Ranney School Head of School Dr. John Griffith has 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. “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 impaired 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.”
Dr. Pam Long will be taking over as the Lower School Head. To view the full release, please click here
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.”
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.