Commons Series: Eggheads, Experts, & Elites!
Mr. Becker was a truly incredible teacher with a passion for his subject, and he shared his passion for chemistry with his students during each and every class. He pushed students to do their best and he worked hard to make sure they succeeded in his class. Whether it was re-working a homework problem, explaining labs, or helping students outside of class, Mr. Becker was always there to lend a hand.
His enthusiasm for chemistry was infectious, and it energized the class. He was also constantly innovating. During one lab, we produced an unknown gas, and he lit a match and stuck it in the test tube so that we could determine what it was. It was this kind of experience that made his class engaging. Mr. Becker had a love of learning, teaching, and his subject that made him an incredible teacher. I am so lucky to have been in his AP Chem class this year, and I wish him luck as he moves on to new and exciting opportunities.
—Frances Dickinson ‘23
Len Wilcox retired after 47 years of service at The Harley School. He held various roles including Upper School math teacher and computer science teacher. As head of the computer program, he helped Harley become one of the first schools in the area to introduce computers to the classroom.
Len said he will miss working with students, as well as the camaraderie he shared with his colleagues.
Larry Frye: “With the retirement of Len Wilcox, [we are] losing an invaluable member of our faculty who has truly made a difference in the lives of so many Harley students. On behalf of the entire school community, we wish Len all the best in his retirement. While we will miss his presence in our school, the impact he made during his time as an educator will continue on through every student he taught.”
Click here to see a piece written by Alex DeSantis
Kristin Sheradin: Bill Schara is a rock star in the Upper School who mastered how to make learning both meaningful and fun. Students idolized him because of his “magic” in the classroom, and here are two of the reasons why:
Being Passionate! Bill cared deeply about what he taught, and this made the students care, too. Through questioning, students actually felt the importance of what he was teaching — whether it was the injustices of capitalism or the Cold War.
Being Provocative! Using a technique, I fondly named “The Schara Hook,” Bill would open a lesson, such as one on Marxism, with a provocative question like, “How many of you know how to properly skin a squirrel?” (It involves starting from the back end, by the way.)
He loved throwing out a line (to keep the fishing metaphor going) and seeking the angle that would capture teens’ minds. He’d lure students into pretty much any topic — and they’d become “hooked” and want to know more.
His passion in the classroom was always inspiring, and his impact on so many students will be carried with them no matter what their futures hold.
Kim McDowell: “A lifelong teacher, Bill has taught first grade all the way through college. He began at Harley in Middle School in 1997 before migrating to Upper School. Bill insists that "He couldn't have asked for a better job," citing his appreciation for Harley's academic freedom and its people. Although he has taught history and social studies courses, ranging from World Revolutions to Food & Society, US Government to Philosophy & Ethics, Bill's favorite course has been "whatever kids are engaged in."
He’s looking forward to a retirement that feels as if "every day is Saturday” and plans to spend plenty of time fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, and visiting his grandchildren. As Bill transitions from inspiring teacher to student of nature, I wish him plenty of dry campsites, memorable vistas, and hungry fish.
He’s looking forward to a retirement that feels as if "every day is Saturday” and plans to spend plenty of time fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, and visiting his grandchildren. As Bill transitions from inspiring teacher to student of nature, I wish him plenty of dry campsites, memorable vistas, and hungry fish.”
Victor Ortiz joined the Maintenance Staff in 1982. As an evening maintenance crew member over 28 years, Victor left his mark with his quiet and friendly manner. He found humor in those every day, little things and always had a kind word to share with others.
Victor brought his lunch with him, usually leftovers that this mother made or chicken wings from the local convenience store, but on days when the dining hall cooked up some of his favorites, he would show his appreciation by eating both. We will miss his kind words, his friendly greetings, and his chuckle.
Mike Buck: “Victor was always a team player and would help out anyone and everyone who needed it.”
In December, Nita Goronkin retired after 23 years at The Harley School. Nita was in charge of human resources as the administrator and also accounts receivable. Her compassion and thoughtfulness for others was evident every day in her work. She listened to the concerns of faculty, staff, and Harley families, and spent the time to really get to know them on an individual level.
As an integral part of the finance team, Nita would constantly debate the right way to develop and administer policy with CFO, Ken Motsenbocker. Their discussions and attention to detail while developing employee policy were always respectful to the individuals while maintaining the integrity of the school.
Nita tirelessly advocated for her peers and made sure their voices were heard and that everyone was treated equally. She is greatly missed, but we are so happy for her as she takes this next step in her journey.
In 2008, Ken Motsenbocker joined Harley as Chief Financial Officer — just as the country went into the recession. His work helped create the strong and solid financial footing we have today. His work reviewing and negotiating contracts and paying off the school’s debt have made a lasting difference.
Ken helped manage many capital projects, such as: The Commons, an overhaul of our HVAC system, and everything from permits to contractors for the Peckham Wellness Center. He helped renegotiate our Industrial Development Agency Bonds and refinance them with a new bank at a more favorable rate, saving us a great deal every year.
What we will miss most about Ken is his dry wit, lavender-scented treats from his farm, and his banjo playing. In retirement, he looks forward to spending more time with his wife Connie, their 11 grandchildren, and his goats.
Larry Frye: “It is rare to find a CFO who so fully embraces the mission of a school, but that is Ken. From crunching numbers with the business folk on the Board Finance Committee to overseeing — and enthusiastically participating in — Lower School recess, Ken has truly done it all at Harley. He is a happy, curious, and playful person; and all the while he has helped oversee great educational and financial success for Harley.”
Tony Cinquino taught at Harley since 1979, and before that worked at the Rochester Psychiatric Center (1973 to 1978) with children from ages 4–16. He helped children and parents by developing behavior modification programs.
Tony began teaching in the Primary (then for K, 1st, and 2nd graders) and has been solidly planted in Grade 2 for a good long while. In 1981, he was awarded the Richard Wilson Teaching Endowment for a course in Children's Literature. In the 80s and 90s, he created and ran a summer computer camp, as well as an adult computer workshop.
He has served as coordinator for Grades 2 to 4 numerous times, and has served on many committees. He is also the mastermind behind the Second Grade Overnight, Creek Walk, and the Twoville Post Office.
Pam Kimmet (past head of LS): “You are the model of a master teacher,” and “Tony Cinquino is a self-renewing, dedicated teacher. His tremendous good humor and thoughtful ways enhance the affective climate in our division.”
Terry Smith: “One can't imagine a Harley where Tony isn't demonstrating how to catch elusive crayfish, hosting the Halloween Parade after party with jokes and puns, dressing up as a pirate, or promoting the Estimation Jar and math packets. But, we also can't imagine Tony not fully embracing his retirement and new role as Grandpa! We wish Tony the best in his grand adventures ahead! His influence can be seen in all aspects of the Lower School, and his spirit and attitude permeate the entire school. We will miss him deeply as a colleague, but we all know that he will still be involved in the school as a friend from his position of freedom.”
Dr. Deborah A. Abowitz '77 Jeffrey Alexis and Christine Hay Mr. Laurent Alpert and Ms. Johanna Fend Alpert '64 James '74 and Cecilia Alsina Mr. and Mrs. Chad Anderson Ms. Emily Andrews '10 Ms. Sarah Andrews '12 Anonymous (7) Ms. Beth Bailey and Ms. Melissa McHenry Ms. Christine Baker Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund Jim and Carol Barclay Mr. Chris Becker Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Beer Dr. Eric L. Bell Charlene Berry Dr. and Mrs. Heath Boice-Pardee Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Bowley Mr. Christopher Brand Ms. Whitney Brice Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Briggs Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Briggs Ms. Valerie R. Bronte '99 Mr. Ryan Brush and Mrs. Melissa Fujimoto-Brooks Paul J. Burgo '97 Ms. Susan Bush and Dr. Marianne Taylor Ms. Patricia Butler Mr. Seth Button '97 Martha Cameron '81 Ms. Sarah E. Chambers Drs. Mitchell A. Chess and Patricia R. Chess Kerry C. Cho '88 Mr. James Chung '89 Mr. John Clark and Dr. Nancy Shafer-Clark Patricia Corcoran Mr. Samuel Crabb and Dr. Glynis Scott Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Dagen '51 Mr and Mrs. William Dalton John D'Amanda '75 and Kathy Durfee D'Amanda '76 Ms. MaryLynn Dandrea and Mr. Stephen Kupferschmid Stewart D. Davis The DeNatale Family Sarah Dengler '75 Beth DeWeese '75 Mr. and Mrs. Trevor DiMarco Mr. Michael Discenza and Dr. Jacque Trama-Discenza Dr. Gregory DobsonDr. Zhiyao Duan and Ms. Yunping Shao Mr. Nathaniel G. Duckles '04
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AM - In Person
Grades: 2 to 4
Create fun, one-of-a-kind fiber art projects in this weaving camp! Students will build looms from various objects such as sticks, embroidery hoops, and cardboard. Campers will learn to express themselves creatively through fiber while creating multiple pieces. AMY BRAND
PM - In Person
Grades: 5 to 8
Campers will create leaf prints on rocks, press flowers into clay, make pine cone bird feeders and so much more! We will spend the week exploring our surroundings and making things with the objects we find. AMY BRAND
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