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Retirements

Marilyn Fenster

by Kim Bednarcyk, P ’04
Nursery Teacher

Marilyn Fenster taught in P2 for five years, then left to work as a career counselor. However, the allure of Harley called her back—she spent the next 33 years doing what she loved most, for a grand total of 37.

I watched Marilyn model how to be a master teacher and embody all the attributes we expect in a Harley graduate. She spent most of her career in Primary B, then became a learning specialist. She was dedicated to every student she taught and maintains relationships with many of them to this day. It didn’t matter to her if they were at the top of the class or needed support, Marilyn would move mountains for them.

Marilyn is the ultimate student herself. She devoured books that helped her to learn new ways of teaching, and there wasn’t a workshop she wouldn’t attend. 

She served on more committees than I can count and was happy to tour alumni or usher for Commencement. Marilyn taught for years in the Horizons at Harley program and concluded her teaching career as an instructor in the Harley@Home remote program. 

In my opinion, Marilyn IS Harley!

Sandy Foster, P ’19, ’19

by Kim McDowell
Head of Upper School

Having joined the Harley faculty in 1997, history department stalwart Sandy Foster departed after 25 years at Harley. An Americanist at heart, Sandy has taught an array of courses that have included Dissent in the U.S., Industrial America, American Popular Culture, and AP United States History.

In keeping with independent school tradition, Sandy’s interests span many academic and extracurricular disciplines. He has been a member of the bass section of both Choir and Vocal Chords, ably assisting long-time Harley Music Department Chair Ben Burroughs with both ensembles. For years, Sandy coached HAC cross- country teams to both growth and success. In addition to running, Mr. Foster has been the anchor of Harley’s highly decorated forensics teams. Throughout his tenure, Upper School students have annually qualified for national competitions. Travel to these tournaments has long been funded by proceeds raised from Foster’s beloved “Forensics Friday” with home-cooked breakfasts sold to hordes of hungry Upper Schoolers.

Nancy Lindquist

by Terry Smith
Head of Lower School

Nancy has been a strong and positive influence at Harley for 39 years, always placing the student experience at the center of her joyful work.  

Nancy began her time at Harley coordinating the Extended Day program, directed Day Camp under Bob Joslyn, worked in the Lower School library and Grade 2 for a few years, and spent the majority of her career in the 4-year-old Nursery program (Nursery Blue). She was instrumental in the historical fight for fair pay for equal work between genders and teachers at all levels, resulting in the equitable step scale we now use when hiring.  

In short, it’s hard to imagine Harley without Nancy, but her lasting legacy will be felt even when she is no longer here on a daily basis.

Ken Motsenbocker

by Larry Frye
Head of School

When Ken Motsenbocker retired, a group of trustees banded together to raise money for a cause they knew would mean a great deal to him. This effort came to be informally known as “Ten for Ken,” with the hope of raising $100,000 to endow a First Line Initiative scholarship in Ken’s name. I remember loving the idea and the affectionate energy behind this effort, but also thought to myself it was going to be tough to reach this goal. I had seen this sort of effort fizzle in the past. 

I was wrong. People came out of the woodwork wanting to honor Ken in this way, knowing of his enormous contributions to Harley and his commitment to making a Harley education accessible for all children. There is now a First Line Initiative scholarship in honor of Ken. 

Ken earned this respect and affection during his roughly 13 years at Harley in lots of different ways. First and foremost, he and others oversaw the strongest financial period in the school’s history, consistently running balanced budgets while also upgrading and expanding our facilities, paying down long-term debt, and overseeing the growth of the school’s endowment. But, just as importantly, while he exercised that financial acumen on Harley’s behalf, he always kept the students at the center of his thinking. Ken would happily advocate for spending if it was for the students’ benefit. 

His team-first sense of joy and fun made Ken a wonderful colleague—we all picture him, not so much wearing a tie at a Finance Committee meeting, but with his sleeves rolled up in the school’s kitchen or helping out on the Lower School playground. Here’s to more time in kitchens and on playgrounds for our old friend, Ken Motsenbocker.

Cheryl Skiba, P ’08

by Kirsten Allen Reader ’90
Director of Enrollment
& Financial Aid

Cheryl joined Harley in 1984 on Grandparents’ Day and left in May of 2022 to be a grandparent and caregiver to her beautiful new grandson, Alexander.   

Cheryl began as the Admissions Assistant as well as the Registrar for the entire school. The woman she replaced was already gone, so she learned the ropes from none other than our very own Ruth Ewell. In the 38 years Cheryl has been at Harley, she has worked with eight Directors of Admissions/Enrollment, and twice (when we were between Directors) she did the entire job by herself. 

First impressions in life are incredibly important, and what a great impression we were able to give with Cheryl representing us. She has spoken to every family we have had the honor to educate. In those years, she completed 18,205 enrollments and re-enrollments. 

Needless to say, Harley has benefited greatly from her hard work, positive attitude, impeccable grammar skills, dedication to precise data, and strong work ethic. Cheryl has a wonderful sense of humor, is graceful and kind, and exhibits exquisite accuracy. She is an accomplished needlepoint artist as well as baker. She is loved by many, and she has been incredibly valuable to me in the past few years.

Sue “Trixie” Vaccaro
by Vicki Pasternak
Director of Dining Services

Sue (“Trixie”) Vaccaro retired after working at Harley for 16 years. She began her career developing our extensive salad bar, helping with special events, working in the dishroom, and pitching in with a wide variety of duties, including as a painter for maintenance during back-to-school preparation.

Her dedication, strong work ethic, and creativity were an asset to the lunch program. She always had a ready smile for students and faculty/staff alike. Sue turned our menu board into an amazing piece of artistry every day. She tantalized our palates over the years with her culinary skills, including from-scratch soups and other delicious dishes. She was never afraid to jump in and try a new recipe, hoping it would be well received by the community! 

Sue’s greatest joy is her family: her husband Frank, her sons and daughters, as well as her grandchildren (including two recent arrivals) of whom she is very proud. 

She will be missed!

Marilyn Fenster

by Kim Bednarcyk, P ’04
Nursery Teacher

Marilyn Fenster taught in P2 for five years, then left to work as a career counselor. However, the allure of Harley called her back—she spent the next 33 years doing what she loved most, for a grand total of 37.

I watched Marilyn model how to be a master teacher and embody all the attributes we expect in a Harley graduate. She spent most of her career in Primary B, then became a learning specialist. She was dedicated to every student she taught and maintains relationships with many of them to this day. It didn’t matter to her if they were at the top of the class or needed support, Marilyn would move mountains for them.

Marilyn is the ultimate student herself. She devoured books that helped her to learn new ways of teaching, and there wasn’t a workshop she wouldn’t attend. 

She served on more committees than I can count and was happy to tour alumni or usher for Commencement. Marilyn taught for years in the Horizons at Harley program and concluded her teaching career as an instructor in the Harley@Home remote program. 

In my opinion, Marilyn IS Harley!

Having joined the Harley faculty in 1997, history department stalwart Sandy Foster departed after 25 years at Harley. An Americanist at heart, Sandy has taught an array of courses that have included Dissent in the U.S., Industrial America, American Popular Culture, and AP United States History.

In keeping with independent school tradition, Sandy’s interests span many academic and extracurricular disciplines. He has been a member of the bass section of both Choir and Vocal Chords, ably assisting long-time Harley Music Department Chair Ben Burroughs with both ensembles. For years, Sandy coached HAC cross- country teams to both growth and success. In addition to running, Mr. Foster has been the anchor of Harley’s highly decorated forensics teams. Throughout his tenure, Upper School students have annually qualified for national competitions. Travel to these tournaments has long been funded by proceeds raised from Foster’s beloved “Forensics Friday” with home-cooked breakfasts sold to hordes of hungry Upper Schoolers.

Sandy Foster, P ’19, ’19

by Kim McDowell
Head of Upper School

Nancy Lindquist

by Terry Smith
Head of Lower School

Nancy has been a strong and positive influence at Harley for 39 years, always placing the student experience at the center of her joyful work.  

Nancy began her time at Harley coordinating the Extended Day program, directed Day Camp under Bob Joslyn, worked in the Lower School library and Grade 2 for a few years, and spent the majority of her career in the 4-year-old Nursery program (Nursery Blue). She was instrumental in the historical fight for fair pay for equal work between genders and teachers at all levels, resulting in the equitable step scale we now use when hiring.  

In short, it’s hard to imagine Harley without Nancy, but her lasting legacy will be felt even when she is no longer here on a daily basis.

When Ken Motsenbocker retired, a group of trustees banded together to raise money for a cause they knew would mean a great deal to him. This effort came to be informally known as “Ten for Ken,” with the hope of raising $100,000 to endow a First Line Initiative scholarship in Ken’s name. I remember loving the idea and the affectionate energy behind this effort, but also thought to myself it was going to be tough to reach this goal. I had seen this sort of effort fizzle in the past. 

I was wrong. People came out of the woodwork wanting to honor Ken in this way, knowing of his enormous contributions to Harley and his commitment to making a Harley education accessible for all children. There is now a First Line Initiative scholarship in honor of Ken. 

Ken earned this respect and affection during his roughly 13 years at Harley in lots of different ways. First and foremost, he and others oversaw the strongest financial period in the school’s history, consistently running balanced budgets while also upgrading and expanding our facilities, paying down long-term debt, and overseeing the growth of the school’s endowment. But, just as importantly, while he exercised that financial acumen on Harley’s behalf, he always kept the students at the center of his thinking. Ken would happily advocate for spending if it was for the students’ benefit. 

His team-first sense of joy and fun made Ken a wonderful colleague—we all picture him, not so much wearing a tie at a Finance Committee meeting, but with his sleeves rolled up in the school’s kitchen or helping out on the Lower School playground. Here’s to more time in kitchens and on playgrounds for our old friend, Ken Motsenbocker.

Ken Motsenbocker

by Larry Frye
Head of School

Cheryl Skiba, P ’08

by Kirsten Allen Reader ’90
Director of Enrollment
& Financial Aid

Cheryl joined Harley in 1984 on Grandparents’ Day and left in May of 2022 to be a grandparent and caregiver to her beautiful new grandson, Alexander.   

Cheryl began as the Admissions Assistant as well as the Registrar for the entire school. The woman she replaced was already gone, so she learned the ropes from none other than our very own Ruth Ewell. In the 38 years Cheryl has been at Harley, she has worked with eight Directors of Admissions/Enrollment, and twice (when we were between Directors) she did the entire job by herself. 

First impressions in life are incredibly important, and what a great impression we were able to give with Cheryl representing us. She has spoken to every family we have had the honor to educate. In those years, she completed 18,205 enrollments and re-enrollments. 

Needless to say, Harley has benefited greatly from her hard work, positive attitude, impeccable grammar skills, dedication to precise data, and strong work ethic. Cheryl has a wonderful sense of humor, is graceful and kind, and exhibits exquisite accuracy. She is an accomplished needlepoint artist as well as baker. She is loved by many, and she has been incredibly valuable to me in the past few years.

Sue (“Trixie”) Vaccaro retired after working at Harley for 16 years. She began her career developing our extensive salad bar, helping with special events, working in the dishroom, and pitching in with a wide variety of duties, including as a painter for maintenance during back-to-school preparation.

Her dedication, strong work ethic, and creativity were an asset to the lunch program. She always had a ready smile for students and faculty/staff alike. Sue turned our menu board into an amazing piece of artistry every day. She tantalized our palates over the years with her culinary skills, including from-scratch soups and other delicious dishes. She was never afraid to jump in and try a new recipe, hoping it would be well received by the community! 

Sue’s greatest joy is her family: her husband Frank, her sons and daughters, as well as her grandchildren (including two recent arrivals) of whom she is very proud. 

She will be missed!

Sue “Trixie” Vaccaro
by Vicki Pasternak
Director of Dining Services

and we bid a fond farewell to:

Whitney Brice

by Larry Frye
Head of School

Last Spring, Whitney Brice, after five years as Director of Development at Harley, transitioned out of that important role in order to spend more time caring for her aging parents.

Whitney has a ton to be proud of in her tenure at Harley. During her time as director of development, the school launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in our history, exceeding the goal by an amazing 40 percent. She had a key role in the creation and funding of the faculty endowment; the beautiful new spaces at school (Moore/Brown Center for Creative Media, Winslow Natural Playground & Outdoor Learning Center, and the Peckham Wellness Center); and the First Line Initiative and the Hardship Fund. She grew the Harley Fund by some 40 percent (aiming for 50 percent this year). We at Harley have told ourselves a story for years, one where we say, “We aren’t good at raising money.” Harley needed a new story, and Whitney has played a key role in that change in our school’s culture. Personally, Whitney helped me understand this (then new-to-me) part of being a Head of School, and I am grateful for her guidance and good teaching. We are thankful for all that Whitney has done for Harley and wish her all the best.

Jocie Kopfman ’09
by Kim McDowell
Head of Upper School
A proud alumna from the Harley Class of 2009, Jocie went on to earn degrees from the College of Wooster and the University of Rochester. Her work has focused on many facets of civil rights, equity, and fairness. As such, Jocie’s integrity and passion is without rival.  

Although technically assigned to the Upper School, Jocie has successfully straddled the bridge between the Middle and Upper Schools throughout her time at Harley. Under the broad title of “commons educator,” Jocie’s role has evolved to include capstone programming in both divisions, as well as Health 10 and Grade 9 “Rights and Responsibilities.” This latter course, with its local advocacy component, has become a cornerstone of the Upper School experience. In addition to teaching, advising, and coaching, Jocie has taken leadership roles on both the board-level and on internal DEI committees; moreover, she has been a mentor to the Upper School student council. Always, Jocie has been eager to collaborate with team teaching.  

We will miss Jocie’s principled approach and her fearless voice as she begins graduate school.

Lars Kuelling, P ’18, ’20

by Larry Frye
Head of School

Lars Kuelling, Harley’s Academic Dean and then Assistant Head of School, has assumed the position of Head of School at the Ojai Valley School in beautiful Ojai, California. Lars has been an important contributor to our school community for the past six years.

He helped strengthen Harley’s approach to student mental health and wellness; promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion work; bolstered faculty voice and leadership; headed a self-study and accreditation process; and shepherded us through some difficult changes such as remote learning, a return to school during Covid-19, and even the “merger-not-merger.”

Lars has been a source of great insight and perspective, and his experience and quick mind have helped us tackle many of the challenges that have come our way. He helped turn those challenges into something that we all, together, could manage. 

Lars has much to be proud of in his time at 1981 Clover Street, and he and his wonderful family—
Sadie
(a member of the class of 2021), Aiden, Tate, and Patty—should always think of Harley as home.

Peter Mancuso
by Larry Frye
Head of School

What a contribution Peter has made to our community and to the HAC family! After 24 years at Harley, 20 of those as Athletic Director (AD), Peter has balanced coaching varsity sports (swimming and baseball) and teaching physical education classes with the responsibilities of AD. At least one HAC team has won a sectional title in every one of Peter’s years as Athletic Director, and HAC has won 10 NYSPHSAA School of Distinction Awards. Peter also helped add boys’ and girls’ bowling and girls’ golf to the HAC program.

Outside of Harley, Peter served on the Section V executive council as the chair of Finger Lakes Golf and Baseball and as Section V’s Class D swimming and diving chair. Just last year, Peter was a member of Section V’s Athletic Council and served as the vice-president of the Finger Lakes Athletic Association.

As a teacher and coach, Peter loves the underdog. He is moved when student-athletes who have been struggling find their stride, or when perseverance pays off, even in small victories. Peter always values academic and personal growth over athletic prowess or the win-loss record, putting the education of the child first. Peter, of course, will always be a dear friend to Harley and HAC, and for that we are grateful.

Kim McDowell
by Larry Frye
Head of School

This summer, Kim McDowell made the decision to resign from her post as Upper School Head. Kim came to Harley some 20 years ago to teach English; when I came just a few years later, Kim was already part of the bedrock of the Upper School. Over time, Kim became chair of the English department, then director of college counseling, and finally Head of the Upper School. She is adored by her colleagues and universally respected at the school. 

Excellent teacher, exceptional athlete, gorgeous writer, terrific administrator, devoted cat mom, Kim has been a wonderful member of the Harley community. As Head of the Upper School, she led the faculty and students through the pandemic—from going remote to reentry to the living-with-Covid period—all with grace, empathy and intelligence. Students and teachers alike felt supported and known by Kim, and that made the wonderful innovations in the Upper School—from student capstones to the climate-change curriculum to the new advising program—all possible. 

Kim has been and remains a wonderful friend to Harley and to each of us as individuals; she’ll be truly missed.

Joe Reid

After two decades of excellent work at Harley as the Director of Information Technology, Joe has moved on to a new job at Google. He helped transform Harley from a very small operation into a school where a significant number of students are in a 1:1 program, where there is tech literally everywhere in the building, and where technology has helped us become better as a school.

Maria Sommerville, P ’19
by Larry Frye
Head of School
After nine years at Harley, Executive Assistant to the Head of School Maria Sommerville has taken a new position at the Highlands at Pittsford, where she will serve as the Director of Community Outreach and Marketing. 

Maria followed her wonderful daughter Rory ’19 (now a law student in Scotland) to Harley and had the great pleasure of seeing Rory go through the school. Maria served as a wonderful ambassador for Harley and has supported both me and my predecessor, Ward Ghory, while also carrying on exemplary somewhat behind-the-scenes work in supporting Harley’s board of trustees, work which requires tact and confidentiality, organizational strength, and an understanding of the bylaws and policies of the board. Maria has organized orientations, supported the accreditation and strategic planning processes, helped shepherd our safety improvements, led the annual calendar process, and much more. 

Maria has also taken on lots of special projects that needed a leader or home. We wouldn’t have our gorgeous courtyard without her initiative and taste; she also oversaw our first iteration of the parent portal and played a crucial role in our response to the pandemic. (I can’t help but think that she probably has nightmares about our “Testapaloozas”!)

We will miss Maria, but she is ready for her Next Big Thing! Always a part of our community; I know you’ll join me in wishing her the best at The Highlands.

David Youngblut

David taught Grade 3 at Harley for six years and also led the faculty mentor program. He is moving in a different (though not completely unrelated) career direction with a local company specializing in educational software design.

Letter from the Head of School

Letter from the Editor

Features

Central Work that Matters: DEI

Harley Black Alumni Network

Climate Crisis Curriculum

Citizen Scientists

Joy Moss: Storytelling Roots

In Every Issue

Class Notes

Diane Donniger Award

By the Numbers

From the Archives

What’s (Who’s) New at Harley

Divisional Highlights

Alumni Profile: Vandebroek

Alumni Profiles: Keller

HAC Athletics

2021 Lives of Great Purpose Awards

1000 Words

Commencement 2022

Reunion 2022

In Memoriam

Retirements and Fond Farewells

Letter from the Head of School

Letter from the Editor

Features

Central Work that Matters

Affinity Group Forms

Climate Crisis Curriculum

Citizen Scientists

Joy Moss: Storytelling Roots

In Every Issue

Class Notes

Diane Donniger Award

By the Numbers

From the Archives

What’s (Who’s) New at Harley

Divisional Highlights

Alumni Profile: Vandebroek

Alumni Profiles: Keller

HAC Athletics

2021 Lives of Great Purpose Awards

1000 Words

Commencement 2022

Reunion 2022

In Memoriam

Retirements and Fond Farewells