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A Hub of Learning Expertise



Photo by David Kenas Photography,

At the Middle School closing ceremony each year, several tokens of appreciation are extended to members of the Middle School community to whom the students want to thank for their hard work and dedication. Among the honorees this year was Jason Ruff, shown here with Max Pasternak Ęź20. | PAGE 22


Riverdale's reputation as a leader in the field of education continues to grow.




FEATURE Focus on Education at Riverdale 03 | MS/US Teachers Present Workshop on Cultivating Leadership In and Out of the Classroom 04 | Career Networking Panel: Alumni Discuss Experiences and Trends in Education


06 | Lower School Teachers Share Co-Teaching Models with Fellow Educators

Riverdale: A Global and Local Hub of Learning Expertise R2020 Strategic Plan focuses on effective education for the 21st century.

Construction Update


The Upper Learning Building should be ready in August, and the Aquatic Center in November.

08 | Riverdale Hosts Science of Learning Conference for K-12 Teachers 10 | R2020 Strategic Plan Focuses on Effective Education The RCS Community 12 | Claude Kelly ʼ99 Returns to RCS as Commencement Speaker 12 | Graduation 2016 R+ The Riverdale Campaign 16 | Campaign Report—Spring 2016 18 | Construction Update 20 | Athletics Facilities Upgrades Global Connections 22 | Zagat Global Fellows Program Launches Riverdale Alumni 23 | Class Notes Riverdale Faculty IBC | Profile: William Bellaimey

QUAD is published by the Communications Office. Mary Ludemann, QUAD Editor and Director of School Information Lila Locksley, Director of Communications Georgia Tucker, Communications Associate Robin Gottlieb, Director of Alumni Affairs Design: White Communications, Inc., Tuxedo, NY


Commencement Speaker Claude Kelly '99 Congratulations to the Classes of 2016, 2020, and 2023.


Athletics Facilities Upgrades Construction of the new Aquatic Center allows for a second practice gym in the old pool space.



Riverdale: Using Its Leadership Position to Further the Field of Education

 

As Riverdale’s reputation as a leader in the field of education continues

to grow, the School is actively seeking to participate in dialogue with

educational institutions here in the U.S. and abroad about what a

21st century school should look like, what constitutes effective

leadership, and how cognitive science can help educators and

their students become lifelong learners.

Already recognized as a leader in the area of character education, Riverdale is also gaining notice for its innovative work in the areas of cognitive science research, co-teaching, co-curriculum, and leadership development.


In these next 8 pages, take a look at some of the ways Riverdale’s

administrators, faculty, and alumni are sharing their collective wisdom

with educators near and far.



Cultivating Leadership In and Out of the Classroom 

Lance Ramer and Stephanie Simpson recently shared their sports psychology approach to leadership with teachers and administrators from around the New York metro area. What started as a Riverdale mini course in sports psychology for students has expanded into a workshop for the adults who work with those students. Upper School math teacher and football coach Lance Ramer and Middle & Upper School dance teacher Stephanie Simpson recently led a NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools) workshop for educators interested in learning how to become successful leaders who can also develop effective leadership qualities in the students with whom they work. “Using constructs and models from sports psychology, as well as mindfulness practices, we shared how to create good situational leadership,” explains Ramer. Adds Simpson, “We knew that if teachers could learn how to implement this in their own lives, they would be able to incorporate it into their areas of work; in order to know what to look for [in students] you have to model it and know how to do it yourself.” The independent school teachers, summer camp leaders, coaches, and administrators who attended the presentation work with children of all ages, from elementary school through high school, and everyone agreed there were ways they could immediately implement this situational leadership approach in their daily lives, beginning the next day. “We had participants reflect on how they wanted to grow as a leader, in all areas of their lives, and held a goal-setting practicum so they had the tools to do that,” Simpson says. Ramer notes that although a lot of the information is derived from sports psychology, “It’s not just for athletes. Situational leadership is applicable to all areas, including academics and the arts.” Simpson adds, ”If you allow it to be a practice, it is so useful in all facets of life.”

We had participants reflect on how they wanted to grow as a leader, in all areas of their lives, and held a goal-setting practicum so they had the tools to do that.

While Ramer is leaving Riverdale for a new administrative position at a school in Florida, Simpson is open to leading another conference on cultivating leadership. However, she might do it a little differently. “We got a lot of great feedback, and many people said there was a lot of information for just one day. So maybe in the future it could be a two-day event.”




Experiences and Trends in Education  More than 70 members of the Riverdale community attended the 6th annual Alumni Career Networking Panel Discussion this past April.

Five Riverdale alumni and the school’s inaugural Zagat Global Fellow (for more, see page 22) discussed their work in education, including evolving trends in the field and, more specifically, how educators embrace and support cognitive diversity in our schools, at this year’s Alumni Career Networking event. Moderated by Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph, panel members shared insights into a variety of educational opportunities available to populations that historically have been underserved due to socioeconomic barriers and diverse learning needs. David Levin ’88, co-founder of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), and Tiffany Austin Liston ’94, chief operating officer of the Public Prep Network, described how charter schools across the country, particularly in urban areas, provide necessary alternatives to underfunded, low-performing public schools. In describing his motivation for establishing a reasonable and affordable option for students in these areas, Levin stated emphatically, “Demographics should not dictate destiny; ZIP code should not equate to a person’s future choices.” Liston enthusiastically agreed, describing the reason for her interest in developing partnerships with Riverdale and its peers as a desire to provide access to those who would not otherwise have it.

Demographics should not dictate destiny; ZIP code should not equate to a person's future choices.

Similarly, Dr. Ellen Condliffe Lagemann ’63 noted, “I firmly believe that education is one of the ways we can address inequality in the United States.” As the Levy Institute Research Professor at Bard College and a distinguished fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative, which gives incarcerated men and women the opportunity to earn a college degree while serving their sentences, Lagemann has a particularly unique lens into the diverse educational needs in our country. She stressed that universities have the power to transform



individuals and societies, and that they must recognize their public purpose. Also representing an unconventional approach to education, Laurence Lederer ’91, currently a partner in Branford Castle, Inc., a private-equity fund, has had years of experience investing in and working with for-profit, post-secondary schools that provide vocational training. Many of the students who attend these schools are nontraditional students ranging in age from 18 to 50+ and can include immigrants, veterans, or career-changers, for example. He noted that a liberal arts or community college education does not effectively prepare all students for the job market and that vocational training can offer a more practical and economically sound option for many. Lana Jacobs Edelman ’00, an educational evaluator for the Stephen Gaynor School, works with children who have language-based learning needs. She stressed the importance of identifying the individual strengths and requirements of the students she sees and the challenge of doing so within the confines of a brief interview. Her advice to those considering a position in education is to identify their personal passions and assess how they might use those in ways that are fun, engaging, and different. She recalled a Riverdale teacher who had complimented her reading skills early on – inspiring her to study literature in school and ultimately translate that interest to helping students learn how to read and write. Also taking part in the panel was Dr. David James, the deputy head of Bryanston School in England and the 2016 Riverdale Zagat Global Fellow. Dr. James offered insight into the evolution of trends in British education, noting that the conversation

in the U.K. is revolving primarily around what is happening today in the States – such as character development, underfunding, and teacher retention – with solutions being articulated in a similar language to what is happening here. He underscored the importance of today’s educators having a sense of their own strengths

From left: Panelists Dr. Ellen Condliffe Lagemann ’63, David Levin ’88, Laurence Lederer ’91, Tiffany Austin Liston ’94, Lana Jacobs Edelman ’00, and 2016 Riverdale Zagat Global Fellow Dr. David James.

and weaknesses while remaining “ambitious for yourself and for the children.” The event was organized by Riverdale’s Alumni Association Executive Committee (AAEC) and held at the offices of Sidley Austin thanks to Nick Lagemann ’91.

...universities have the power to transform individuals and societies, and that they must recognize their public purpose.




Co-Teaching Models with Fellow Educators  Co-teachers Lindsay Brine and Lisa Flaster recently shared the benefits and challenges of building a co-teaching relationship with other New York area elementary school educators.

A panel of various coteachers from different private schools in New York City (including Riverdalians Richard Brehl and Melissa Libertini) and some of the participants from the day. Lower School Learning Resource Team (LRT) member Brooke McCaffrey moderated the panel.

At the start of the 2015-16 school year, third grade co-teachers Lindsay Brine and Lisa Flaster set a goal to find inventive ways to integrate the six different co-teaching models into their teaching on a more regular basis. As they thought back onto when they first began with co-teaching and the lack of research there was for how to create a successful co-teaching classroom in a general education setting, “We realized in our fourth year as co-teachers, we had a lot to say about our experience that may be useful to those who are starting out as new co-teachers or who are in current co-teaching relationships.

We wanted to provide practical advice and solutions to everyday challenges that coteachers encounter,” Brine explains. This led them to propose—and ultimately lead—a one-day workshop for NYSAIS (the New York State Association of Independent Schools) called “How to Create a Successful Coteaching Partnership in a General Education Classroom.” “It became clear to us while preparing for this workshop that we didn’t fully realize or appreciate the amount of work it took for us to get to the current state of our relationship where the benefits of co-teaching truly outweigh the challenges,” Flaster adds. “Some people have the misconception that co-teaching allows you to have ‘half’ the workload, while in fact, at the start of the co-teaching relationship, it is twice as much work. The reason for this is that you need to think about how you are going to collaborate, compromise, and communicate about every aspect of the classroom. We learned that it is essential to reflect upon your own strengths and weaknesses in order to make a partnership work.” Brine and Flaster realized that the model they use most often is team teaching. Team teaching is when you teach the same lesson at the same time collaboratively.



“Team teaching is actually the trickiest of all of the models to do smoothly and effectively...especially in the beginning of your relationship,” Brine says, adding, “While using this model, you need to make sure you are not stepping on your partner’s toes, while teaching a cohesive thoughtful lesson that engages all of your students. We found this model to be the best model of all of the six because the kids are gaining two different perspectives on the same topic, multiple entry points into material, and it makes for an incredibly lively and vibrant discussion.” Of the 27 workshop participants, most were teachers, but there were a few administrators as well. Most of the teachers were either in their first year of co-teaching or were about to start co-teaching at a new school. “We had one administrator who was hoping to start co-teaching in her school, and was there to learn more about what that would look like and how best to support her teachers,” Flaster notes.

Third grade co-teachers Lindsay Brine (left) and Lisa Flaster with their class.

We learned that it is essential to reflect upon your own strengths and weaknesses in order to make a partnership work.

The duo points out that during the workshop, “We had incredibly interesting and thoughtful conversations with professionals across New York. Some people travelled up to two hours to come to our workshop, so it was amazing to really dig into some of the core issues that are at the heart of co-teaching with people with diverse experiences. Some of our most interesting conversations that arose were about how to design curriculum with another person, the kind of support teachers need from administrators, and how to present a unified message about a child’s learning profile to parents.”




Science of Learning Conference for K-12 Teachers  Several RCS teachers and administrators led workshops that helped address the question, “How will cognitive science research inform day-to-day classroom practice?”

In the past decade, cognitive science has transformed our knowledge of how the brain works and how people learn. These insights provide practical strategies for enhancing the learning of all children, so as an institution that is at the center of innovative teaching and learning, Riverdale recently hosted a daylong conference that addressed how this research can be applied to classroom teachers.

Dr. Kevin Mattingly, Riverdale’s Director of CoCurriculum (who also teaches cognitive science at Teachers College, Columbia University), provided attendees with an overview of research about how memories are made, stored, and retrieved, as well as active learning strategies for making them enduring and transferable. Mattingly also led a discussion about some of the myths and misconceptions students have about learning—e.g. effective multitasking is possible, re-reading text and notes are productive learning strategies, learning should be easy—as well as the “illusion of mastery” that students and teachers sometimes fall prey to. Dr. Kelley Nicholson-Flynn, Head of Upper School and a biologist, and Learning Research Team (LRT) members Candy Anderson and Christina Young led sessions that focused on executive functions, mindfulness,



There's a hunger and a desire to learn more [about the science of learning]...It's all about helping students lead their own learning...they can become learning experts and expert learners.

and academic performance; effective effort via “smart” learning strategies for successful translation of the growth mindset; and factors influencing language skills differences (including second language acquisition) and ways to adjust teaching accordingly. Some 75 independent school educators attended the conference, many of whom had heard about cognitive science research but didn’t have a lot of background information. After the conference, several participants followed up with requests for Riverdale to go on site to help them learn more. “There’s a hunger and a desire to learn more [about the science of learning],” says Mattingly. “We’ve set the groundwork for a series of conversations about learning with teachers.” Riverdale plans to continue discussing this research with other educators interested in using it to inform their work with students. “It’s all about helping students lead their own learning,” Mattingly says. “Understanding better how the brain works will help our students become learning experts and expert learners.”




As the debate around what constitutes an effective education swirls nationally and globally,

A Global and Local Hub of Learning Expertise

Riverdale seeks to take a

The school’s vision for the future, according to Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph, is to “become a global and local hub of learning expertise as we develop independent lifelong learners and change-makers.” To do this, Riverdale has identified eight strategic foci:

centered approach to

 RIVERDALE’S CORE. Continue to support, sustain, and improve our core

liberal arts academic program and focus on developing the well being of our community members.

student- and communityteaching, learning, and what it means to be a school in the 21st century.

 FOCUS ON PURPOSEFUL LEARNING. Develop an innovative global and

community learning hub (a digital and a face-to-face platform) for learning expertise by continuing to develop learning experts and expert learners.

 GREAT PEOPLE. Identify, recruit, and retain the best students, parents, administrators,

faculty, and staff, who model and show potential for achieving the school’s educational outcomes.

 INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY. Create an ever-more inclusive and diverse community.

 INTEGRATED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM. Integrate as fully as possible our dynamic

co-curriculum with our constantly refined academic curriculum, under a common set of outcomes.

 LEVERAGE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP). Through the development of a learning hub with a

 COMPLETE THE R+ CAMPAIGN. Successfully meet R+ Campaign goals to support our

set of well-chosen partners, incubate valuable IP that could be further developed. educational objectives. (For an R+ Campaign update, see page 16.)


Among the many action steps planned for school year 2016-17 is the creation of a learning hub/platform that incorporates innovative and effective educational practices. “This hub would focus on learning theory, academic excellence, emotional and intellectual well-being, self-reflection, diversity, social change, and faculty professional development for lifelong learners while still maintaining the excellence of our core mission,” Randolph says. Other action steps involve the curriculum, including finalizing the “Riverdale Educational Roadmap,” a comprehensive and reflective curriculum that has a scope and sequence that can be effectively communicated; adjusting the curriculum to incorporate proven learning principles and best practices, coordinated across all three divisions; strengthening the co-curriculum and unifying it with the academic curriculum; and further developing the Grade 9/Upper School experience using innovative advising/mentoring programs, digital/design tools such as the Purpose Project, and summer experiences that promote a process of self-development and reflection.



Claude Kelly ’99 Returns After Riverdale, Claude attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, earning a degree in music business and management. He returned to New York City to pursue a career in music and has since written songs for Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, The Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, and Jessie J. The 2009 single he composed for Miley Cyrus ("Party in the U.S.A.") debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In recent years he’s worked with producer and long time friend Chuck Harmony on a number of projects, including a musical collaboration dubbed Louis York, named after their mutual cities of origin (Harmony is from east St. Louis). Their eclectic­-but-­hook-­ ridden sound is a genre ­bending blend of modern pop, old school R&B, thick­grooved rock, and tribal African sounds. Harmony played every instrument on their recordings, while Kelly wrote the melodies and sang vocals. In 2014, the duo founded the music collective Weirdo Workshop, home to acts Masha, Kes, and The Shindellas.

Riverdale was pleased to welcome singer/ songwriter Claude Kelly ʼ99 as this yearʼs commencement speaker.

GRADUATION 2016 Congratulations to the Classes of 2016, 2020 (8th grade), and 2023 (5th grade) and their families. more graduation photos on next pages 

Kofi Samuels ’20 was chosen to address his classmates at their Middle School graduation.


Cat Crocker (left) and Brian Carver, the Deans of the Class of 2016.

to RCS as Commencement Speaker Kelly’s lifelong interest in music was nurtured at Riverdale by choral teacher Patrick Romano. “I arrived at Riverdale as a freshman and signed up for all the singing groups with Mr. Romano—chorus and a capella—and also started, with other students, an independant group called Tones of Change. Mr. Romano supported us in all our musical endeavors, in and out of the classroom. He was a real champion of the arts on campus and encouraged all our creative efforts, which really added to our confidence.” But Kelly says that he found his whole education at Riverdale a transforming experience. “The challenging courses and all the extracurricular activities kept us all really busy, but once I graduated I had a sense of empowerment that I could juggle all the things that life throws at me. I truly felt prepared after Riverdale to take on anything.” Kelly drew upon his own Riverdale experience when preparing

Prateek Sahni ’16, a ‘”lifer” who has attended Riverdale since Pre-Kindergarten, spoke to the Class of 2023 about life on the Hill Campus.

for his graduation address. He spoke about his desire to attend Riverdale for high school, and his guidance counselor telling him to “get real” about his chances of getting in. This drove Kelly to prove—not just to the counselor—that he could get in, and of course, he did. He advised the graduates to always believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their dreams. He also told them not to be afraid to be themselves; to be confident as they move on to college and other pursuits. He recalled his first day at Riverdale, and how he felt walking up the driveway in his green baggy jeans and lime green plaid shirt, fully confident that this was who he was and who he wanted to be at Riverdale. Kelly ended his speech by reading from Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go, telling the students that this simple text helps remind him to go forward with confidence whenever he faces new challenges, and wishing them the best as they move on from Riverdale.

Nicole Beckman ’16 urged her classmates to take “their Riverdale” with them wherever they go in the future.



GRADUATION 2016 (Right): Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph spoke to each graduating class about grit and purpose, using his grandfather as an example.

(Right): Anna (left) and Julia Attie, members of Riverdale’s Class of 2016 who have attended the school since kindergarten, addressed the fifth graders.

Joey Ramesar ’16 asked his fellow graduates to take a moment to rest and reflect before continuing on their journey to success. 14 | QUAD SPRING/SUMMER 2016

The Class of 2020

The Class of 2023

(Above): The Class of 2016 asked Kevin Bailey, Co-chair of the Math Department, to speak on behalf of the faculty.

(Right): The Class of 2016

(Right): When writing his commencement address, singer/songwriter Claude Kelly ’99 drew on his own Riverdale experience for inspiration. (Far Right): Phoebe Hoffman ’20 spoke to her classmates on their graduation day.



Update on the R+ Campaign: Inspiring Education


By Bobbi Mark, Chief Development Officer

t the close of the fourth year of Riverdale’s seven-year R+ Campaign: Inspiring Education, our comprehensive effort to support new and renovated facilities, far-reaching curricular and co-curricular programming, meaningful financial aid, and budget-relieving unrestricted annual giving, we have secured new gifts and pledges of approximately two-thirds of our ambitious $100,000,000 goal. I am delighted to report that we are on a trajectory to reach not only our overall financial objective, but also our individual targets within each of the four priority areas, as indicated in the chart below, which shows gifts and pledges raised as of June 30, 2016. (Final numbers for the fiscal year will appear in the 2015-16 Report of Gifts published in fall 2016.)


“I am delighted to report that we are on a trajectory to reach not only our overall financial objective, but also our individual targets within each of the four priority areas.”

Our community has been very generous in its support of all three of our major building projects: the innovative new Upper Learning Building on the River Campus, which will house classrooms for grades 3-5, an expanded cafeteria and kitchen, and a glorious new performance and meeting space; the spectacular Aquatic Center on the Hill Campus with glass curtain walls overlooking Van Cortlandt Park; and the creative restoration and expansion of our existing Marc A. Zambetti ’80 Athletic Center. Similarly, other donors have provided enthusiastic support for a breadth of programs, local and global, across all disciplines, through both spend-down and endowed funds. One alumnus, who was particularly inspired by the quality of his teachers at Riverdale, established a sizable fund that provides professional and personal development opportunities for today’s faculty, while another has recognized the impact of his international experiences in his life after Riverdale through the support of the school’s Mandarin Studies program. Likewise,

current parents have contributed to programs that they find meaningful, such as an endowment for Lower School community service that enables students to visit local social service centers, or a restricted fund to support the studio art, theatre, and voice programs in the Middle and Upper Schools. Financial aid remains as much of a critical need for Riverdale as it is an important priority for donors who want to ensure that our student body remains diverse across a wide-ranging array of attributes. Indeed, scholarship funds have been established through the R+ Campaign for students who demonstrate particular leadership abilities or character traits, or hail from the Bronx, or have parents who are civil servants.

— Bobbi Mark

individuals have participated with their philanthropic support, which indicates that we are achieving another one of our goals, which is to extend the base of support and identify the future stewards of our school. Although many of our donors have earmarked funds to specific areas that are meaningful to them, almost all have contributed to the R+ Campaign via the Annual Fund, underscoring the importance and universality of continued unrestricted support, whether as a component of their philanthropy or in its entirety. We are grateful to each and every donor and thrilled by this endorsement of our mission, students, faculty and staff, and all that we can accomplish together.

Support for the R+ Campaign has been just as broad across constituencies, from members of the Class of 1936 to members of the Class of 2016 – eight decades of alumni – from parents, past parents, grandparents, friends, faculty, and staff. To date, well over 3,000



Construction Update from Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph

At press time, the new Upper Learning Building (formerly Perkins) is scheduled to be completed in August and ready for students and teachers to settle into this September, while the Aquatic Center is expected to be finished and ready for action in November.

(Below): At the end of June, the exterior work on the new Upper Learning Building was almost complete.


While the Aquatic Center is being finished, work on the Marc A. Zambetti ’80 Athletic Center has just begun. During the 2016-17 school year, a number of updates will be made, including the addition of an elevator that will provide access to the practice gym (formerly the pool area), the main gym and fitness center, the fencing and wrestling rooms, and the John R. Johnson Student Center. The “bookbag area” off the lobby of the John R. Johnson Student Center will also be converted into a conference room/collaboration space that can be used by all members of the community.

(Below): At press time, safety rails had been installed around the pool basin following completion of the pool deck structural slab in the Aquatic Center.

(Above): During the course of the school year, several Lower School classes were able to tour the construction site, including Class 2C. At the Hill Campus, several students in the Architecture Club were given a tour of the Aquatic Center construction site, too. (Left): The Lower School put together two time capsules—one filled with Early Learning materials and one with Upper Learning offerings— which were placed inside the walls of the theater in the new Upper Learning Building.


THE RIVERDALE CAMPAIGN UPDATE An artist rendering of the new practice gym, which will be located in the space that formerly housed the pool.

Facilities Upgrades to Positively Impact Athletics & Physical Education Departments While living through the construction may be challenging next year, the planned upgrades to Riverdale’s athletics facilities will ultimately have a positive impact on the athletics teams and the physical education department. The construction of the new Aquatic Center will impact more than just the members of the swim team, as the old pool will be turned into a second practice gym that will be used by many teams and physical education (PE) classes. “The facilities upgrades will have the most impact on winter sports,” says Director of Athletics John Pizzi, Jr., adding, “Moving from two gyms to three gyms (including the one on the River Campus) will allow us to play and practice here at Riverdale with more frequency,” without teams having to go to outside locations for gym time, good news for the eight Middle and Upper School basketball teams.

Moving from two gyms to three gyms (including the one on the River Campus) will allow us to play and practice here at Riverdale with more frequency...

The fencing teams will also benefit from the new practice gym, since its larger size will allow for more fencing matches to take place at the same time. Pizzi


notes that the fall varsity and JV volleyball teams will be able to each practice in a gym, which is much more effective and efficient than practicing on just half a court (which is what they currently do). And in the spring, more than one team will be able to practice indoors on rainy days, too. The new Aquatic Center will have wider swimming lanes, allowing for the MS to use two lanes and freeing up an extra lane for the US team during practice because the lane markers can be moved. Dedicated wet and dry areas just for swimmers will make a difference to all athletes who use the locker rooms; Pizzi hopes that during the fall and spring seasons other teams that use the Alumni and Frankel Fields will be able use the Aquatic Center locker rooms, thus freeing up space in the Zambetti locker rooms for other athletes.

When you add everything together, all of the athletic facilities, you would be hard-pressed to find another school with better facilities.

“When you add everything together, all of the athletic facilities, you would be hard-pressed to find another school with better facilities,” Pizzi says. “The support the school has shown to athletics has been tremendous, and it means a lot to the coaches and to the students.” More than 83% of US students play at least one sport, so Pizzi concludes that the upgraded facilities will “allow us to improve the student athletics experience at Riverdale.”

An artist rendering of the pool in the new Aquatic Center.



In 2015,

Riverdale alumnus Tim Zagat ʼ57 established the Zagat Global Fellows program to build Riverdale's global connections and deepen the communityʼs understanding of other cultures. The program introduces international educators to the Riverdale community for extended visits each year and provides opportunities for Riverdale faculty members to become reciprocally immersed in each partner schoolʼs educational program. This past April, Riverdale hosted its inaugural fellow, Dr. David James, deputy head teacher of the Bryanston School, a leading co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils located 120 miles southwest of London. During his 10-day visit, he participated in classes, sessions with Riverdale faculty, and an alumnisponsored panel on education (for more on this panel, see page 4).

Zagat Global Fellows Program Launches

British educator Dr. David James named the inaugural Zagat Global Fellow.

“Dr. James is a brilliant educator and visionary. We were thrilled to have his expertise on campus and are delighted that the Zagat Global Fellows program was launched with such a distinguished representative,” said Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph. Dr. James has nearly 20 years of teaching experience and is also an author and editor for Cambridge University Press and consultant editor for Hodderʼs International Baccalaureate Review quarterly magazine. He is editing World Class: Tackling the Ten Biggest Challenges Facing Schools Today, which will be published in 2017. Dr. James has been a teacher in residence at the Department for Education (based in Westminster), and has also worked for the International Baccalaureate on their global review of the Middle Years Programme as senior schools advisor. He was the director of the Sunday Times Festival of Education, which has been the leading educational event in the United Kingdom for the past seven years, and is a Google certified teacher. Riverdale selected Sean Dagony-Clark, Director of Academic Technology, to visit the Bryanston School in June. Dagony-Clark also attended the Wellington College Festival of Education. For more about the Zagat Global Fellowship, including a blog post by Dr. James, visit



Class Notes Congratulations to the Classes ending in 0's and 5's, who are celebrating their reunions in the 2015-2016 school year! Classes ending in 1's and 6's will have their reunion in the 2016-2017 school year, beginning the weekend of October 21-23. Please save the date!


1944 Richard D. Rosenblatt

1945 Be a QUAD Class Correspondent*

1946 Elizabeth Eidlitz

1947 Be a QUAD Class Correspondent*

1948 Victor S. Noerdlinger

1949 Barbara Neebe Thompson 26 Dorchester Avenue Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706


Cindy Robinson, the daughter of Joan Chesley Robinson, let Riverdale know that her mother passed away on January 27, 2016. We extend condolences to Cindy and all of Joan’s family and friends.


Class Correspondent Bill Gardner ’53 let QUAD know that Herbert “Burt” Kwouk died May 24. An actor best known for playing Inspector Clouseau’s manservant Cato opposite Peter Sellers in the “Pink Panther” movies, Burt also appeared in three James Bond films. The British-born actor received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to drama in 2011. Helen Vincent Atlas wrote the following “homage to the Pulrang family, who took in a refugee child and sent her to Riverdale at the

outset of World War II: “As one of the 25 refugee children on the SS Excambion that docked in New York harbor shortly before Christmas of 1940, I now recall— some 76 years later—having been visibly impressed by the Statue of Liberty we glided by (‘A gift from the country you come from,’ I was told) and the number of American flags adorning the pier. The French tricolor was all I’d known up to then. “I was unaware as a nine-yearold that mother and I and the 24 other children aboard were here owing to the bounty of the American Committee for the Care of European Children and the Unitarian Service Committee for having organized our getaway from Nazi-occupied countries to the safety of the States, a neutral oasis in the early years of World War II. Mother spoke several languages and was an adult in whose care we were entrusted on our trip from

Marseille to Lisbon via Barcelona, and Atlantic crossing. “Once here, the committees arranged for me to stay with a Unitarian family while my mother sought employment and housing, which brings me to the Dr. Stanford Pulrang family, the physician at founder Frank S. Hackett’s


Congratulations to the Classes ending in 0's and 5's, who are celebrating their reunions in the 2015-2016 school year!

RIVERDALE ALUMNI Riverdale County School, which their three children attended.


1951 Karl R. Heiser

1952 Barbara Dean Schuler 17 Bronxville Road Bronxville, NY 10708

1953 Gail Fletcher Edwards William H. Gardner

1954 Nancy Bomeisler Nightingale

1955 Jane Samet Rogers

1956 Barbara Rearden Farnham

“What a wonderful family were the Pulrangs! “Aunt” Betty and “Uncle” Stan, parents to Patricia ’40 and her two siblings, Peter ’42 (on whom I developed a crush), and Stanford, Jr., “Pully” ’52, have long remained a unique couple in my memory. At their spacious house on Delavan Terrace in Yonkers, I bedded in Pat’s lovely room—all white and frilly—who was off at Mills College. I recall the Neighborhood School, that section of the Riverdale Country School for little ones they sent me to, where I remained for two years. When down with tonsillitis, Uncle Stan performed the tonsillectomy at Yonkers Hospital, where I was blissful to be frequently fed ice cream, a “cure” to ease the pain, unheard of in France. I also recall granny Nana regally stretched on the chaise in her bedroom, beckoning to console tearful me when Aunt Betty would reprimand me for a misdeed. Even though I ached being separated from my mother for the first time, I was aware of the Pulrangs’ generosity and affectionate concern for me, a displaced youngster whose English was in the learning stages, frequently railed at by younger son Pully, with whom I played ball in their garden. “I shall never forget the thrill of Peter cutting in at my first school dance when later he showed up with his father at the Boy School’s gym where the annual spring prom was held. For some reason I remember him in uniform, a strikingly handsome figure on leave or in the reserves perhaps, amidst the adult teaching staff chaperoning us teenagers. I turned crimson, blushing in confusion as Peter, unquestionably commandeered by Uncle Stan, tripped the light fantastic with me, once around the lacquered gym floor. Remarkably, I still remember its impact on me.


“After the war’s end my French father joined us and I returned to Riverdale down by the Hudson River, to the Girls School with its sprawling lawns on which we bashed the ball with our hockey sticks to our heart’s content (and one another in the process), playing field hockey in the fall under Miss Woessner’s watch, while in the spring with unavoidable sprained softball fingers, held ceremonial May Day festivities and graduation exercises in long white dresses. Had it not been for Dr. and Mrs. Pulrang, I wouldn’t have necessarily spent those wonderful years attending Riverdale and gone on to Mount Holyoke College at the urging of Miss Cooper, our principal. I owe it all to the Pulrangs.”


Peter Rosenblatt’s wife, Naomi Harris Rosenblatt, just published a book, Bless the Bitter and the Sweet, A Sabra Girl's Diary from the Last Days of British Rule and the Rebirth of Israel. In addition to telling the story of her life as a young girl in Palestine from 1947 to the rebirth of Israel in 1952, she also recounts how she met and married Peter.


Kathryn Lodal let Class Correspondent Karl Heiser know the sad news that her husband, Jack Ripperger, passed away on April 9. He died from aspiration pneumonia after almost two and a half years in senior living with progressing dementia. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathryn and all of Jack’s family and friends.


John F. Murphy has written a memoir entitled, Luck of the Irish: A Memoir, which can be purchased at In it, he credits “gifted teachers and an extraordinary football coach at the

elite Riverdale Country School in New York City” for turning his life around. Thanks, John!


Harry E. Gould Jr. is pleased to report that as part of his pro bono activities (which include being a member of the Columbia Business School Board of Overseers, a trustee emeritus at Colgate University, a board member of the Roundabout Theatre and a former trustee of Riverdale), he was involved in the largest commercial real estate transaction of 2015. This transaction’s value was $3 billion more than the seconnd largest, which was the sale of 11 Madison Avenue ( a prior headquarters location for his former company) to SL Green for $2.3 billion. The referenced transaction was the sale of Peter Cooper Village and Peter Stuyvesant Town to Blackstone and one of the largest institutional investors in Canada, the Caisse de Depot, for $5.3 billion. The linchpin that allowed the deal to take place was for the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), of which Mr. Gould is Vice Chairman, to lend the City $150 million by issuing a subordinated debenture in that amount to compensate for the City waiving the transfer tax of approximately $120 million. In return, the City received a commitment to keep approximately 50% of the 11,200+ apartments “affordable” for the next 20 years. Harry says that after being a mayoral appointee to this state agency (HDC) for the last 39 years, the transaction was one of the more satisfying during his tenure. HDC is the largest affordable housing finance agency in the country, and with the past and present management stewardship maintains an AA/AA+ rating. In addition, HDC originated the $3.15 billion first mortgage (since assumed by Wells Fargo) in order to meet the closing requirements.

Classes ending in 1's and 6's will have their reunion in the 2016-2017 school year, beginning the weekend of October 21-23. Please save the date!



From Class Correspondent Rick Bates: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Barbara passed away peacefully on Saturday afternoon [April 23] at Northern Westchester Hospital under the care of a wonderful hospice group. In mid-February Barbara was diagnosed with a very aggressive glioblastoma brain tumor in an inoperable location. Radiation and chemotherapy proved to be ineffective. Barbara was in wonderful spirits throughout this ordeal and would even laugh at her physical shortcomings. Near the end, when it was clear that she was not going to recover, she said she wanted to go to heaven. We shared many smiles, laughs, hugs, and kisses in the past two months. We were together all day every day in the hospital and during Barbara’s brief stay at home. Barbara very much enjoyed your expressions of love and support. I know that Barbara would want me to thank you all for your years of friendship.” QUAD extends condolences to Rick, his daughter Erica Bates Schietinger ’90, and all of their family and friends.


William M. Shain writes, “It is with sadness that I report the passing of Andy Stein on December 28, 2015 in Santa Monica, CA. I don’t have the detail on Andy’s life to write an actual obituary, but know that he had dealt with major health limitations for many years, and done so with strength and good humor.” QUAD extends condolences to Andy’s family and friends. QUAD is also sad to report the death of Richard Baker Jennings on February 28th (see photo right). He was the loving husband of Nancy Steeger Jennings for 46 years; father of Anne Jennings Staebler, Sally Jennings, and Victoria Jennings Diamond; father-inlaw of Ned Staebler and Robert Diamond; grandfather of Teddy and Jacob Staebler, Charlotte and

Eleanor Diamond; and brother of Ellen Jennings Giusti and John Baker Jennings. Rich was born on November 26, 1943, fifteen minutes behind his twin brother John, and grew up in New York City. After Riverdale, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, where he was awarded the Corning Glass Works Traveling Fellowship. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School. From 1969 to 1986, he oversaw the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) investment banking business at Goldman, Sachs & Co. During his tenure at Goldman, Sachs & Co. he also founded and managed the Mortgage Finance Group. From 1986 to 1989, he was Managing Director—Real Estate Finance at Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc. Rich founded the investment banking form Realty Capital International LLC in 1991. He served as the lead director for Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.; on the board of directors of National Retail Properties, Inc., European Investors’ International Property Fund, Terra Capital Partners, and The Stillwater Insurance Group; and as a trustee of the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction at NYU Medical Center. Richard Eric Spatz writes, “I am in my 72nd year. The recent Challenge

 QUAD is sad to report the death of Richard Baker Jennings ’61 on February 28.

with Horace Mann and Fieldston provoked and conjured a flood of cherished, profound feelings and memories as a graduate in the Class of ’61. I have always held my six years at RCS with deep affection. Retrospectively they were formative and the best education time for me. They prepared me for college and graduate school and spoiled me as the teachers that followed were often of lower caliber. As a former copywriter, criminal trial attorney, and presently a therapist, I regarded the Challenge as a clever and creative marketing promotion for encouraging contributions in the best Spirit. Hence it is not only the Spirit That Quickeneth, it is the Spirit that sustains us; and as I have for decades, anonymously, cheered for RCS in an appropriate manner. The secondary gain with the introduction of the Challenge was to reawaken a flood of memories as a student at RCS. Pardon my indulgence; it’s done with affection and in some cases with apologies to several students. “You don’t have the power to blow you to Jericho,” or so I was informed by Mrs. Guiney early on in math class my first semester at RCS. “Are you an only child?” she chided me. I was not alone. I actually grew to love her. The hilarious Andy Stein’s greeting of our English teacher, Mr. Gronningsater, after his arrival in his old grey Volvo with “Good Gronning, Mr. Morningsater.” Chevy Chase’s clowning in class less so. The shocked look on Julian Standen’s face with Professor Paul Luke’s surprising show of strength when Mr. Luke unexpectedly grabbed Julian by his coat lapel and lifted Julian off the floor in response to his sarcastic remarks. The steely countenance of Professor Luke and his no-nonsense terms for negotiating my request to avoid my senior talk in Chapel required of all seniors: No speech, no graduation. No way out. I don’t remember a word I said when I gave my talk on nuclear disarmament in Chapel one spring morning. I do recall returning to my seat after a standing ovation.

PLEASE SEND YOUR NEWS TO YOUR CLASS CORRESPONDENT(S) BEFORE NOVEMBER 1, 2016. 1957 Judy Austin Rick Bates Sue Jacobs Schaffzin Marty Zelnik

1958 David F. Lahm

1959 Micki Seligson 139 Cushing Street, #1 Cambridge, MA 02138 Geoff Howard

1960 E. Harvey Meer

1961 Lawrence Rosenbluth


Congratulations to the Classes ending in 0's and 5's, who are celebrating their reunions in the 2015-2016 school year!



1963 Stephen R. Blank Peter W. Philip Paul K. Safer

1964 John H. Jiler

1965 Gail Hart Melissa Gordon

1966 Be a QUAD Class Correspondent*

1967 Mary Lou Scott

1968 John M. Davis

1969 Nancy Duff-Boehm Susan Tembeck Riccardi


I still have my letter sweater with one gold bar signifying I was RCS’s first captain of the swimming team with co-captain John Zwerling, at the time a dear friend. Summoned to her side by Madame Smith, seated on top of her desk dressed in a gray wool suit, she leaning over reading a piece in French her rich accent and the bouquet of her voice while I, leaning over her shoulder, realizing she was bra-less then realizing the class was aware of what I was looking at. C’est magnifique. Enjoyed the privileges that only seniors were allowed: to enter through the front door of the main entrance to RCS. That we did not have to serve lunch, wait tables, wash the dishes. My apologies to Jeff Frackman, Pete Glazier, Jon Burrows for fighting. Alan Singer for mocking him. I have faced challenges all my life. I can honestly acknowledge that for many of those challenges, RCS helped me find my way. I was proud I designed the cover of the yearbook for the year of my graduation in 1961. The challenges we met with back as students persist. I am better for them. Thank you, RCS, for all that was provided to me during those years at RCS. The Spirit That Quickeneth is a worthy equation for making it happen.”


Dan Valahu and Paul Geiger met in 1956 in summer school and have been best friends since. Although they were miles apart much of the time, they always kept in touch. Dan came to the last RCS reunion (from Waco, TX) and also to visit Paul in December (see photo right). They recalled the Bertino football games and the Coach Charles McCarthy track meets. Great memories of RCS! They send greetings to all their classmates.

David Asencio Robert Kahn


Class of 1962 classmates and best friends Dan Valahu (left) and Paul Geiger. 


Andrew J. Gordon has published a book, Agents of Change in Bullet Tree Falls: How a Village in Belize Responded to Influences of Globalization. The book contains four case studies, each featuring Andrew’s exploration of a different initiative intended to effect community change, and is available for purchase on


Jeremy Alderson ’67 shared the sad news that his brother, Bill Alderson, passed away from natural causes on April 15. In addition to his brother, Bill leaves behind two children, Abigail and Matthew. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them all at this time.

at 54 Below, a stylish nightclub in the bowels of the old Studio 54.”


Richard Aronson writes, “A full circle was completed when I met in October 2015 with Akeem Williams ’15, a very inspiring pre-health freshman at Amherst College, who is my advisee. Akeem graduated from Riverdale in 2015 and will graduate from Amherst in 2019, both 50 years after me. This experience of getting to know Akeem highlighted my gratitude to RCS.” The class would like to extend love and comfort to Kathie Fiveash, who lost her amazing husband, Albert Gordon, this past fall.

At press time, Eric Kingson was running for Congress to represent New York’s 24th Congressional District, supported by Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.


From John Jiler: “As some of you know, I’ve been working for a while on a musical about the post-World War II era, called Big Red Sun, with composer Georgia Stitt. It’s an ambitious project that seeks to understand the strange allure of those years. A terrible enemy had been beaten, the troops flooded home, there was kissing in the streets, but it wasn’t long— it seems to us—before subtler, darker shadows began to roll in. The musical journey, from Klezmer through swing to the first raw, joyous sounds of rock and roll, was the entertainment on January 19th


QUAD extends condolences to Jeremy Alderson, whose brother, Bill Alderson ’64, passed away from natural causes on April 15.

From Ken Davies: “2015 has been a year of new beginnings. After more than 40 years of continuous work, I retired from the U.N. World Food Programme on June 1. Margrethe and the kids have accompanied me throughout our six WFP country postings over the past 26 years. After our final posting at the WFP headquarters in Rome, we decided to return to Africa, where Margrethe could resume her work as a public health doctor and I could continue to support smallholder agricultural and market development at a more grassroots level.

Classes ending in 1's and 6's will have their reunion in the 2016-2017 school year, beginning the weekend of October 21-23. Please save the date!

CLASS NOTES “After three glorious months at our summer house on Thurø Island in Denmark, we arrived in Uganda in September. We have settled into a renovated colonial-era rented bungalow in Jinja, a quiet district town at the top of Lake Victoria, where the White Nile begins its slow journey north to Egypt and the Mediterranean. The past three months have been a whirlwind. Margrethe quickly assumed a new position as the volunteer staff doctor for Hospice Jinja, which provides palliative care to those with serious illnesses or injuries. She has been traveling to rural villages every week and seeing patients with advanced cases of cancer and AIDS, as well as those who can thankfully be treated and cured. She is busy and pleased with her new work. “In November 2015, we purchased a large plot of six acres along the river and plan to build a house and cottage beginning in January 2016. The land has a magnificent view up the Nile (see photo below) and we plan to move into the cottage in September next year. At present, we are busy fencing the land, removing trees that will be used for roof rafters, bringing in water, acquiring the essential permits and designing the buildings. It is an exciting challenge to design one’s own home and then build - something we have never attempted before. We are working with a spirited British lady engineer, who is serving as our general contractor. She has already constructed three houses along the river - thatched and built almost entirely with local materials and solar power. “I have found more time for exercise, swimming, and catching up with an endless to-do list. I accepted an invitation to join the board of the Harvest Plus program, a joint effort of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. Harvest Plus seeks to improve nutrition and public health by breeding and promoting bio-

fortified varieties of staple crops grown by the poor—maize, wheat, beans, cassava, potatoes, rice, sorghum, and millet—that contain increased levels of the essential micronutrients often missing in the diets of the poorest people (notably iron, vitamin A and zinc), with a goal of reaching one billion people by 2030. I have also volunteered to work with a local NGO here in Jinja that trains smallholder farmers in improved crop production, storage, and marketing. Besides the house, travel, family, and friends, this should keep me busy for the next few years. “Benjamin, 27, is in his second year undertaking soil and crop research for the University of Minnesota while he pursues his PhD in soil science. He is settled in Minneapolis while dreaming of his own return to Africa when he completes his studies. “Daniel, 26, a human rights/refugee lawyer, began a new job in July 2015 in Cairo, working for the Refugee Legal Aid Program, assisting refugees from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia to secure formal refugee status in Egypt and, through UNHCR, assisting those who are eligible for third country resettlement. He is in the middle of the teeming global refugee migration and enjoying the challenges. “Lukas, 24, has just completed two and half years with the Mahindra Group, an Indian multi-national corporation, working on mergers and acquisitions. He is in the middle of applying for a new position in the financial field and hopes to stay in Mumbai for another few years. “Emma, 21, just completed her final year at Bates College in Maine, majoring in math and economics, and minoring in anthropology. She now has her own transition, and is beginning to apply for jobs.

incredibly busy with his studies in political science and economics, student government, serving as Resident Assistant in a dormitory for 38 first-year students, and as co-chair of the Afrika club. “The world is more inter-connected than ever before, and we watch with daily dismay the crisis and bloodletting in the Middle East and elsewhere, the xenophobia sweeping the western world, and the horrific statements of those running for the Republican nomination in the U.S. If only our world leaders could guide us to follow the precepts of peace and equality promoted by all of the global religions, rather than battle on in the name of one or the other. The idealism of many of the young generation gives me hope.


1972 Elizabeth S. Lasdon

1973 Tony Melchior

“We hope to see many of you for a visit in Uganda, once our house is complete. We will have a guest cottage on the edge of the Nile that will need visitors to make full use of it.”


We are saddened to report that John M. Matlaw passed away April 18. As his New York Times obituary stated, “John, you are much missed by so many who appreciated your gentle wit, insightful perspectives, and consistent kindness. Incessantly bemused by politics, culture, and life's daily ironies, he was predeceased by his sister Laura Murphy, father Myron, and mother Julia, for whom John cared throughout many difficult last years.”  Ken Davies ʼ70 is building a house and guest cottage on six acres of land in Uganda.

“And Johannes, 19, just finished his second year at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, near Benjamin, which allows them to get together for brunch most Sundays. He is


Congratulations to the Classes ending in 0's and 5's, who are celebrating their reunions in the 2015-2016 school year!





Donnamarie Barnes

Eve Reppen Rogers

Roger Sherman

1985 Allison Unger Brody

1975 Jonathan J. Beitler Lisa Turgell Friedland Jeffrey J. Russell

1976 Daniel Easton


1986 Sanford E. Cannold

1987 Karyn Boosin Leit

1988 Stacy J. Grossman


Be a QUAD Class Correspondent*

Allison R. Rouse



William McGowan

1979 Lori Tarnopol Moore

1980 Dana Swinsky Cantelmo

1981 Elizabeth A. Holoubek-Sebok

Jeffrey L. Korenman Achikam Yogev

1991 Stefanie Firtell Donath

1992 Laura J. Kleinman

Lisa Burge Swotes

1982 Meryl Poster meryl.poster@

1983 Eric Yamin 28 | QUAD SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Jeff Russell ’75 and Jonathan J. Beitler ’75 at the former handball courts at RCS. 

After a four-and-a-half-year tenure with President Obama and Secretary Clinton as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook is now a candidate for the 13th Congressional District. Larry Jarvik invites Riverdalians to get in touch when they come to DC. He stepped down as President of THIS for Diplomats (formerly “The Hospitality and Information Service”) in May 2015, and now blogs and works on a publishing venture, Penny-aPage Press, which has three titles on Amazon. He took up painting lately, and shows at the Arts Club of Washington’s Spilsbury Gallery. Larry also teaches English for the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), after 14 years in business communication at Johns Hopkins University (interspersed with gigs in Moscow and Tashkent, Uzbekistan). Larry says he’s writing another book, but we’ll believe it when we see it…he enjoys keeping up with Riverdalians on Facebook. He also passed along this press release for your interest: “Penny-a-Page Press (http:// has released Ken Moskowitz’s groundbreaking study of Bulgarian productions of American plays by Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, and Dale Wasserman, called Adaptation in Bulgaria. In April, Ken gave a standing-room-only talk, introduced by Ambassador Elena Poptodorova, at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington. Adaptation

in Bulgaria is available on Kindle or hard copy from and Ken’s embassy talk is on YouTube:”


Jeff Russell and Jonathan J. Beitler recently go together at the former handball courts at RCS (see photo below).


Riverdale extends condolences to Jocelyn Brandeis, whose father passed away last year on January 19, 2015. We are also sad to report that Barbara Bates, mother of Erica Bates Schietinger, passed away April 23. For more information, see the Class of 1957 section on page 25.


Congratulations to Jordan Davidson and his partner, Karen Fierst (Riverdale’s Director of Lower School Curriculum and Academic Programs), on the birth of their son, Emmet Parker Davidson, at 5:38 a.m. on May 19. Born in just five hours, Emmet weighed 6 lbs., 10 oz. “Auden has gracefully accepted her promotion to big sister,” according to Karen.

Big sister Auden with Emmet Parker Davidson, son of Jordan Davidson ’96 and partner Karen Fierst, Riverdale’s Director of Lower School Curriculum and Academic Programs. 

Classes ending in 1's and 6's will have their reunion in the 2016-2017 school year, beginning the weekend of October 21-23. Please save the date!



Congratulations to Marc and Jessica Shapiro-Weill on the birth of their daughter, Madeleine Goldie Shapiro-Weill, who was born at 7:09 a.m. on December 17, 2015. She weighed 5 lbs, 11 oz. at birth. Says Jessica, “She came a few weeks early but is a healthy, sleepy little thing! The whole family is doing great.”


Congratulations to Taylor Agisim and Anna Gilash, who were married on September 20, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia (see photo below). The pair met in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where they currently reside. Taylor works in the sports and entertainment industry, bringing the biggest international events to the Middle East. Anna is an oil and gas engineer working for Schlumberger. Gui Stampur, Associate Director of Legal Services for Safe Passage Project, has been working with Riverdale students over the past couple of years. Last year a group of seventh and eighth graders visited immigration court with Safe Passage’s team of lawyers, and on April 29th, 30 Riverdale Country School ninth graders visited Safe Passage to learn about the group’s work on behalf of immigrant children living in New York State. The full day symposium included full discussion of U.S. immigration law with Safe Passage attorneys, mock client asylum interviews, a breakdown of legal and social needs of Safe Passage clients, a presentation and full discussion by the Safe Passage social work team, and an immigration law “know your rights” presentation. Gui was back on the Hill Campus on June 25th for Safe Passage Field Day, where Safe Passage clients and friends enjoyed a day of soccer, games, and art projects.


Corbin Blackford and his wife Kristin celebrated the birth of their son, Henry Kellum Blackford, on April 3rd. Congratulations! The family currently resides in Houston.




Reva Minkoff got married on October 11, 2015 to Derek Lyttle. There were a lot of Riverdale alums involved with the wedding. She is still in Chicago, where she is the Founder and President of two companies: Digital4Startups Inc., a digital marketing consultancy, and DigitalGroundUp Inc., an award-winning interactive training platform that teaches people how to do digital marketing. So far this year, she was named to the Jewish United Fund’s “36 Under 36 List” and the Chicago Scholars “35 Under 35 Emerging Young Leaders Making an Impact” list. She was also selected to be a part of the first WiSTEM cohort at 1871.


Congratulations to Janelle Heslop, Senior Associate with Veolia North America’s Peer Performance Solutions team in New York City, who was named to the 2016 GreenBiz “30 under 30” list, which recognizes individuals to watch in sustainable (green) business. GreenBiz Group is the leading media and events group in corporate sustainability. Veolia is a leading supplier of environmental solutions; Janelle helps municipal water utilities identify cost savings and efficiencies by sharing best practices and global expertise.


George D. Creppy

Samantha A. Acunto

Alexis Higgins

Adam Brenner


Alex P. Horn

Danielle J. Englebardt

1995 Brittany Podell Levin


David Rausnitz

2002 Samara J. Fetto

Lara Englebardt Metz

Benjamin Z. Koblentz

Tim Morehouse



Adam R. Heller

John C. Kirkham

Ariel C. Schneider



Jessica Endelson Baum

Brandon Cohen

Catherine Silver Smith

Cristina E. Haley



Matt Balaban

2000 Lana Jacobs Edelman

Daniel A. Perelstein Amy R. Schneiderman

2006 Tracy Dansker Eric B. Nusbaum

Taylor Agisim ’00 and Anna Gilash at their September 2015 wedding in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Congratulations to the Classes ending in 0's and 5's, who are celebrating their reunions in the 2015-2016 school year!



2008 Michael Roberts Andrew J. Taub Zoe Zetlin-Fishbein

2009 Daisy Hackett Josh A. Howard Joshua S. Pearl Gracie Phillips Ashley M. Rainford Alyssa J. Smith Danielle Suchman

2010 Ethan Gracer Ali Kokot Michael Shelton

2011 Laura Berman


Jenny Rose Baker is currently on Broadway, playing Shprintze in Fiddler on the Roof. Middle and Upper School history teacher Jenny Eskin recently saw the show and met with Jenny Rose after the performance.


From Rebecca Gross: “I am currently in Malawi as a Global Health Corps fellow working at the Ministry of Health, and I’m also continuing to work on Student Driven Solutions. We are now at three schools and we just presented business materials to our first class of graduates so they can launch their businesses. It’s been very good.”


Hallie (Halloran) Garvey writes, “I thought the school would appreciate learning what I have done since graduating and how Riverdale has played an integral part in this journey. “I went to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where I studied international relations. I graduated in May 2015 with a BA in international relations and a minor in photography. “I have recently returned from Lesbos, Greece, where I volunteered with Boat Refugee Foundation, a refugee relief organization from the Netherlands. I applied to this organization because I wanted direct handson experience with refugees arriving from Turkey. I also knew that my years of experience on the water as a sailor and as captain of my college sailing team would provide some expertise. During my first few weeks on the island I primarily assisted on shore with refugee boat landings, taking shifts in the early hours of the day, scanning the horizon for boats and assisting as boats

landed. I also took night shifts on the rescue boat, patrolling. I learned that with humanitarian relief, work rarely stays the same from day-to-day, and after the Turkey-EU deal boat landings on Lesbos dropped dramatically. Many organizations pulled out but BRF remained because we had medical responsibilities. At that time I began to work in Camp Moria. My responsibilities included the transportation of families deemed vulnerable to a camp with better conditions. I was also “on call” in the camp for whatever medical or other assistance was needed. In the afternoons I often assisted families who were in a separate facility for individuals who had serious injuries. Within our organization I was assigned the responsibility of managing both the facilities, which BRF uses for accommodation of volunteers, and storage. “I think I am most moved by how humbling an experience it was. I met very intelligent people. I met young individuals who were not very different from me. I saw true hardship. These people opened up to me with their stories. They would look to me for answers that I did not have, nor could I find out. I learned to not make promises I could not keep. I provided as

IN MEMORIUM ALUMNI Joan Chesley Robinson ’45 Herbert “Burt” Kwouk ’49 Jack Ripperger ’51 Andy Stein ’61 Richard Baker Jennings ’61 Bill Anderson ’64 John M. Matlaw ’72

much help as the Greek officials allowed the organization. I realized the most profound thing I offered was respect, not belittling their hardship and acknowledging what a very uncertain future they were facing. “My time in Lesbos cemented the fact this is the field I want to pursue and I am currently channeling this experience into a career in refugee work. I will be heading to Oakland, CA, soon for an internship with International Rescue Committee and will be working with newly arrived refugees in this country. “I know I would not be the person I am today if not for Riverdale. Riverdale pushed and challenged me in ways I had never been pushed before. After my four years at Riverdale I walked away with a newfound resilience—a trust in my capabilities to go out and find my passion. While there is so much going on in the world that could make a recent college graduate pessimistic about the future, I see these challenges as opportunities. I thank Riverdale for giving me the determination to not stop pushing myself, to think critically, challenge everything, handle multiple setbacks, and never settle.”

Classes ending in 1's and 6's will have their reunion in the 2016-2017 school year, beginning the weekend of October 21-23. Please save the date!


Faculty and Staff News Congratulations to Middle & Upper School Counselor KC Cohen and her partner, Ben, on the birth of their daughter, Riley Jane Russell (see photo below), at 7:12 p.m. on December 2, 2015. “She came into the world at 5 lbs., 14 oz,, and 18 1/2”—a little, but very smiley ‘chicken’ (as we call her) right from the start,” according to KC. Riley is the daughter of two long distance runners; no doubt sheʼll be getting her first race in soon! Congratulations to Middle and Upper School history teacher Jessica Shapiro-Weill and her husband, Marc, on the birth of their daughter, Madeleine Goldie ShapiroWeill. She was born at 7:09 a.m. on December 17, 2015, weighing 5 lbs., 11 oz. at birth. Says Jessica, “She came a few weeks early but is a healthy, sleepy little thing! The whole family is doing great.” At 5:38 a.m. on May 19, Karen Fierst, Director of Lower School

Curriculum and Academic Programs, and partner Jordan Davidson ’96 welcomed a new addition to their family: son Emmet Parker Davidson. Born in just five hours, Emmet weighed 6 lbs., 10 oz. “Auden has gracefully accepted her promotion to big sister,” according to Karen. Congratulations to all! For a photo, see the 1996 Class Notes section on page 28. Congratulations to Systems Administrator Jeff Gomez, who welcomed his second child at 10:03 a.m. on January 9. Jacob Jeffrey Gomez (see photo below) weighed 6 lbs., 10 oz., and measured 19-3/4 inches at birth. Mom Yesenia and big sister Madison are thrilled with the new addition to the Gomez family. Thomas and Brigid Hein, Grade 3 co-teacher, welcomed Lily Kathleen into their family on April 27. Lily weighed 8 lbs., 8 oz., and measured 20-1/2 inches at birth. Congratulations!

Riley Jane Russell with her parents, Ben Russell and Middle & Upper School Counselor KC Cohen. 

Second grade teacher Rebecca (Cohen) Milstein and her husband Craig welcomed their second son, Luke Asher, on March 20th. He joins big brother Benjamin, who is two years old (see photo below). Congratulations to Assistant Director of Middle School Admission Alex Scott and her husband James on the birth of their daughter, Schuyler, at 3:57 a.m. on May 2nd. Weighing 5 lbs., 12 oz. and measuring 18-1/2 inches, “she is perfect,” Alex says. (see photo below) “We are smitten.” Longtime fencing coach Martin Schneider was featured in the February 9th edition of The Journal News, as well as on the website story/sports/2016/02/08/schneiderfoils-time-fencing-coach-85-andgoing-strong/79777402/.

Jacob Jeffrey Gomez, son of Systems Administrator Jeff Gomez. 


2013 Khari Dawkins George Niedermayer george.s.niedermayer.17@dartmouth. edu

2014 Travis Brady Saranya Vijayakumar

2015 Corey Morrison Robert Proner

2016 Christian Eggers Jake Fallek


 Second grade teacher Rebecca Cohen Milstein and her husband Craig with their two boys, Benjamin (left) and newborn Luke Asher.

 Schuyler Scott, daughter of Assistant Director of Middle School Admission Alex Scott and her husband James. WWW.RIVERDALE.EDU | 31

Board of Trustees 2016-2017 Gwen Adolph Terri D. Austin, Secretary Ellen Nachtigall Biben ’83 David Blitzer Tory Burch John Castle ’91 Liz Clyman ’97, AAEC President Kenneth Eberts Sandra Kim Hoffen ’83 Mark D. Hostetter ’77 John Kao ’68

Michael A. Karsch Betsy Kenny Lack Kass Lazerow Gary A. Lieberman Marc Lipschultz Daniel C. Lubin Cindy McKinney, PA President Thomas K. Montag Anand More John A. Neuwirth Kathleen M. Pike Dominic A.A. Randolph, Head of School

David N. Roberts ’80, Chair Allan V. Rose Daniel J. Rosen ’92, Vice Chair Dr. Susan Drossman Sokoloff Deborah Sonnenberg Jamie Alexander Tisch Stacey Weinstein David Westin, Vice Chair Kazumi Yanai

TRUSTEES EMERITI Michele R. Cohen Gandolfo V. DiBlasi Thomas C. Israel Jane Lisman Katz ’65 Peter M. Lehrer Linda Lewis Lindenbaum ’54 Dr. William C.W. Mow ’55 Harvey Schulweis David M. Silfen Robert A. Staub Thomas W. Strauss Jeffrey N. Vinik ’77 Ada G. Zambetti Richard S. Zinman

Alumni Association Executive Committee 2016-2017 Samantha Acunto ’01 Lily Adler ’10 George Anagnos ’76 Rebecca Levy Anikstein ’99 Harrie Bakst ’03 Jessica Endelson Baum ’98 Amanda Rubin Blankman ’82 Liz Clyman ’97, President Stefanie Firtell Donath ’91 Edem Dzubey ’07


Tara Pfeifer Englander ’93 Danielle J. Englebardt ’94 Joseph Goldschmid ’04 Paul Goldschmid ’96 Susan Golkin ’85 Betsy Fields Hayes ’86 Michelle Kirschtein Jacobs ’81 Christopher Kelly ’02 David F. Lahm ’58 Laurence B. Lederer ’91 Tiffany Austin Liston ’94

John Low ’90 Lorraine Mahony, Faculty Representative Anthony Melchior ’73 Lara Englebardt-Metz ’96 Philip R. Michael ’00 Shary Moalemzadeh ’89 Ron Murison, Faculty Representative Omari Ramarez ’05 Amelia Levin Relles ’87

Michael Roberts ’08 Carolyn Braun Rosen ’92 Daniel J. Rosen ’92 Peter R. Rosenblatt ’50 Alison Ginsberg Shefter ’89 Jessica Elghanayan Shell ’95, Vice President Roger Sherman ’74 Jonathan Shifke ’06 Abigail Spiegel Sroka ’99 Elizabeth Heyman Winter ’99


Will Bellaimey Will Bellaimey joined Riverdale in the fall of 2012. He currently teaches Middle and Upper School history, is a sixth grade homebase teacher, and is the advisor to both the Middle School Model Government team and the Middle School Debate Club. He holds a B.A. in political science from Middlebury College and a Masters’s in Education from Lesley University. When he isn’t teaching, Will occasionally performs improv in NYC, listens to many NPR podcasts, and seeks out spiritual experiences through meditation, Shakespeare, and the music of Prince.

Why did you choose to become a history teacher? My two dream jobs growing up were camp counselor and President of the United States. This is the closest I could find to doing both at the same time. At Middlebury, I spent half of my time studying geopolitics and constitutional law and the other half doing improv with the Otter Nonsense Players. I use both of those skills every day at Riverdale. What's it like to teach at Riverdale? A colleague recently said that being at Riverdale is like living inside of an Aaron Sorkin show: A group of brilliant people speedwalking through the halls and in and out of classrooms, having fast-paced conversations that mysteriously keep circling back to the most important issues of our time. So, it’s equal parts exciting and exhausting and inspiring every day. That’s not the show everyone would want to be on, but I have a lot of fun at work and I feel that my work matters. Not a lot of people get to say both of those things. We think a lot about the future of education at Riverdale. What's your vision for the future of history instruction for Middle and Upper chool students? In a world where specific facts are at our fingertips, we’re not going to need to spend as much time memorizing information. Instead, we will be able to focus on creating meaningful experiences that force students to think and use what they know in dynamic and creative ways. Kurt Hahn, the experiential education theorist who founded Outward Bound, designed the first high ropes courses to give novice sailors the chance to experience challenge and

learn how to face their fears in a safe environment. I think school should serve the same purpose: creating a space where students can test their abilities and take serious risks but with the safety net of a community that cares about their growth more than results. That’s what I hope that we are building here at Riverdale. I have become particularly interested in teaching using simulations, with students taking on the role of people in complicated systems and situations in which they have to make decisions where the stakes for their performance would be much higher than what grade they are going to get. The seventh grade civics curriculum that Mike Sclafani and I redesigned two years ago is built around six simulations, each of which lasts around two weeks. Students spend time learning how the legislative branch works in a traditional way, by reading and taking notes and asking questions. But then they apply it by taking on the role of U.S. Senators and working to pass their bills in committees and on the Senate floor. They demonstrate their understanding of the content and practice negotiation, public speaking, and writing, in a context in which their relevance is clear. And simulations engage us emotionally in a way that makes the content stick. I don’t want my kids to memorize the word filibuster for a quiz tomorrow. I want them to be reading the newspaper ten years from now and shake their heads and say, “Ugh, I remember what it felt like when my bill got filibustered.”

Riverdale Country School 5250 Fieldston Road Bronx, New York 10471-2999


Thank You to everyone who gave to the Annual Fund during the 2015-16 school year.

There are as many reasons to give as there are students at Riverdale. Donations to the Riverdale Annual Fund have an immediate impact on today’s students, from enhanced technology in the classroom to financial aid awards. Your support also provides meaningful professional development opportunities and allows us to attract and retain talented faculty and staff. No matter the size, Annual Fund gifts help to reinforce the commitment of the entire Riverdale community. Thank you again to all Annual Fund supporters. Our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. If you have questions about volunteering your time or making a gift to the Annual Fund, please call Marie Capasso, Annual Giving Manager, at 718-519-2723.

Quad Spring/Summer 2016  

Twice-yearly magazine for alumni, parents, and friends of Riverdale Country School.