By Anjola Olawoye (IV)
This fall, Pingry welcomed Mr. Sean Petrie, who joined the facilities team as a groundskeeper.
Before Pingry, Mr. Petrie worked at Prestige Plumbing and RW Smith Landscaping. He was also involved in ice hockey, playing in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Youngstown Phantoms. Mr. Petrie hopes to make a positive impact on Pingry this school year. Welcome to Pingry, Mr. Petrie!
By Allen Wu (V)
This year, Pingry welcomes Ms. Sky Monroe to the English Department. She will be teaching English 9 and 10 as a maternity leave replacement for Ms. Mahida till February. After Ms. Mahida comes back from her maternity leave, Ms. Monroe will stay at Pingry as a permanent humanities substitute.
Ms. Monroe attended Barnard College, where she earned her B.A., and later received her M.A. in Teaching English from the Columbia University Teachers College. Prior to joining Pingry, Ms. Monroe taught at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, and later taught AP/Honors English to sophomores and juniors at Bernards High School for 14 years.
When asked about her motivations for becoming a teacher, Ms. Monroe explained that she started off as a yoga teacher as a side job while she worked on her theater career. Later on, she was inspired to become an English teacher when she realized she could combine two of her passions: teaching and literature.
So far, Ms. Monroe has enjoyed her time at Pingry. “In making a shift from a long term position that I have had, it was something that I thought about very deeply. However, I am extremely glad that I came to Pingry.” Ms. Monroe credits her love for Pingry to the welcoming atmosphere of the community. She also enjoys the time that she spends with her colleagues and students, and the intellectual diversity that can be found in Pingry’s classrooms. As we move further into the school year, Ms. Monroe hopes to contribute to the Pingry community as much as she can.
Outside of school, Ms. Monroe continues to participate in theater. Ms. Monroe also has two daughters whom she loves spending time with. In addition, she is passionate about health and enjoys teaching fitness.
By Allen Wu (V)
This year, Pingry welcomes Ms. Erin Boccher to the Operations Department. She will be primarily involved in the School as an operations officer and substitute teacher, but she will also serve as the Assistant Coach for the girls’ varsity basketball team.
Ms. Boccher attended Rutgers University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in exercise physiology. She then got a Masters of Science in athletic training from Seton Hall.
Before joining Pingry, Ms. Boccher taught at a few other independent schools in New Jersey. At Mount Saint Mary’s Academy, she worked as an athletic trainer and the Assistant Athletic Director. She then went on to work as the Athletic Director at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth.
When asked about her motivations for becoming a teacher, Ms. Boccher said that she specifically enjoys working at private independent schools. She especially likes being a part of the communities they create. “I love how the students get involved in so many different things from clubs to sports to the arts. I think there is something special about independent schools.”
So far, Ms. Boccher has had an enjoyable experience at Pingry. She explains that Pingry has been very supportive of her, which has been especially helpful with the ongoing pandemic. Ms. Boccher says that she hopes to continue to adapt to the changing circumstances, all the while learning from and helping the community in any way she can.
Outside of school, Ms. Boccher likes to exercise, by taking outdoor walks or going to the gym. She also enjoys cooking healthy meals in her free time.
By Keira Chen (III)
This year, Mr. Weber joins the Lower School faculty as a fifth grade Social Studies and homeroom teacher. He received an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Computer Information Systems from Colorado State University and went on to pursue his Master’s Degree in General Education for Grades 1-6 at the Bank Street College of Education. Before coming to Pingry, Mr. Weber worked in technology and as an associate teacher at several schools in New York. Mr. Weber said he’d always thought of teaching as “an interest of [his], but [he] hadn’t thought of it as a career.” Then, one summer, Mr. Weber volunteered at a farm in California, where he tutored kids at a nearby school. The experience made him realize the possibility of pursuing teaching as a career. Mr. Weber taught English in South America before landing a job in New York City.
Mr. Weber loves Pingry so far. He appreciates how he can always ask questions and how supportive the community is. His goal for the year is to make the most engaging and educational lessons for his students, whether that would be remote or in-person so that they can learn and have fun.
Mr. Weber is a self-proclaimed foodie, and he loves trying new restaurants. Besides that, he also enjoys traveling, reading, and meditation. For Mr. Weber, reflective time is crucial, and getting away from the busyness of every day can help.
Although he joined Pingry in a year of uncertainty, Mr. Weber is grateful to be able to teach relatively normally in the current situation. “I really appreciate the effort that Pingry has put into the COVID safety because I recognize how much happier I am being in school and being in-person,” he said. “I hope that we can be in school as much as possible for the rest of the school year as long as it’s safe.”
By Kate Marine (III)
Ms. Lisa Longo Johnston joined the Pingry community this fall as a new member of the Upper School English Department. She is teaching English 9, as well as senior electives Ethical Dilemma and Shakespeare.
In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and her master’s from Rutgers University, Ms. Johnston has had almost 15 years of teaching experience in a wealth of different subjects, including History, Communication, and Political Science. Most recently, Ms. Johnston worked as the Assistant Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Since coming to Pingry in the fall, Ms. Johnston has had a very positive experience with both the school and its community of students and faculty. From the autonomous academic spirit of students to the Honor Code, she has consistently admired the community’s “common commitment to the advancement of authentic, purposeful learning,” as well as the students’ “fearless embracement of course topics and willingness to think critically about the world around them.”
In her classes this year, Ms. Johnston aims to help her students “realize their potential in a way that promotes their long-term love of learning,” but with a renewed emphasis on joy and connection during these emotionally-trying circumstances. Ms. Johnston is incredibly grateful for such a warm and energetic welcome to The Pingry School, and she is looking forward to what her years here will bring.
By Andrew Wong (V)
This year, Pingry welcomes Ms. Bailey Farrell, who will be teaching Chemistry I and Chemistry II. Ms. Farrell received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Stanford University and her Master’s in Teaching from Fordham University. She has also participated in Teach for America at a Bronx charter school for three years, and taught chemistry at the Ransom Everglades School in Miami. Most recently, she worked for the Educational Testing Service (ETS), where she helped develop the AP Chemistry exam.
When asked about what she looks forward to at Pingry, Ms. Farrell said she is excited about the opportunities for growth that the school provides. She explained, “In the few short months I’ve been here, I’ve already worked on new ways of teaching old concepts, incorporated new technology, and tended to bees with Ms. Tandon––it’s incredible. I love the feeling of getting to explore new things in my job, and Pingry makes that possible.” Ms. Farrell also remarked how the consistent level of dedication from both her colleagues and her students creates an energy at Pingry, and that, in turn, encourages her to try her best.
The Pingry community is extremely excited to have Ms. Farrell this year, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for her. Welcome to Pingry, Ms. Farrell!
By Zoe Wang (V)
Pingry welcomed Dr. Pamela Longo in January, 2020; as a result, she was able to settle into the community before online learning took place and has “ridden the wave of the COVID experience.” Dr. Longo has loved her time at Pingry and especially enjoys working with her students and fellow faculty members. She commented on how she appreciates “how welcoming everyone has been to me over the last several months, despite all of the uncertainty at home.”
Dr. Longo is a member of the Upper School English Department, where she is currently teaching English 10, American Literature, and Contemporary Short Story. In addition to teaching English, Dr. Longo is a co-advisor to the Christian Affinity Group.
Dr. Longo attended Drew University as an undergraduate, where she received a B.A. in English. She then continued her education at the University of Connecticut, where she obtained a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies. Before coming to Pingry, Dr. Longo taught English at the secondary and college level.
Coming from a family of teachers, Dr. Longo was inspired to follow their lead and start teaching herself; she saw the influence her mother had on students and wanted to have an impact as well.
Dr. Longo wishes to share her love of learning with her students and hopes that they gain an appreciation for the power of literature. She believes that “literature has value for us by grounding us and giving us a sense of our common humanity.”
In her free time, Dr. Longo loves to read anything she can get her hands on. She also continues to academically write and enjoys playing the piano.
Welcome to Pingry, Dr. Longo!
By Sarah Kloss (V)
This fall, the Lower School Faculty welcomed Dr. James Watts as a K-3 music teacher. Dr. Watts received a B.S. in Education from Western Illinois University, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Kean University, and a Doctor of Arts in Educational Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Watts began his career as a music teacher before deciding to become a school administrator. He has worked as a school administrator both in the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
When asked what inspired him to become a music teacher, Dr. Watts responded that teaching has always been his passion, and he is happy to share his love of music with his students. When he learned about the position to become a music teacher at Pingry, Dr. Watts was excited to apply. He’s now thrilled to be a part of a vibrant educational community.
Dr. Watts has really enjoyed working with Pingry students and has planned many interesting activities to enhance music education for the Lower Schoolers. At Pingry, he hopes to model, encourage, and expose all students to the life-changing joys of music. In addition to teaching K-3 music, Dr. Watts will teach private piano lessons after school. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Watts loves to read, listen to music, play golf, and spend time with his family. Welcome Dr. Watts!
By Sarah Kloss (V)
This school year, Ms. Mojda Walker joins the Lower School as a fourth grade Social Studies teacher. She earned a B.A. in Child Psychology from Alfred University and a M.S. in Education from Pace University. Ms. Walker loved working with children early on, and always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Once she started her Teaching Fellow Program in New York City, she “knew [that she] was on the right path.”
Ms. Walker started teaching fifteen years ago, and has taught in both the United States and internationally. She first taught at P.S. 138 in Brooklyn, later moving to the UAE to teach sixth grade English and Social Studies. She then moved to Switzerland and taught fourth grade at the Zurich International School, before returning to the United States to teach at the United Nations International School. Later, she took time off to train as an occupational therapist, but soon missed the classroom and moved to Qatar to teach fifth grade girls. Upon getting married, she returned to the States yet again as a Teaching Assistant at Saddle River Day School. When a position teaching fourth grade opened at Pingry, she was very excited to take on the opportunity.
Ms. Walker loves Pingry because of the students’ work ethic. Her goal for this year is to create a curriculum that can enrich both remote and in-class students. She loves being part of the Pingry community and hopes that she can incorporate her international experiences into her teaching. In her free time, Ms. Walker loves to exercise, listen to Audible, and spend time with her family. Welcome to Pingry, Ms. Walker!
By Kyra Li (V) This year, Mr. Carl Frye joins Pingry as the Assistant Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs; she will facilitate programs such as before and aftercare, the Big Blue Summer organization, and enrichment activities in the Lower School. Additionally, Mr. Frye is a coach for the Varsity and Middle School football teams.
Before coming to Pingry, Mr. Frye received his business degree from Regina Salve University, where he also played on their football team as the running back. Through playing sports, Mr. Frye realized his passion and love for working with children. After graduating, he managed youth sports organizations for 15 years; in 2007, he founded DownTown Giants Youth Sports, an organization based in Manhattan. Before coming to Pingry, Mr. Frye was also the Westlake Football Academy President in Austin, Texas.
Although this is his first official year at Pingry, Mr. Frye was first hired as a resident coach a year ago by Director of Athletics and Community Wellness Ms. Carter Abbott, and he coached three different sports. He discovered Pingry through a referral he received from another Pingry alumnus and former faculty member. He served as a substitute, as the Big Blue Summer Camp Director, and finally, started his role as Assistant Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs.
In his free time, Mr. Frye enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, Myla, and having barbecues.
When asked about his experience at Pingry thus far, he said that he has “absolutely loved Pingry.” He “found that the community has welcomed [him] with open arms,” and he has made many great friends. For this upcoming school year, his goals include helping the football team complete the season with a winning record, contributing to the Pingry environment, and helping rent out the school facilities.