Ranney School Head of School Dr. John Griffith has announced several impressive new educators that will be joining the dedicated and passionate Ranney faculty this year.
Mr. Amin Babar will be joining the Middle School and Upper School faculty as well as the Technology team. He will also be teaching Upper School Robotics and some STEAM-oriented classes in the Middle School. Mr. Babar earned his Bachelors in computer science from Hamilton College. “Amin is an exciting addition to our faculty and staff,” said Head of Upper School Dr. Greg Martin. “He is dedicated to paving the path for others.” Mr. Babar founded an organization called Yes Education to help students from all over Pakistan access quality education in Islamabad.
Mr. Tom Brinkerhoff, who has been published in peer-reviewed articles and presented at six National Conferences, will be joining the Upper School History Department. Mr. Brinkerhoff earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Lafayette College before earning his Masters at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, Geo L. Harrison Fellowship, Phyllis Rackin Fellowship, Dean’s Award for Research and New Media, Latin American Studies Research Grant, and History Department Research Grant. “We are very excited about Tom joining us,” said Dr. Martin. “He is a true student of teaching and pedagogy and just started an educational doctorate program at Vanderbilt.”
After 20 years at Raney School Mrs. Lilly Torrente has announced her retirement. Mrs. Torrente was inducted in Cum Laude in 2019, earned the Faculty Fellowship in 2012 and received the Faculty Panther Prize in 2009. Upon Mrs. Torrente’s retirement, Mr. Todd Christopher will join the Performing Arts Department. A former opera singer, Mr. Christopher has been teaching Performing Arts at Middle and Upper Schools for 18 years. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from The Ohio State University with a focus on Vocal/Choral, and his Masters from Northern Arizona University in Vocal Performance. Most recently, he was the Choral Director and Assistant Theater Director at Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, Ohio, where he was Choral Director, Acting and Vocal Coach, Director of the Theatrical Technical Crew, as well as the Musical and Technical Director for the Upper School play and musical and Middle School musical. “With Todd’s incredible experience, he will be able to come in and make an impact on our Performing Arts Department immediately,” said Dr. Martin.
Joining the Technology Department, Mr. David Forman has 12 years of experience at private schools in New Jersey. He spent 10 years as Systems and Network Manager at the Peck School in Morristown and was most recently a Systems and Technology Specialist at Oratory Prep in Summit. “Aside from his extensive knowledge of campus systems, network, server and computer hardware/software, David’s educational experience has shown him the paramount importance of technology and how it’s implemented in an educational environment,” said Dr. Martin.
Mr. Jonathan Goodson joins Ranney’s Middle School Humanities faculty after teaching at Ciji Primary School in Zhejiang, China as part of a partnership with Ranney School. He has also mentored Middle School students at the Young Quakers Community Center in Philadelphia, and was part of Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, where he authored research regarding communications challenges. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is the recipient of the Army War College Foundation Scholarship Grand Prize and Honorary Credential for Textbook Interpretation and Teacher Design from Cixi Education Bureau. At UPenn, Mr. Goodson was a varsity athlete as well as member of the Glee Club and A Cappella group. “Jonathan brings with him invaluable experience with Middle School students that will really help transform our Humanities curriculum,” said Mr. David Ketcham, Head of the Middle School. “His charismatic personality will make him an instant favorite among our students.”
Ms. Angelina Howard will be joining Ranney School as Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator, Middle School Dean, and part of the Upper School Psychology faculty. After earning a BA in Psychology from Providence College and a Masters in Social Work from Simmons College, she worked as the school counselor at Princeton’s Stuart Country Day School’s Middle and Upper Schools, while working for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Ms. Howard has attended, participated, and facilitated multiple workshops and conferences focused around diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We are excited about all of the energy and knowledge that Angelina is bringing to these new roles and look forward to working with her on these very important efforts,” said Dr. Martin.
Not a new face around Ranney’s campus, Ms. Chelsea Kucharski will join Ranney as an Upper School science teacher after serving as the Ranney Middle School girls’ lacrosse coach for the past two years, as well as a long-term maternity leave substitute for Upper School geometry. She studied Marine Biology at Coast Carolina University and Stockton University. “We are excited to have Chelsea return to campus after making such a positive impact on our students,” said Dr. Martin. “It will be an easy transition to welcome her back and we look forward to her continuing her great rapport with our students.”
Ms. Rachel Lasda will teach Upper School science, coming to Ranney from Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, NJ, where she taught a variety of classes, including AP Biology and Honors Biology. She graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and minored in Spanish. Ms. Lasda, who has also been an EMT for the last three years, will also serve as the Upper School girls’ lacrosse coach. “Rachel has a great deal of experience with Independent Schools and sees the value in a student-first approach, prioritizing student relationships in a classroom,” said Dr. Martin.
Ms. Amanda Penecale will be teaching in the Visual Arts Department. After earning her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Ms. Penecale earned her Masters of Education and Teaching Certificate from Arcadia University. She has a great deal of teaching experience in both Middle School and Upper School, and will be the Middle School girls’ basketball coach. “Amanda is an incredible talent in the arts and will be a great asset to our Fine Arts Department,” said Dr. Martin.
Mr. Daniel Shaw will be teaching Upper School computer science. Mr. Shaw graduated with a double major in Computer Science and Spanish from Wake Forest University. He has most recently served as computer science teacher at Hackley School in New York and he will be entering his first season as the varsity girls’ soccer assistant coach at Ranney. “Daniel attended an independent school himself, and is looking forward to teaching computer science at Ranney as well as coaching in our Athletics Department,” said Dr. Martin. “He is a multifaceted, Renaissance person.”
Ranney also celebrates the retirement of Mrs. Barb Bongiovanni, who began at Ranney in 1986. In her 34 years with the Panthers, “Mrs. B” was inducted into the Athletic (Alumni) Hall of Fame in 2016, and received the Carol Pressley Award in 2004.
“Our passionate and caring faculty members are what make Ranney such a special place for the students, and we are grateful to be adding teachers and roles that can further our mission and culture in all the right ways,” said Head of School Dr. John Griffith.