Ranney School Head of School Dr. John Griffith announced an impressive group of new faculty who will be joining the dedicated and passionate Ranney faculty this year. As the school has grown, and especially in areas like STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), Ranney has had the opportunity to expand its faculty.
Dr. Gwen Bleckner and Mr. Andy Corwin will be joining the Upper School science faculty. Dr. Bleckner will have a primary focus on chemistry. She has worked as a scientific advisor and US patent agent, as well as a Research Assistant, and most recently taught chemistry at the Princeton International School of Math and Science. She was a Postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University and an Assistant Professor at Penn State University. “Gwen’s wide range of experience will give our students wonderful insight into all of the aspects of science, far beyond what can be seen in a text book,” said Dr. Greg Martin, Head of the Upper School.
Mr. Corwin has been a member of the science faculty at Northfield Mount Hermon School for the last nine years and prior to that, worked at The Winchendon School. He earned his B.S. in Engineering Physics from The Ohio State University, and has been a key member of the department in developing engineering and STEAM courses, including physics and astronomy. “Andy and his family are a wonderful addition to the Ranney community,” said Martin. “He joins us at a great time, with the continuing expansion of our STEAM programs, and will certainly help to elevate the offerings even further.”
Mrs. Christina Daly and Mrs. Lauren Corwin will join the Visual Arts Department. Mrs. Daly has over 15 years of experience as an art teacher, and comes to Ranney from G.H. Carson Elementary. Mrs. Daly also runs a Summer Art Workshop and serves as a Senior Graphic Design Portfolio Review Panelist for Rider University. “Christina’s excitement about art - both creating it as well as studying the history - will make an immediate impact on the students in Ranney’s art department,” said Martin.
Following a long career at Northfield Mount Hermon School, where she served as the Visual Arts Department Chair, Mrs. Corwin will be joining the visual arts faculty. A practicing artist who received her Bachelor of the Fine Arts, Painting, cum laude, from Maryland Institute College of Art, Mrs. Corwin received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware. She is married to Andy Corwin, who is joining our science department. “Lauren seeks to inspire students in the art room, engaging with them as a practitioner and mentoring them as a person,” said Martin. “Her warm personality and encouraging nature will be a great asset to the students.”
Dr. John Schneider will join the Upper School English Department. After earning a B.A. in English and History from Rutgers University and an M.A. and PH.D., both in English, from Penn State University, Dr. Schneider has taught at both the college and high school levels. Dr. Schneider has taught at Penn State and, most recently, was at STEM Civics Charter School teaching English and Writing & Composition. “John’s teaching experience fits well with the academic rigor at Ranney,” said Martin. “His focus on student creativity and critical thinking fits well with our creative English Department.”
Mr. Chris Buckley will join the Middle School Math Department and Mr. Matthew Behrman will join the Middle School Humanities team. Mr. Buckley has both industry and teaching experience, having taught mathematics at Nightingale Bamford School, as well as Delbarton School. He graduated from Bates College and earned his Master of Business and Administration at Purdue University. “Chris has a knack for engaging students and developing intriguing and interactive lesson plans,” said Ketcham. “He will create an environment of fun and curiosity for the students.”
Mr. Behrman has almost 20 years of teaching experience. Most recently, he worked at Mark Day School in San Rafael, California, but prior to that, he taught in the United Kingdom, where he developed public speaking programs and performance opportunities around theater. Having grown up in Monmouth County, Matt is a talented actor himself, who has continued to do regular Shakespeare productions in the Bay area. “Matt is passionate about what he teaches, and that translates easily into excitement for the students,” said Ketcham. “He will bring a lot of energy to the department and commitment to the students.”
Teaching both Middle and Upper School Computer Science and Robotics will be Ranney alumni Mr. John DeNicola. One of the active participants in the Ranney program, John will also help coach the robotics team. Mr. DeNicola graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with Honors. His senior capstone research accessibility design for vision impaired users in games and interactive media. He worked on developing a narrative game in Unity with accessibility for users with imparied vision, and he is excited about returning to his alma mater. “John was a star when he was at Ranney,” said Ketcham, “and he will help to revitalize the program following the pandemic.”
Mr. Douglas Bornhoeft will be a sixth grade Humanities teacher and other duties in both the Middle and Upper Schools. Mr. Bornhoeft was Dr. Carol Palermo’s long-term leave replacement in the Middle School last year. Mr. Bornhoeft earned both BA and MA degrees from Monmouth University in English, with concentrations in creative writing. He has been an adjunct professor at Monmouth University and also worked with child achievement and the food pantry at the CYMCA of Greater Monmouth County. Additionally, he has three published pieces. “Doug has creative and engaging lessons rooted in discussion and collaboration,” said Ketcham. “The sixth grade students will unlock their own creativity with his guidance and support.”
Dr. Josefina Moneny will be part of the Middle School World Languages Department, teaching Spanish. Dr. Moneny has a PhD in Spanish and an MA in Spanish Literature from the University of Houston. She taught at Moravian Academy in Pennsylvania and prior to that was a Spanish Lecturer/Instructor at the University of Houston. She has also taught at the St. Paul School in New Hampshire and in the Houston Independent School District. “We are excited at the level of expertise Josefina will add to our already impressive World Languages Department,” said Ketcham. “She is conversational in five languages and has taught in many different environments, leading her to be an incredible asset for our students.”
Dr. Pam Long is the new Lower School Head. To view the full release, please click here
Ms. Jamie McGuire joins the Lower School as a Pre-K teacher. With over 20 years in public and private school settings, she most recently worked at Conover Road Elementary School for the last 13 years. Prior to that, she taught in Far Hills and before that in Brooklyn. Ms. McGuire has also worked on a variety of committees including curriculum development, Strategic Planning, and admissions. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the New School and a Master’s Degree from Bank Street College of Education.
Mrs. Alison Le Vine Pugsley will serve as the Lower and Middle School counselor. Mrs. Pugsley earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Richmond, Master of Science in Sport Psychology in University of Tennessee, and is currently finishing her Master of Arts in School Counseling. Mrs. Pugsley has previously worked most recently as Director of Athletics, most recently at Trinity Hall and before that at Hewitt school. Following a life-long interest in counseling and work at many schools on student support teams, she is excited about transitioning to a counseling role. She has been an Academic Advisor at Fordham University, Mental Conditioning Coach and Consultant at IMG Academy, and an Educational Specialist at the University of Tennessee, as well as a member of the Shore Conference’s Diversity Committee.
Ms. Lori Marrone will join the Lower School as a Computer Science/Robotics faculty member. Ms. Marrone has worked in the industry for Storage Technologies, Deutsche Bank, and Citibank. She has also worked closely with Rumson Country Day School and Tower Hill Presbyterian Church in volunteer capacities. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Business Administration and Computer Science and is excited about working with our youngest learners and introducing them to robotics and technology.
Mrs. Iris Yusi Wu will be the new Coordinator of International Student Programs. A native Mandarin speaker, Ms. Wu has eight years of experience in teaching and designing curricula to meet the needs of Mandarin programs. She will be helping to reinforce English skills and teaching Mandarin simultaneously. Ranney hosts a number of strong international students a year, and she will be their mentor, working from the point of admissions and as an advisor and support to them and their parents at home. “Iris is adaptable, focusing on the individual needs of each student while continuing to engage the full class,” said Dr. Griffith. “At her previous schools, Iris has blazed her own trail to grow each program and has connected with her students throughout.”
Mr. Ron Crocker, known by most of our community as Coach Crocker, Ranney’s Cross Country and Track coach, will also be the DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) Coordinator. While Coach Crocker has been involved with track and field for over 45 years, he also worked for Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) for 32 years, retiring in May 2021. In his previous role with JCP&L, he was an External Affairs Consultant, serving as a point of contact for legislative, county, and municipal officials. He managed and built on relationships between municipal officials and the company. Mr. Crocker was also a lead member of one of JCP&L’s employee business resource groups (EBRG). EBRGs were established around a common dimension of diversity and to provide employees and their allies with networking, mentoring, coaching, recruiting, and individual development. Mr. Crocker received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Hampton University. He has worked in many capacities in the sport of track & field but truly loves to coach, seeing coaching as a way to pay if forward. Sharing his life’s experience with his athletes and helping them become a better version of themselves has been a distinct pleasure for him as a multi-season coach at Ranney.
Ms. Dana Matassino and Ms. Adrianne Greth will both become Deans of College Counseling, with Ms. Lauren Alizio moving full-time to Associate Dean of College Counseling after dual duties in that area and admissions. Ms. Gwyneth Hecht has been named Dean of Enrollment Management, and Mr. Greg Swenson will join Ranney as the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management, having served at the Gunn School, a boarding school. After growing up in Connecticut, Mr. Swenson attended Drew University, where he was a three-sport varsity athlete and team captain. In addition to his admission work, Mr. Swenson has been the prototypical “triple threat” at Gunn, teaching and coaching, as well as serving in the boarding program. “We are excited to bring a talented admissions professional like Greg,” said Griffith, “who easily develops a rapport with prospective students and families.”
Mr. Jake Ruch is joining Ranney both as a PE teacher and Strength & Conditioning coach for varsity athletes. While earning a degree in Exercise Science from East Stroudsburg University, Ruch was a member of the PSAC Champion baseball team. Ruch worked at Reach Your Potential Training Inc. (RYPT) as Director of Sports Performance. He was also elected Vice President of New Jersey Weightlifting, and was hired as Head Coach of the Rutgers Weightlifting Club team. Jake will be complementing our Lower and Middle School PE program, and helping to train student-athletes. “Jake will be an invaluable PE teacher for our youngest students and will also help to train our athletes to be competitive and conditioned not only for Ranney but for life after,” said Director of Athletics Natalie Gorman.
Mr. Art Cosentino is now Director of Security, after serving as Security Officer at Ranney for a year and a half. Mr. Cosentino brings over 45 years of safety and security experience to Ranney School. A member of the Borough of West Long Branch Police Department, he started as a Patrolman and worked his way through the ranks of Detective Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Chief of Police (2006-2013). Upon retiring from West Long Branch PD, Mr. Cosentino spent five years as a Division Security Supervisor at MetLife Stadium.
We are proud to announce that Ms. Eileen McEnery will be chairing the Physical Education and Health department. Ms. McEnery has served Ranney School for many years as both a coach and physical education teacher and has worked with students and families in all three divisions, giving her a great perspective on the overall arc of the programs.
Mr. John Propper will be taking over the duties of chairing the performing arts department after a long and successful run by Dr. Dorothy Sobieksi. We are grateful for Dorothy's passionate leadership of the department. She expanded the program through excellence in teaching and programming and kept a very high bar for student success. Dr. Sobieski was also instrumental in creatively managing arguably the most challenging teaching issue during the pandemic--how to keep our students active despite numerous restrictions against singing, playing wind instruments, and gathering in large groups. We welcome Mr. Propper who will be taking on this role after the rotation of the position in the department. Like Dr. Sobieski, Mr. Propper has been a pied piper, drawing more and more students into his successful band program.
With the retirement of Ms. Kate Greenberg, we rotated the department chair in the visual arts department as well and are excited to announce that Mrs. Marilyn Casey will be taking over the reins of the department. Ms. Casey has served multiple divisions at the school and has been a positive force for change in the visual arts department. While we will miss Ms. Greenberg, we are excited about Mrs. Casey's leadership of the department for the coming years.
Finally, we are proud to announce that we are creating a new department focused on the teaching of technology curricula, especially robotics, computer science, and engineering. Mrs. Tara Hodson
will be chairing this new department as she has experience teaching in these areas and has been a wonderful proponent of interdisciplinary work in these and other fields. As the world around us changes, we feel it is critical to adapt to the changing world where technology plays a larger and larger role in our daily lives and provides great opportunities for students to prepare for future study in college and careers in these fields.