in. Favorite Town Memories: going to the farm, 4th/8th grade plays: “Free to Be a Family” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” Missy Mariaschin Missy works in Sales & Trading at Barclays and lives on the Upper West Side. Favorite Town Memory: waiting to find out what the 8th grade play was going to be! Currents



News + Notes Celebrating Debby Herschel’s 33-Year Career at Town Debby Herschel started at Town in 1982, and it is no exaggeration to say that she has impacted more Town students and their math experience than anyone before. It’s hard to imagine that anyone will surpass her in the future. Over the years, Debby has been advisor to hundreds of students and inspired countless colleagues. She truly loves math, the learning of it, the teaching of it, and inspiring others through her passion. Debby has been a critical part of Math Olympiad, promoting participation by anyone and everyone. Most of all, she always has an encouraging word for students, parents, faculty, and staff. In her many years at Town, Debby instilled her incredible love of math to many students. For students that had facility in math, she found new ways to challenge

them. For those who could not understand how to do a problem or an equation, she found a different way to teach, a new approach, which made that student “get it!” Debby was accessible to her advisees and students for math, as well as just to chat.

Debby was always on the move from Lower School to Upper School, from Mathletes to Sewing Club — always cheery, with a “how are you, Darling” to start your day. Her interests were many and she was always eager to talk about a recent art exhibit that she had seen or a great play on Broadway that we ‘had to see!’ Debby, you will be missed! —Claudie Tanenbaum

Read more tributes to Debby, and share your own, through our online Currents magazine

Town welcomes new Director of Community and Diversity We are excited to welcome Eva Vega-Olds as Town’s new Director of Community and Diversity. Eva is already known to the Town community as a dynamic speaker at parent education events in past years. She brings a wealth of experience to this position having worked in higher education, the corporate world, public schools, with the Anti-Defamation League, and as a consultant, speaker, and trainer on topics including diversity, anti-bias, and bullying. Eva has already been at work getting to know Town this summer and looks forward to working with our faculty and staff, students, and parents in the 2016–17 school year.



Activities + Events 1







All School Picnic


3 Book Fair 4 Stop Hunger Now 5 Dance Day 6

Scratch Coding Day

7 Annual Benefit Auction






Program Peeks N3

Musical Instruments Study

Nursery 3 uses project-based learning to engage students and reach academic goals. The majority of the students expressed great interest in music, so we decided together to take on a study of musical instruments. We began by having several experts visit our classroom to demonstrate different instruments. Students researched the instruments and came up with a list of questions to have answered. After all that information gathering, we decided that our culminating experience should be to make instruments based on what was learned, using recycled materials when possible. The students applied what they knew about the different instrument families when thinking about what materials they needed to make things like a drum or the pipes of a brass instrument. The challenge with the project-based method of teaching is that we have to guide students to our learning goals (emerging literacy, number sense, social-emotional development) without knowing exactly where their questions will take us and how the project will unfold. Literacy developed as we talked about unfamiliar word sounds and wrote the names of newly-learned instruments. We used math as we tallied votes on which questions to ask or to count the keys on a xylophone. Drawing the instruments developed students’ observation skills, and collaboration was a constant as we worked as a group to decide how to research and share what we had learned. Children took what they learned about one instrument and applied it to a new one from the same family — i.e. inferring how pipes, a bell, or strings impacted the sound — and quickly internalized and used new vocabulary, even taking their new terms like valves, tuners, kick drum and frets into dramatic play sessions. At the end of the school year we shared what we learned with the community through a museum walk to view our hand-made instruments and a performance with our very own class band, the Nursery 3 Rock Star Band. 6

information gathering questioning literacy development making sharing


Dance Collaboration

7 3-D Printing Prosthetic Hands Our philosophy around educational technology at Town is centered on a key question: does it truly enhance or extend learning? The prosthetic hands project came up as we were looking for innovative applications of 3-D printers in our math curriculum (last year math classes designed and printed custom water bottles). We learned of an organization called Enabling the Future that has created and shared open-source files so that anyone can print and assemble prosthetic hands that can be used by real people all over the world. This felt like a great fit with Town’s belief in the strength of combining academics with skills like empathy, collaboration and problem-solving. As a class we learned more about the organization, Mr. Becker printed the many small components of the hands on our 3-D printers, and we got to work. The students started with a pile of parts and worked in small teams to come up with a plan, making use of the tools available to them: pliers as a stabilizer or a drill to make small modifications to pieces that weren’t quite perfect. They were building a functioning hand from photos, so things like the tension in the elastic connecting the fin- This project was an important gers had to be tested and adjusted as they break from a largely virtual world, went. The students committed fully to as students transferred this project. The idea that someone might theoretical knowledge into the physical challenge of making really use the hand they were building and building a complex object. made their standard of achievement extremely high; they were unwilling to just move on from a roadblock or not-quite-perfect outcome, because that was not going to be good enough for the possible real-world, real-human application of this project. Many students had their biggest successes in math class with this project and in contrast, some students who were not used to struggling with math suddenly had to work much harder. For everyone, though, this was an important break from a largely virtual world, as they transferred theoretical knowledge into the physical challenge of making and building a complex object. We also loved how this project captured the imagination of other grades. Our 3-D printers are in tech spaces shared by the whole school, so our Lower School students monitored the progress of the printing and often asked the 7th graders about the progress of the hands. In case you’re asking “is this math?” — yes, but it’s also engineering, it’s ‘maker,’ and most importantly it’s another route to developing core abilities we work towards together in math such as analysis, collaboration, problem-solving from different directions and perseverance.

Town’s optional before-school dance club, Town Grooves, is made up of Lower and Upper School students interested in diving deeper into choreography and creating dances to share with their fellow students at assemblies. In the past they have collaborated to present dances telling stories such as Peter Pan or The Lorax, or to share dance traditions from around the world. This spring, Town Grooves: Common Thread partnered with a class at the American School of Madrid. Both Town students and American School students learned the bachata, a dance from the Dominican Republic, during the month of April. We then collaborated in creating a dance together. The students in Madrid choreographed two counts of eight for our Town students to learn, using the rhythm of the bachata, and then our Town students sent choreography to the Madrid students the following week. The exchange happened through video recordings due to the time difference. Town students included the choreography created by and for the students in Madrid in their culminating performance in the May All School Assembly, along with some special Town faculty and staff guest performers.



Sustainability at Town E V E RY T H I N G W E D O A N D E V E RY T H I N G W E D O N’ T D O M A K E S A D I F F E R E N C E

KEN HIGGINS has been Town’s sustainability coordinator for well over two decades. Early in his tenure at Town, Ken set out to innovate and expand the environmental initiatives at Town; he felt that the faculty and core administration should lead the process, with the goal of empowering students to eventually take the lead. He started what became a nearly 30-year process to transform Town from a place that recycled paper and had “an environmental club” to a school whose core institutional goals include educating children for a sustainable future. Today, Town is considered one of the lead voices and forces in the sustainable movement in independent schools. This past April, a group of Town students led a NYSAISsponsored conference at The Calhoun School entitled “Sustainability Through Student Voices.” On a cold, rainy Saturday, the rooms were filled with students, families and educators eager to learn from Town students and their peers about how they could better impact their homes and communities for future generations.

We partner with organizations to make an impact. • 7 years of MillionTrees planting events. • 6 years of NYC MulchFest — helping each January to take discarded Christmas trees from curbs to be turned into mulch rather than trash in a landfill. • 2 016 was our 4th year working with Stop Hunger Now to create meal packages for school feeding programs around the world.

We are mindful of our waste stream. • W e maintain a compost bin on our roof, filled with organic waste from 2nd grade snack and kitchen scraps. • O ur Upper School Community Action Club quite literally digs through our trash bins each week to ensure everything is properly sorted for recycling. • S tarting this fall, Town will participate in the NYC Department of Sanitation’s organic waste collection program — potentially keeping hundreds of pounds of waste out of the landfills.

• T he Upper School’s Community Action Club’s partnership with Food & Water Watch for a ‘take back the tap’ initiative culminated in a student-led assembly with education about water insecurity in the US.

We work together to get things done. • T own was the first school in Manhattan to have a wind turbine generating electricity. It could not have been done without serious efforts by Town’s CFO, Facilities Manager, and Trustees to help us navigate a very complex process of building permits, neighbor relations, and structural challenges. • O ur facilities team makes sustainable choices at every opportunity — whether ordering new light bulbs or choosing materials for renovating the Science Labs. • O ur entire community of parents, students, teachers, staff, and alumni/ae come together for big projects such as planting trees or packaging meals for hunger relief.


We talk with experts and change agents in climate change.

We learn — and teach — about creating a sustainable future. • O ur Life Skills curriculum teaches Upper School students about sustainability as an intersection of environment, equity and economics. Students learn about conservation, but also dig deeper to understand food, water and social systems and to investigate how they, even as young people, can have a real impact. Town students ask good questions: How do we connect to other people? What impact do we have on others and on our earth? • I n the lower grades, sustainability is woven through curriculum, such as the 1st graders’ focus on community and maintaining common spaces such as parks and the 3rd grade’s annual study of hunger in NYC and doing chores to raise funds in support of City Harvest. • K en Higgins and Rashidah Bowen, Upper School Psychologist and member of the Faculty Diversity Leadership Team, hosted an NAIS-sponsored virtual hangout in 2015, talking with other educators across the country about how Town is helping students unpack the concepts of diversity, social justice and sustainability.

• K erry Constabile, Lead Advisor on the the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Team, talked with Upper School students at an assembly last fall. • P eggy Shepard visited Town for an assembly with We Act Harlem in the fall of 2015. She is a grassroots organizer in NYC and advocate of environmental justice in urban communities to ensure that the entitlement of clean air, water and soil extends to all people and communities. • I n 2011 Ken Higgins, Ali Koss and Courtney Dougherty attended a summer program with the Cloud Institute, a leading resource for educating for sustainability.

• K en Higgins won a spot in the Fulbright Japan 2011 Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). He was one of 48 US teachers who traveled to Japan to visit schools and communities, sharing experiences and expertise, and ending with a joint conference in Kobe with their Japanese counterparts who had visited the US.

Sustainability is taught and practiced under the umbrella of our overarching ethical motto SOS — taking care of Self, Others and Surroundings.

We lead by example and share what we have learned. • T own is a founding member of the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), now over 8,500 schools strong worldwide, and Ken Higgins sits on the GSA Board of Directors. • Town is on the EPA’s list of the top 30 K–12 schools using green power. • K en Higgins helped plan and lead the first ever NYSAIS and GSA co-led sustainability educators conference in 2014 at Grace Church School. Town students were part of the keynote address. • T own students, teachers and alumni/ae were part of the multi-school group that planned the first ever student-led NYSAIS conference on sustainability in schools — Sustainability through Student Voices — on 4/9/16 at the Calhoun School featuring keynote addresses by international youth sustainability activists and workshops led by students.







Making a Difference... Diversity and Inclusion at Town



by Tony Featherston

ne of the many aspects of Town is the school’s strong

is more to do to ensure that our community is a place where all

commitment to diversity. Several years ago, under the

who join feel they belong. Being truly inclusive and equitable is

leadership of then Head of School Chris Marblo and the Board

where we need to grow.

of Trustees, Town reaffirmed diversity as a top priority in fulfill-

To that end, there is exciting news to share. After a national

ing its mission, and the results were clear.

search, Town has hired Eva Vega-Olds as Director of Community

Since 2005, Town has greatly increased the number of students

and Diversity. Her work in higher education, at the Anti-Defama-

and faculty of color by 77% and 64% respectively, established a

tion League, with media outlets such as MTV, and as a consultant

Board Diversity Committee to

to various organizations means

ensure high-level accountabil-

Town is again poised to take

ity, added a Director of Com-

great steps forward. Eva will

munity and Diversity to the

work closely with the Board

senior leadership team, mapped

Diversity Committee, the

diversity curriculum from

Administrative Team, and the

Nursery through 8th grade, in-

Faculty Diversity Leadership

creased socio-economic diversity

Team to help develop and deliver

through a greater commitment

“best practice” in the areas of

to financial aid, and established

diversity, equity, and inclusion

several specific initiatives to

at Town.

support students, parents, and

faculty of color. And as is the

too often along identity lines —

case with our country at large,

race, ethnicity, religion, gender,

Town recognizes the change and

sexual orientation, socioeco-

In a world where conflict is

growth achieved while also wondering, “What’s next?”

nomics, ability, and age — what if Town students were leaders

Over the course of the last year, we have been working to

who understand the complexities of difference and value the ben-

answer this very question. Continuing to be guided by mission,

efits of including all voices for the good of the whole? This is work

Town’s original statement on diversity continues to hold true

that is never truly done and the conversations can be challenging.

and provide guidance: a diverse community is imperative for

But in our increasingly diverse and interconnected world, we

promoting a culture of respect, social awareness, moral responsi-

are doing a disservice to our students and their development of

bility, and academic excellence. What we know now is that there

necessary skills in the 21st century if we don’t try.

The Faculty Diversity Leadership Team Rashidah Bowen, Shawn Chisty, and Azalia Garcia. Town students manning the ”ticket booth” to generate excitement and awareness for the 2016 Film Festival. Parents, students, teachers and staff ready to start our Film Festival — the biggest turnout ever!



Year Club The Town School

For faculty and staff who stay for 20 years or more, Town has become home — a community where they serve and thrive and keep coming back year after year. Here are their stories.


Your first encounter with Town is always memorable. Bill M: On my last day of interviews, I was dropped off in the faculty room and then the next person who was supposed to pick me up never came along. I ended up sitting in the faculty room for over an hour, having a long conversation about politics with Tom Golden and Lee Nissen. And to this day I remember thinking...that was a lot of fun. The red door — Walter M: I remember walking in that door… We used to call it the bunker. It was metal. And it was huge. You walked in, and there was Phyllis [Fletcher] on the right side in the little window, like a box office. Jan M:...and she knew everything about all of us — way more than all of us collectively knew about anybody. Ken H: Yes! And when a parent wanted to get in touch with a child or deliver a message to a teacher, you called Phyllis. And she wrote it down, and at some point during the day, someone would get that message to you. And that was school communication. Call the school, Phyllis writes a note. Somebody passes it some point. And we still had school, and a lot of successful graduates. Peaches G: Jackie Williams (then head of the Division) took me on a tour and I was impressed with what she presented as the primary teaching and learning philosophy; it was nurturing and allowed for what seemed like a perfect balance of learning — through the freedom to explore and learning through structured activities. It felt very much that the philosophical focus of the nursery program was based on the understanding that being a student does not eclipse or replace being a child. JM: I interviewed here and at one of the campus schools and when I came here for my interview, Mary Newman was in her bare feet — as were most people, as it was the first week after school got out. And I felt very overdressed because I had shoes on. Walking around, what I liked was the artwork — it made me feel immediately very at home. It was really just the openness — and the bare feet — that got me and helped me know this was the place.

Town’s unwritten hiring motto: ‘find the right people and they will make great things happen.’ Claudie T: I was hired by Walter Birge in 1974. I went in for a French position and after I accepted it, I was about halfway to the door when Mr. Birge said “by the way you’ll be teaching Latin as well.” And I said “oh that’s great!”...and then I ran home to brush up on my Latin. Cynthia D: Well, I had come over from the UK, where I had been teaching at a boarding school in Oxford. And when I came to NYC I started my own ceramics studio, but eventually decided it was time go back into the workplace so was sending resumés around. Joyce Evans had just started and she called me in and she said “well there are no jobs for art teachers right now but would you like to be my executive assistant?” And I said “what’s that?” She explained that it was essentially to be her right-hand woman and we learned Town together. About three years later an opportunity came up to teach in the art studio and I built it up from there. Enza D: When I interviewed, Joyce Evans made me feel very comfortable; we had a great conversation. Then she casually mentioned ’oh you’ll also meet some of our staff’ and brought me into the conference room and everybody was sitting around the table ready to interview me. Thank goodness Natasha [Sahadi] was there. She was her warm and welcoming — and a little bit outrageous — self, and that helped me relax. KH: Bill [McCartney] and I were homeroom buddies his first couple years...and then we were separated. One day when he was at lunch, the 8th graders and I decorated his room with a wall of bearded poets in order of length of beard, including a ridiculous quote supposedly attributed to each poet — that project became a great tradition for a few years. CT: That’s The Town School: you can be who you are, and do what you do best. Currents


Town is a family. Town becomes your home, even if you didn’t plan it that way. Laurie B: I was not looking for a job. At that time I was still acting and directing and choreographing professionally. They called me because they wanted a professional choreographer for the 8th grade play. And then at the end of the year it was, ‘you know what would really be good is if these kids had musical theater dance classes to prepare them for their plays.’ And then, ‘gee, you know the 4th grade play could just a little extra choreography, would you be willing to do that?’ And finally I realized, I’m a teacher! KH: I was tending bar at nights and writing soundtracks during the day. I was teaching piano lessons at Town a day or two a week when Mary Newman suggested I take on the three-day-a-week music position. The school prided itself on having teaching artists, so the whole idea that I was writing musical scores was great. I had never had a paycheck besides working at SummerSault in the summer — and I really liked it. But quite honestly I really loved the interaction with the kids, and I really liked the tenor of the school. MB: I started as a parent. I ran the auction one year and then I was PA President. Mary Newman and Betsy Gitter decided that they should hire me! I loved the school and my kids loved the school, and my husband was on the Board for 10 years. So the whole family was steeped in Town.

The “five-year plan.” CM: My plan was to stay five years and move on to a high school. But it’s nice to build your foundation and grow from there. To build a more creative, useful, valuable and professionally rewarding program. PG: When I thought about working at Town, my plan was to stay for two or three years and then move out to California; a true testimony of the “best laid plans.” Rosa F: I thought I was going to be at Town for four years and then I would move on and go somewhere else. And I don’t even know how many years I’ve been here. I came the last year of Mary Newman, when Tim Burns was the interim head.

















7th and 8th Grade Latin Teacher After School Program Director


LB: It’s so special when alums come back because they walk in, they’ve got this look on their face: where’s Mr. McCartney, where’s Mr. Higgins? They are so excited for us to see who they are becoming, and I think they want us to know that we had a stake in that. They aren’t bragging or showing off, they want to share it with us and it just warms my heart.

William M: You don’t come here just to hold a job; it’s more of a calling.

club members

at Town since >

BM: I remember an alum who lost a close family member while she was in high school and her Town classmates all came to support her. They all came back to the city and it was not even a question; they came to Town to be together. I remember her saying ‘well it didn’t even cross my mind...where else would we go?’

1st–2nd Grade Literacy Specialist

Upper School Math Resource and Researcher

Maintenance Team Member

Director of Clubhouse

Nursery 3–4th Grade Psychologist

US Music Teacher Dean of Upper School Students and Sustainability Coordinator

Maintenance Team Member

What makes Town such a special place? What do you love returning to year after year? KH: Irrespective of who the Head of School has been, I think the faculty has always been able to give its heart to the work of teaching here. And as often as not, you have an administration who has a sense of humor and appreciates the kookiness that comes with a group of very passionate educators. PG: I like that Town is an environment that is always regenerating. Although change can be difficult, there is no progress without it; I think that Town is always trying to do better for its families, its faculty and its staff. ED: I think the artwork sets Town apart. When applying parents are waiting outside for a tour or interview, they’re all looking at the art. And they say ‘this is so amazing. Did kids make this?’ I always smile a bit at their surprise, and explain that yes, this is really our students’ art. CM: Well you might guess I love the Book Fair. I love seeing the kids get excited about books; they can’t wait to start reading something new. ED: For me it’s also the holiday assembly and the 8th grade plays. They are just so joyful; it’s beautiful. CD: I think the Opening Day Ceremony is pretty unique, with the Team in Blue and our hodgepodge marching ‘band’ and just the gathering of the community. You look at all the parents and children, and there’s this excitement about coming back to school, and coming back together. PG: I love watching the Upper School children get ready for Science Night; most of the hallways are brimming with excitement and hopeful, creative energy. It is a joyful sight to be a witness to the process of young minds inventing.


MELISSA BAUMAN Director of Development






Kindergarten– 4th Grade Art Teacher

7th Grade History 8th Grade English Teacher and Director of Placement

MB: Honestly my favorite moments are when I get to interact with the kids, whatever way that might be. RF: Definitely being with the kids, hearing their comments and questions about food. But a truly great moment is when you’re interviewed by a 1st grader as part of their community project, and you get that hand-painted portrait. That’s a special day. LB: My favorite moments are actually when I’m not teaching and just walking through the hallways. I see the kids in every little nook you can find — reading together, helping each other, or they’re filming a short movie for class on their iPads. They’re so absorbed they don’t even realize you’re walking by and they’re very serious and earnest and you see the joy in learning. Their faces show you that what they’re doing in that moment is the best thing in the world. And that’s exactly what they should be feeling. BM: The thing that most stands out to me is the passion of the kids in the classroom. Something inevitably happens at some point every year, that wholly unexpected moment when a kid (who you would least expect it to come from) will make a comment like ‘ugh, I don’t want the class to end now!’ They’re completely engaged and completely invested; something has just reached out and grabbed them and they want to keep talking about it. It’s such a seemingly little thing, but it just resonates right to your core that something worked. This is a 14-year-old kid who is saying ‘I would rather sit here and talk about moral decay in society rather than go to gym or to go to lunch or go to snack.’ That’s the moment. There’s nothing like it.



Front Desk Receptionist and Transportation Coordinator



Project and Facilities Manager


3rd–8th Grade Dance Teacher


Maintenance Team Member



Over the years, a strong culture of philanthropy has taken root at Town and is a testament to the community’s support of our extraordinary N–8 education.


a history of giving


Class of 1991:

Plexiglass Backboards in the Gym

Class of 1992:

Copier for student use in the Library

Class of 1993:

CD-ROM Encyclopedia for the Library

Class of 1994:

Audio-Visual Equipment for the faculty

Class of 1995:

Electronic Scoreboard in the Gym

Class of 1996:

Upright Piano in the Auditorium

Class of 1997:

Lectern with Sound System

Class of 1998:

Oak Paneled Wall in Front Lobby with etched Town Seal

Class of 1999:

Archival Wall of Eighth grade Musicals

Class of 2000:

Equipment for the 4th floor Playroof

Class of 2001:

Sound System for Gym

Class of 2002:

Two LCD projectors for Science Labs

Class of 2003:

8th grade Locker/Lounge Area

Class of 2004:

Refurbished Writing Lab

Class of 2005:

Town Banner in front of the school

Class of 2006:

New Lockers in renovated Gym Locker Rooms

Class of 2007:

Audio-Visual System in the Cafeteria

Class of 2008:

Solar Panels on the Roof

Class of 2009:

Wind Turbine on the 4th floor Playroof

Class of 2010:

Mac Laptop Computers for Faculty and Students

Class of 2011:

A Game Play Space on the 4th floor Playroof

Class of 2012:

A set of 20 iPads for the Chris Marblo Innovation Lab and an Upright Piano

Class of 2013:

A Fund to help underwrite Town’s hardcover Centennial Commemorative Book

Class of 2014:

Digitizing all Yearbooks

Class of 2015:

Wheelchair Lift for Back Elevator

Class of 2016:

New Kiln and Pugmill for the Art Studios

Thank you to our generous 8th grade classes, for taking part in the culture of giving that’s taken root here. Your gifts will help keep Town extraordinary for the next 20 years.

Thank You for being part of the culture of giving. Currents


20 Years of Covers


Currents magazine has certainly evolved over the years and continues to be a way to continue a dialogue with alumni/ae and friends. The publication has received multiple ADDY Awards by the American Advertising Federation.

Currents T H E M AG A ZI N E O F T H E TOW N S C H O O L

Fall 2013

Currents T h e M ag a z i n e o f T h e Tow n S c h o o l

Summer 2014

Currents T h e M ag a z i n e o f T h e Tow n S c h o o l

Summer 2015

P r o f e s s i o n a l D e v e lo P m e n t

A Path of Lifelong Learning J oy i n Sci e n ce DiScovery + e x p l o r at i o n


Design for Town’s Second Century



We have a BRAND NEW website!

Currents The Town School Magazine


remember Them? They appeared on the very first cover of Currents. Catch up with them inside!

anniversary issue

Currents Turns


Currents digital edition!

• exclusive content • expanded articles • more photos • video and more!


Get to Know Philip Bien ’95

Director of Annual Giving and Alumni/ae Affairs

Philip Bien ’95 returned to Town in October, 2015 as Director of Annual Giving and Alumni/ae Affairs. With 10 years of experience as an independent school administrator and a deep appreciation for The Town School community, he is thrilled to have joined Town’s Advancement and Communications team.

Family: Philip lives with his husband, Laurent Lehmann, in the West Village. They often travel to France to spend time with his in-laws and his brand new nephew. Favorite app: Cornify What does your Alumni/ae Affairs Director do? Philip’s goal is to help connect our alumni/ae to each other and to the current Town community. His primary focus is to increase opportunities for alumni/ae to engage — by sharing stories and memories, volunteering, donating in support of our scholarship program, or even as future Town parents. Most importantly, he would love to hear from his fellow Town alums! Reach out for a call or a visit any time. Personal Philosophy: I’ll try anything twice.

Get in Touch


Professional experience: Philip comes from The IDEAL School & Academy where he was the dean of students. He is a licensed clinical social worker. Volunteer work: Philip is a volunteer with the NYC Medical Reserve Corps which is ready to respond to NYC health emergencies. In 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, Philip provided mental health services in an emergency shelter to those whose homes were destroyed. Philip’s favorite Town memory: “Town was a favorite part of my childhood and to this day I remain close with many of my classmates. A high point of my time at Town was playing the role of Nathan Detroit in my Eighth grade musical “Guys and Dolls.” I still appreciate how my teachers indulged me in my attempts to be creative and funny.”

facebook alumni group

Snapchat Town Alumni





Keep In Touch!

Share stories and update your contact info at:

Kate Greer ’80

Kate is the chief evangelist for a new wearables company called OURA, which makes the OURA ring which tracks your sleep and activity and helps you stay balanced and optimize your mental and physical performance.

Sophie B. Hawkins ’78

Hi Townies, I think of my school days with joy, my teachers and school mates are omnipresent in my creative mind. The tugboats still pull my daydreams outside those classroom windows. I’d like to stay more in touch, and please contact my FB page and website for shows and new projects.

Nicholas Smith ’08

Nick graduated from Yale University.

Schaffer ’91 *JuliaJulia remembers her Town School days, friends, and teachers with great affection. These days, she’s a psychotherapist with a private practice in Brooklyn where she also lives with her husband and two kids.

Dani Weishoff ’05

After graduating from Northeastern University in Boston in 2014, Dani moved to Blowing Rock, NC, San Jose, CA, and will be heading to Denver, CO in a few months. Dani has been working with City Year, an education-focused nonprofit, in San Jose, California. She works as a tutor, mentor, and after-school teacher at an elementary school, and will be continuing this service work next school year in Denver.

Isabel Feldman ’08

Isabel graduated from Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences in May. She was honored as a Merrill Presidential Scholar, an award given to the top one percent of the graduating class. The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program celebrates the importance of teachers and mentors in the lives of students. As a recipient, Isabel enthusiastically recognized Mr. Bill McCartney, her 7th grade English and 8th grade History teacher. She says, “Mr. McCartney inspired in me a genuine love of learning, a sentiment that has guided me ever since I left Town.” She is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Isabel will be working as a legal analyst on the Asset Management team within the Legal Department at Goldman Sachs.

Sandy Brandt Waters ’48

Sandy volunteers in the Fourth grade of the local Title I school. She supports students in math, specializing in making each child a “champion” in multiplication and division facts. She says, “Often I remember my rewarding years at The Town School in both Third and Fourth grades where my curiosity about nature was aroused and my horizons broadened beyond the limits of my neighborhood by reading about Marco Polo and his voyage to Cathay (China). I am so appreciative of my teachers, Mrs. Young and Mrs. Maver. They knew how to stimulate a child’s mind.” Her sister, Pamela Denniston ’51, née Brandt, passed away about two and a half years ago. She was in the class with Johnny Lahr ’51 and Christopher Cerf ’51. She also knew Merry Leeds and her brother Jeff Leeds. Sandy travels a lot, and recently visited Turkey, Central Europe, and the Galápagos. She also visits the child she sponsored, in Guatemala, who is now studying to become a teacher. She is taking her daughter to Portugal to celebrate her 50th birthday.


Claudia Gold (Meininger) ’75

Claudia has a new book published (May 2016) The Silenced Child: From Labels, Medications, and Quick-Fix Solutions to Listening, Growth, and Lifelong Resilience. She joined the faculty of William James College and the University of Massachusetts Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Program.

Joanne Ruckel ’74 *After college, Joanne went to Wharton

John ’51 and Jane Lahr ’53

Town was fortunate to recently reconnect with two very special alumni/ae — Jane and John Lahr, the children of actor Bert Lahr, who attended The Town School in the late ’40s and early ’50s. At that time, Town was located in two brownstones — 112 and 114 East 76th Street and ended in the Fourth grade. Jane is an editor, author and head of Lahr and Partners, a literary agency. In her most recent project as editor of Searching for Mary Magdalene: A Journey Through Art and Literature, she takes the reader on a visual and literary journey through the history and the lore, the facts and the myth, that surround Mary Magdalene. She begins each chapter with an insightful and lucid introduction that provides the reader with guidance and context for the stories, texts, and images that follow. Her brother John, two years her elder, is a British-based theater critic, whose recently released book Joy Ride features many of his best New Yorker profiles and reviews. John has also written Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, which is considered the definitive work on Williams to date. After receiving a spontaneous email from Jane over the summer, we invited Jane and John to come back to Town and they took us up on our offer to give them a tour, lunch and a chance to meet some students. As we toured the school Jane and John shared memories of Town. It was clear that Town and its teachers became a “home away from home” for them. And somehow they still felt a connection to The Town School of today, although in a different location and time. The Fourth graders were prepared for their visit and were curious to meet these prominent alumni/ae and hear about their time at Town. The students listened politely and then eagerly asked questions about life during the Lahrs’ years at Town, from uniforms to field trips to math homework.

Stephanie Bauman ’97

After six years at Nonesuch Records, Stephanie started as a National Publicist with Pitch Perfect PR at the start of the year. She and her husband, Bjorn, have a daughter named Adeline who turned one in May. Stephanie lives and works in Brooklyn.

Business School. She is now a licensed clinical social worker at Westchester Jewish Community Services Mental Health Clinic in Mount Vernon, New York. Joanne and her husband, Will Potter, have a son Daniel, 23, who graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. Their son Jonathan, 20, just completed his sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania. Joanne is still friends with Deborah Huddleston ’76. Joanne and Deborah reconnected while attending Wharton.

Susan Kaufman ’76 *Susan is living in LA with her husband and two daughters. She recently said, “I truly loved my eight years at Town School.”

Vanessa Sterling Martin ’88 *Vanessa lives in London with her husband, Patrick, and two children Arabella 4, and Alexander 10 months. Vanessa runs a financial research firm and still enjoys living in Europe (even after 16 years!).





Jephtha Tausig-Edwards ’77 *Jephtha has been a licensed clinical

Elizabeth Rosenthal Munch ’69

Liz and Gary Munch are now officially empty-nesters, having moved Amanda Munch ’06 into an apartment in Brooklyn. She is working in Brooklyn at The Brooklyn Brew Shop. Jamie Munch ’04 is now the General Manager of ComCenter in Lakewood Ranch, FL, where he lives with his fiancé and his two children, Christopher - 2 yrs. and Lillian - 2 months old. Jessica Munch ’98 is living in Seattle and working at PBS.

psychologist for over 20 years. She is in private practice in Manhattan, a supervising psychologist on Nantucket, and a clinical instructor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Her daughter, Arianna just finished college and is an EMT. Her son Nicholas is a student at Cornell. She enjoys sailing and travel, and recently visited Croatia.

Wendy Lawless ’74

Leslie Stone ’80

Leslie travels to China three to four times a year for her work at the Yale-China Association, working on the education programs in partnership with our Chinese counterparts in Changsha, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Xiuning, Anhui Province. Leslie and her family live in Connecticut.


Wendy is the author of The New York Times bestselling memoir Chanel Bonfire. She has published essays in Redbook, Powells. com and the Los Angeles press. A stage and television actress, she appeared on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize winning play The Heidi Chronicles and Off Broadway in the Obie Award winning play All In The Timing. She lives in California with her screenwriter husband and their two children, who are almost grown-ups! Wendy has recently written a new book, Heart of Glass.

Cynthia Carris Alonso ’77

Cynthia’s book, Passage to Cuba, was published last year, and is a collection of photographs since 1992, reflecting the unique and mysterious Cuban culture, news, people, art and spirit of survival. She recently covered President Obama’s historic visit, and she is giving photo presentations and lectures about Cuba, as well as consulting on travel to this fascinating country. She is based in New York, where she lives with her husband and 15 year old daughter.

Blake Richards ’03

Blake has finished the first year of his MBA at Columbia University.

Sachi Feris ’91

Sachi started Raising Race Conscious Children, a resource for parents and educators talking about race with young children. Sachi’s second child, Leonel, was born in September.

Daniel Sedlis ’68

Vartan ’80 *KirkKirk is working in Silicon Valley with the local

Last January Daniel retired from the NYC Administration for Children’s Services where he was Chief Information Officer and now provides IT consulting services. He credits his Town math teacher, Toni Stone, for starting him out on this path.

residents, businesses, and government to create solutions that focus on land use (e.g., affordability, transit oriented, walkable, pedestrian, human scale, and “place making”). In addition, in the same spirit of collaboration and empowerment, Kirk is in the process of converting one of his two pizza shops to a worker co-op. “The goal is to create a plan for implementation of allowing our employees to purchase, manage, and take our brand into the future.” He wants to give people in California the opportunity to be business owners.

Nicole Roberts ’85

Nicole is a Rabbi in Sydney, Australia and she has visited Uluru, Far North Queensland, Byron Bay, Adelaide, and New Zealand.

Bill Charlap ’80

Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap accepted the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

Marcel Salas ’05

Marcel is pursuing a PhD in Cultural Anthropology at New York University. There she is studying the American marketing industry and the concept of the “mainstream.” This year, she was awarded the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship.

Oliver James Sterling ’84 *Oliver lives in Manhattan with his wife, Carolyn, and his two children. He is a partner at Renwick Capital, where he assists established and early-stage companies in the U.S. and Europe in preparing for and attracting growth financing. In his spare time he still flies planes, sails, climbs the occasional mountain, and marvels at the fact that his Town School days were over 30 years ago.

Vicky Kimble ’76

Vicky works in the hospital and healthcare industry. Recently she started a new job in a natural healthcare facility. She received certification from Wichita Technical Institute as a medical insurance coding specialist.

Johanna Ward ’87 *Johanna lives in London UK. She is a director of market and brand insights for American Express. She enjoys seeing friends and family across the globe.





* Marc Borbely ’87 Abrams Levine ’90 *TaraTara married Judd Levine in 2007 in Arizona. They have two little girls. Simone, 6 and Jocelyn, 3. After 9 months as the CMO for Deutsch ad agency in New York she became the Chief Experience Officer for a new Omnicom agency called Hearts & Science.

Marc is a landlord-tenant attorney at the D.C. Tenants’ Rights Center, a small “low-bono” law firm in the District of Columbia. He is married and has two daughters, one small and the other very small.

Jessica Munch ’98

Jessica is living in Seattle and working at PBS.

Elizabeth Fein (Nickrenz) ’91

Elizabeth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Duquesne University. She was recently in Rio de Janiero co-organizing and presenting at an international workshop on autism and culture.

Brad Little ’95

Brad has been painting and woodworking in Darien, Connecticut.

Rocket ’89 *WillWill is working in Manhattan and living in Queens, and sometimes wishes he was still enjoying his studies at Rollins College as he was 20 years ago, as the first issue of Currents noted!

Kitty Harvey ’95 Sperry Younger ’88 *Sperry is Senior Managing Director of NMC Capital Advisors, LLC. He has been working on Wall Street since 1996. He is also the proud grandfather of a baby boy named Dante.


Kitty is living in London where she is a third-year PhD student of Middle East Studies at King’s College London, and is currently in the midst of writing her dissertation. Her research focuses on relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. She has not been to either Saudi Arabia or Iraq for her research, but she did spend three months last year in Lebanon. She has been studying Arabic since 2000 and spending time in Beirut last year gave her the opportunity to study the Lebanese Arabic dialect. For the first year and a half of her program she was also working part time at a London-based consulting firm that focuses on political risk, and that is what she is looking to do after she completes her PhD.

Kristin Ogdon ’92

Kristin had been working for Microsoft, and her division of the company moved over to work for AOL as part of a larger corporate partnership. She even has Molly Philip ’03, another Town alumna, on her team. Kristin traveled to Spain for the very first time, as part of a business trip, and really enjoyed Barcelona.

Nia Tyler ’97

Nia took a solo road trip from NYC to Nashville, TN via Asheville, NC. She was excited to travel across the country through small towns, and especially the Appalachian Mountains.

Brian Stein ’91 *In 2011, after 7 years together, Larry Person and I were thrilled to marry in New York City, soon after marriage equality became law in our great state. We delight in being uncles to Henry Stein, the adorably cute and funny little boy born in 2013 to my brother, Craig Stein ’94 and his wife Katie. Within the past year Larry and I both began new jobs, each of us at technology startups. We have been fortunate to travel to New Orleans, Florida, and London this year, and we are looking forward to our annual escapes to Provincetown, Cape Cod this summer.

Lily Ockert ’01

Deborah McCandless ’94

Lily is an associate attorney at Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, P.C. in the litigation department with a focus on labor and employment law.

Deborah is an Associate Director of Admissions for IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. She received an MBA from the same school in 2010. She is based in their New York campus and is responsible for North American candidates.

Austin Phillips Kupke ’99

Austin is a Policy Analyst for Texas Legislature. She is expecting her first child, a daughter, in August.

Derek Pollak ’99 Luke Bauman ’95

Luke lives in Brooklyn and works at The Gersh Agency. He is also involved in hospital chaplancy. He is enjoying being an uncle.

Derek is now at Columbia Business School and is Math Department Chair and AP Calculus Teacher and teaches graduate students.

Nick Felzen ’92

Nick is an attorney in Miami, Florida. His daughter Mia was born two years ago and has brought him much joy and happiness!





Troy Clair ’95

Troy is the State Director of North Carolina for Hillary for America.

Carlton DeWoody ’95

Carlton is living in Los Angeles and opening a West Coast office for Reunion Goods & Services, a studio he co-founded focused on interior design and brand identity. He lives with his wife, Sarah, and two kids Jackson 2 and Ginger 2 months.

Steven Traykovski ’91

Steven moved to San Francisco last year and is now working at Facebook.

Alex Whelehan ’90

Alex is still living on Long Island with her husband, Brian, and their three children Jack 8, Tucker 6, and Peyton Ann 3. In August she left her position at Buckley Country Day School, where she was the Director of Development for seven years and returned to the world of admissions as the Director of Admissions and Marketing at East Woods School in Oyster Bay. She also ran the New York City Marathon for the first time in November.

Caline Pinto Bassroon ’95

Caline is living in Manhattan with her husband Eric and their children Crosby 3 and Chase 8 months.

Lauren Freedman Hanin ’95

Lauren is a business director at the digital creative agency Barbarian Group. She is the mother to two girls Scarlett 4 and Audrey 18 months.


Natalie Matesic ’95

Natalie lives in Riverdale with her husband, Chris, and two kids, Viviana and Marko. Natalie has a spa consulting business and distribution company and works with luxury hotels across North America.

Miranda Dobbs ’01

Miranda is a Software Developer at 121nexus and recently travelled to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan.

Daniel Sharon ’95

Dan married Marissa Frydman in Sydney, Australia in 2015. They are living in New York City. Dan works for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and is facilitating Town’s Alumni/ae LinkedIn group for Finance.

Evan Levey ’96

Evan is the proud father of Blake Ella Levey who was born in February 2015. Evan runs the MAGIC Activity Center.

Wendy Levey ’64 Kate Rudman ’95

Kate married Matthew Spencer in 2014 and they live in TriBeCa. She is starting a custom illustration and party design company, Kate recently traveled to Asia to visit family friends.

Adam Miller ’97

Adam is a Partner at Suvretta Capital Management, a $2 billion hedge fund located in New York. He remains best friends with Drew Tarlow ’97. Adam is engaged to be married to Michelle Tolkin.

Brooke Adler Hochman ’01 Brooke married Scott Hochman and is a speech and language pathologist.

Alex Teitel ’97

Alex Teitel is the Community School Director at PS/IS 284, a K–8 public school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. In this role, she focuses on improving the learning environment for students by instituting academic enrichment opportunities, providing health services, establishing community partnerships and engaging families in meaningful ways. Alex recently met with Tony Featherston to brainstorm ideas for her school and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Wendy is the proud grandmother of Blake Ella Levey (Evan ’96). After graduating from The Town School, The Hewitt School, then Wheelock College, she founded The Epiphany Community Nursery School (ECNS) in 1975 with former Headmaster of The Town School, Walter Birge, as one of her early mentors. She went on to Bank St. and Teachers College for more education. Her daughter Mariel teaches three-year-olds at ECNS.

Tom Lawrence ’80

Tom is a computer programmer in Silicon Valley where he lives with his girlfriend.

Heather Greer ’83

Andrew Dikman ’96

Dr. Jacqueline Yuey Lonier and Dr. Andrew Evan Dikman were married January 2016.

Heather has just returned from Thessaloniki, Greece, where she had a work-in-progress screening for How to Steal a Chair, a feature documentary she is producing with director Konstantinos Kambouroglou. The film is about Stergios Delialis, the founder of the first design museum in Greece. In the last few years, Heather has also become a partner in Town’s strategic communications initiatives, including the 100th Anniversary celebration and rebranding.

Jami Moore ’07

Jami earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education at Teachers College. This summer she took a road trip with her brother from California to New York.





Gregory Quinn ’99 Jessica Meter ’98

Jessica is a chef and in the past year left the restaurant scene to start her own catering business, Shultz & Ficher ( She is doing private parties, corporate events, and eventually opening a storefront in NYC. She and her husband are embarking on a six-week cross country road trip, driving across the country through the south, up the west coast and back home through the north part of the US. They will be camping the whole way in National and State Parks, seeing sites and landmarks, and documenting their food adventures in social media and on their websites.

Kiara Toscano ’08

Kiara graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a BA in Environmental Studies and will start graduate work at The New York Film Academy for Documentary.


Gregory is frequently traveling through the Caribbean and Latin America for business. He wed Mary Panagoulas on June 18th in Greece.

Christopher Hall ’93

Christopher and Hsinwei Chiang were recently married and they are expecting a daughter.

Evan Richards ’01

Daniel Asen ’96

Daniel is an Assistant Professor, Department of History at Rutgers University. He recently published a book, Death in Beijing: Murder and Forensic Science in Republican China. Daniel’s research interests include the intersection of law, science, and medicine in late imperial and Republican China, the cultural and social politics of expertise, and the history of death and the body.

Evan and Jacquelyn Dougherty married on October 17, 2015 at The Fox Hollow on Long Island. Seven friends from The Town School, Brandon Dawson ’01, Will Edwards ’01, Trevor Draper, Andrew Maas ’01, Brian Curci ’01, Garret Starr ’01, and Sam Marks ’01 were in attendance. Evan and Jacquelyn took an amazing honeymoon to the Tahiti islands of Moorea and Bora Bora. The photo has his brother and best man Blake Richards ’03 by his side.

Matthew Markezin-Press ’02

Felzen ’88 *TonyTony graduated from Brown University in

Matt recently traveled to Vail, Colorado with Townie Lily Ockert ’01. He graduated from Northwestern, lives in Chelsea and works in finance.

1996 with a BA in Urban Studies and from Columbia Business School in 2003. He often travels to Israel and is involved with several Israeli organizations. He has very fond memories of Town (“I still think it was my best education!”). He is still close with Jeff Green ’88 and Alex Glass ’88.

James Munch ’04

Jamie and family have grown by one. Lillian Annabelle Munch was born on February 24, 2016. Jamie is now the General Manager of ComCenter in Lakewood Ranch, FL, where he lives with his fiancé and his two children, Christopher 2 and Lillian.

Ellie Bressman ’02

Inspired by her incredible Town teachers and education, Ellie entered the field of education upon graduation from college. She earned a Masters in Elementary Curriculum and Teaching from Columbia Teachers College and currently teaches 4th grade at a Charter School in East Harlem.

Cecilia Cholst ’03

After receiving her degree in fashion design from FIT in May 2014, Cecilia now has a full time assistant designer position at a wonderful company in the heart of the Garment District.

Eric Miller ’00

Eric recently graduated from UC-Berkeley Haas where he received his MBA. He now lives in SF and works at Facebook.

Daniel Perlman ’04

Shymlee Patel ’02

Congratulations to Shyamlee Patel ‘02 who won Jeopardy! In July 2016.

Rachel Cholst ’03

Rachel has been teaching high school history for four years. This year she joined the staff at Humanities Preparatory Academy, a Regentsexempt district school in Chelsea where students produce and defend seven-page term papers in each core subject in order to graduate. Her seniors argued whether or not Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks are protected by the First Amendment. It was a challenging and rewarding experience for them all.

Dan is a stand-up comedian and writer. He does stand-up every night in rooms like Stand Up NY, Caroline’s on Broadway, and The Stand, as well as the best alternative rooms in the city, like Knitting Factory, Bar Matchless, and UCB East. Dan created and co-hosts a popular monthly show, HINDSIGHT, at Caroline’s on Broadway. The show is an interactive stand-up storytelling show that has received positive write-ups in the Village Voice and New York Magazine and recently had a soldout show as an official part of the New York Comedy Festival. Dan co-created and wrote an animated series, That’s My Bus!, that won 1st place at the 2015 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival’s Set To Screen Contest, which led to a pilot order from FOX. Dan will be writing and co-executive producing this series. As a stand-up, Dan was invited to perform in some of the top comedy festivals, including the New York Comedy Festival (2014, 2015), Montreal Just For Laughs (2015), Boston Comedy Festival (2015), SF Sketchfest (2016), New Orleans Hell Yes Fest! (2015), Dallas Comedy Festival (2014), Memphis Comedy Festival (2014), and Finger Lakes Comedy Festival (2015, 1st place winner).





Lindsay Lindenbaum ’01

Linsday directed two short fims, Scattered and Necking. Scattered won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing and was a finalist for the Student Academy Awards. Necking won the award for Best Documentary Short at the Napa Valley Film Festival. These short films have screened at various festivals around the world. She is currently working on her first feature length documentary about the world of Female Drummers.

Tito Crichton-Stuart ’15

Tito spent some of his summer doing service learning in Cambodia

Lawrence Sloan ’78 *livesLizin San Diego with her two daughters, Madeline 20 and Marina 17. She is the principal of Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School. She is also a mentor principal who trains new principals for San Diego Unified School District and San Diego State University. Recently her 7th grade math teacher from The Town School, Mr. Newburger, visited her school and did fun math activities with the students. The whole Lawrence family has ended up in California. Liz’s mother, Ginny Lawrence (former Town teacher), started a new career when she retired from teaching. She is now a webmaster and book designer in Del Mar, California.

Elizabeth Wiener Georgantas ’88 *Elizabeth is an interior designer in Boston, Massachusetts and does residential development with her husband, Peter. Their company is PEG Properties and Design. They have two girls, Zoe 9 and Isabelle 8.


R. Glickman (Rockett) ’85 *JolieJolie lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Douglas. They welcomed their son, Dashiell, to the world in January 2015. He’s been keeping them on the go ever since! A big hello to all current and former faculty and staff, and of course to the Class of ’85.



Have you recently gotten together with any of your Town classmates? We’d love to hear about it!


Toluwani Roberts ’13

Toluwani is studying in Washington, DC for the second semester of her junior year at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership. There she has met with Carl Wilkens, the only American to stay in Rwanda during the genocide, and get speech writing tips from Lissa Muscatine, Hillary Clinton’s former top speechwriter of 20 years, and met with Mr. Hohn Carlin at the Department of Justice. Last semester her team finished working on our Collaborative Policy Document on Limiting the Effect ISIS has on the Internet in recruiting Americans and inspiring lone wolf attacks.

Amanda Munch ’06

Amanda recently moved to Brooklyn. She is working at The Brooklyn Brew Shop.

In Memoriam Julie Rosefsky (Fergang) ’84 The Class of 1983 held a reunion in late January 2016 at Casa Mezcal on the Lower East Side. Fourteen out of our classmates were there: Lisa Chajet, Meredith Elson, Micah Goodman, Heather Greer, Tom Holton, Guy Lind, Matthew Lipper, Bradford Reed, Cornelia Reiner, Gillian Segal, Elizabeth Skog, Stacy Tenenbaum, Jamie Tost, and Justine Zinkin. This was the third Class of ’83 reunion held over the last 20 years, and as always it was a treat to reconnect with Town friends—some people had not seen each other since the early ’80s. Everyone else was missed and Class of ’83 looks forward to getting together again soon!

Julie Rosefsky passed away on June 6, 2016. Beloved wife of Steven. Devoted mother of Maya Hope and Eli James. Loving daughter of Allen and Marcia Fergang. Dear sister of Caryl Spector and Yale Fergang.



Graduation Speaker Excerpts


2016! Town gave us the opportunity to be a Turkey or an Eagle in Kindergarten, immigrants crossing through Ellis Island in 4th Grade, lawyers in the Galileo trial in 7th Grade, sea creatures in the 8th grade, and singers, dancers, musicians, artists, senators, scientists and athletes every step of the way. We have learned to make and defend arguments, present, perform, advocate for ourselves, experiment and take risks, and win or lose the right way. Town has built a culture, an environment, a community that has given each and every one of us a chance to try something or be someone that we would not normally feel comfortable doing or being.” — Sean Ryan

…We are walking away secure and confident… prepared academically and socially and we can take comfort in the knowledge that we will always have this Town community to come back to. …As I stand here today, I see a class of best friends for life. I see my family — my cheerleaders. And I see my mentors. And suddenly everything makes sense. …This isn’t the end, but instead the start of something new. …I still don’t know what the future will hold, but that is all right not to have answers and it’s okay not to know, because when I first came to Town, I didn’t know that ‘school’ would come to mean ‘home,’ or ‘family,’ or ‘love’ — but it did.” — Mayanka Dhingra


Town Timberwolves Class of 2016 High School Destinations Jada Adams

The Ethel Walker School

Sebastian Murray

Fieldston School

Nate Appleby

The Birch Wathen Lenox School

Evan Myers

The Packer Collegiate Institute

Jason Najjar

George Washington Academy

Kiran O’Connor

Trevor Day School

Ariana Pamoukian

Convent of the Sacred Heart

Patrick Quan

The Packer Collegiate Institute

Jack Reisler

The Packer Collegiate Institute

Sean Ryan

The Dalton School

Chaz Saferstein

The Packer Collegiate Institute

Justine Safra

The Nightingale-Bamford School

Dillon Sheekey

Fieldston School

Samantha Sheekey

Fieldston School

Eric Smith

The Abraham Joshua Heschel School

Austin Somers

Poly Prep Country Day School

Catie Stammen

The Gunnery

Henry Stern

The Dalton School

Tyler Tien

United Nations International School

Caroline Yaffa

Dwight-Englewood School

Sabrina Bakalis Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Mekhi Barketey

Information Technology High School

Shamoni Berrios

Maria Regina High School

Simone Billera

Trevor Day School

Evelyn Chacón

Grace Church School

Mayanka Dhingra

Horace Mann School

Mel Douer

Avenues: The World School

Alexandra Fried

Poly Prep Country Day School

Henry Gutkin

Trinity School

Foster Hudson

Elisabeth Irwin High School

Ila Kacker

Riverdale Country School

Alex Keswani

Fieldston School

Max LoBue Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Alex Markstein

Fieldston School

Maddie Morse

The Dalton School

Where’s the Class of 2012 going to college?




Susan Mindell Blum The Town community was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Susan Mindell Blum, on December 14, 2015. Susan served as Head of the Upper School from 1995–2000. Susan dedicated her life to the education of young children, working at The Professional Children’s School, Little Red Schoolhouse, and The Town School. She was also a committed Board member and student mentor at Breakthrough New York, a six-year college access program committed to working with high-potential, low income students, providing them with ongoing academic preparation, guidance and mentoring they need to attend selective high schools and colleges. After her retirement, Susan could often be seen at Town working with Breakthrough students to help them to successfully navigate the high school placement process. Susan loved children and education and gave generously of her talents both in professional and volunteer capacities. Always upbeat and energetic, Susan continued her relationship with Town faculty and staff members as well as alumni/ ae, and happily participated in many school events over the years. Susan is survived by her loving husband Michael. She will be sorely missed by the many whose lives she touched.

Geoffrey Ames Petersen Geoffrey Ames Petersen, 67, passed away October 26, 2015. Geoffrey was a superb teacher instructing students at the Cathedral School (St. John the Divine) and at The Town School from 1975–1984, where he taught English and music. The class of 1983 wrote a touching dedication to Mr. Peterson, which we include in this publication.

We’d love to hear your memories of these wonderful Town community members. Leave a tribute message online:



Susan Melvoin Martin Susan Melvoin Martin, a beloved past faculty member, died peacefully at home on June 18, 2016 in New York City at the age of 60, after living with ALS for five years. After graduating from Yale University she began a long teaching career, first at The Town School from 1981 to 1995, where she taught French and Social Studies, and then at the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine.

In 1989, the graduating class dedicated their yearbook to Ms. Martin and wrote the following:

Susan in her Town School years

Upon entering her room, you become suddenly aware of the French decorations and the mass of standing students, hats in hands, singing with “gusto” the French national anthem. The tall profile of a woman in the front of the room, waving her arms hysterically, trying to fit a few extra words on the already cluttered chalkboard is indeed the ever so enthusiastic Ms. Melvoin. Whether she is discussing the important moral lesson she learned when she left her best friend waiting in the gym, or telling her class that a pair of suspenders relates back to the Human Comedy, you can be sure that her class will be listening attentively and not be traveling to other planets. In the fifth grade, when we were first introduced to her, it was difficult to tell whether she was from Brooklyn, Alabama, Ireland, England, Germany or France because of her ability to mimic accents. It wasn’t until recently that we found out that she was actually from Chicago (Chicaaago, as she says). We have fond memories of Renaissance Day, a great invention of hers during which the school was taken back to the time of scrolls, odd pointy hats with veils, and ladies-in-waiting. In the eighties, when I was head of The Town School on 76th Street, and before Ms. Melvoin treats us students as she went to Cathedral, I was fortunate to appoint Susan to teach French at Town. equals, listening to every word that we She not only taught French but Social Studies often too, and she was an have to say with relish. From the year absolutely inspiring teacher. that she arrived at The Town School to Her joie de vivre, her incredibly wide intellectual interests and her energy made the present day, she has kept everyone us all enthusiastic too. She was a polymath. She travelled in France, she came to laughing with her wit and humor. England and we — she, her son Ben and I — went to the Globe Theatre, and although Ms. Melvoin, thanks a lot for being a I have not seen her since, we kept in touch. great teacher and a great friend. We will There are not many teachers as gifted as Susan, or many people with her qualities always remember you. of zest and resilience and with the courage that she has had through the slings and With love. The Class of ’89

arrows of outrageous fortune, but I feel lucky to have known her, and I will miss her presence on our planet. We need people like Susan, and fate was cruel to steal her from us. Gillian duCharme Head of The Town School 1981–86 Currents



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