Ann Hirsch in the bright and newly painted hall of Christ’s Church Nursery School

New CCNS Director Steps Right into Role

By Robin Jovanovich

What does Ann Hirsch love about her new job as Director of Christ’s Church Nursery School? Everything, from the moment she met members of the search committee, all past and present parents, this spring to last week when she was helping arrange the new furniture and reviewing upcoming projects.

“It’s nice to do something you love,” said Hirsch, who comes to Rye with 25 years in the field of education, the last 19 at Landmark Preschool in Redding, Conn. She taught elementary, middle, and high school classes before discovering that preschool was where her heart was.

The Christ’s Church Nursery School board held a coffee for her in June, giving her the opportunity to meet the staff before they scattered for the summer. “There is tremendous energy and passion here. Everyone here wants to take the children on a journey,” she noted.

Having stepped into the position July 1, Hirsch has had time to learn — about what the nursery school does really well. She’s not looking to make any major changes. “My job is to make sure we continue to appreciate each child individually and model the right things to do. The kids are here to learn life skills, including taking care of one another.”

She’s already thinking ahead to the Separation Workshop they’re holding before the first day of school; Back to School Night, which is on a Friday night so it’s social as well; and the Touch-a-Truck Fall Fair in October.

All of the class presidents have reached out to her, and she describes everyone who works or volunteers at the school as “happy, competent, and committed

She isn’t worried about fitting into the community. “I’d only been here four days when I was invited to the Rye Arts Center by Meg Rodriguez. And I enjoyed the Sidewalk Sale, especially meeting the people at Carpet Trends.” What she knows is that “Rye is going to be a wonderful place to be.”

Hirsch, who has a Bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in Journalism, as well as a Master’s in English Education, positively beamed when we said that we expected polished press releases at the paper starting this fall.

On her nightstand at the home in Goldens Bridge, a 30-minute commute, is “Hillbilly Elegy,” which she just finished and loved. “News of the World” is her next read, but it may have to wait. She and her husband, who met in college and married when he was in law school, have to get their 20-year-old son off to his junior year at Boston University. And they’re hoping to see their 24-year-old son, who lives and works in Washington, D.C. before summer’s end.

Meanwhile, Hirsch, who enjoys taking care of adults too, is a New York EMT and president of her local Ambulance Corps, so some bell is always ringing.

Established in 1928, Resurrection is a Parish-based Pre-K through Grade 8 Catholic school dedicated to developing a love of learning, nurturing spirituality, and guiding each student to make intelligent and responsible choices.

The administrators and faculty are looking forward to getting back to school and working to implement the theme of the 2017-2018 academic year chosen by the National Catholic Educational Association: Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed.

New and returning students and families will be pleased to find:

 *   New computers in the Grammar School and Middle School Labs

 *   New wiring and servers for faster and more accurate connectivity

 *   New textbooks for 7th and 8th Grade Math that are Common Core-compliant 

 *   On-line textbooks, iPads, and SmartBoards 

 *   Elective courses for junior high students

 *   Archdiocese and Discovery Education, which involves the use of Techbooks in math and science classes.

 *   Open grade books will be available on-line to all parents this year.

The first day of school for grades 1-8 is September 7. The opening liturgy for the school year will take place September 15 at 9 a.m. The PTO is planning a Back to School Ice Cream Social for that day, too.

By Sophia Cetina

There’s summer camp, and then there is pre-college camp, which is what I was fortunate enough to participate in earlier this summer.

As a person who loves writing, mental challenges, and air conditioning, being accepted into the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop was better than discovering $50 in my wallet.

For two weeks I was immersed in a writer’s haven in the rolling hills of Gambier, Ohio, at Kenyon College. Gambier is a nine-hour drive from Rye, and, as was noted in my 13-person Kenyon workshop, it can be defined in three words: “Cornfields and cows.”

But these two weeks exceeded my expectations. I did, however wonder whether this was the college environment for me. Would I prefer a more urban setting? Would I be happy this far from home?

In addition to the social experiences and recreational itineraries, pre-college summer programs provide the valuable opportunity to explore a college campus, focus on a field of personal interest, meet students from all over the country, and live in a dorm away from home, a pre-curser to college life.

Another reason to participate in a pre-college program is that they provide great depth on a subject. At Kenyon, we were immersed in workshops five hours a day. We read a variety of poetry, from Bob Hicok (1960- ) to Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). Every day we were also given a prompt and once the teacher yelled, “Go,” we had 30 minutes to carve out worthy prose.

While I learned more deeply about a field I’m considering pursuing, I also experienced the social advantages these programs provide. I enhanced my own perspectives while meeting people whose lives are very different from my own. My roommate was from Seattle, and I now have friends in L.A. and Taiwan. Late-night chats with my roommate, a swimming excursion at the college’s athletic center, planned activities, group activities, free time, sightseeing, and fast friendships all lightened the long workday. I went on walks and explored Kenyon’s picturesque, medieval layout. I found out that this college was considered as the Harry Potter filming site because of Pierce, the bewitchingly beautiful dining center that resembles Hogwart’s Great Hall.

When I returned, I was enriched with memories, information, and the soul-soothing nature of a vacation experienced in rich, 24-hour cycles.  

My advice to other high school students: Explore the summer college programs out there. Find a topic that interests you, a part of the country you’d like to see, a college you might be considering. You could be a Google search away from the summer of your dreams. This summer, Kaitlyn Zion, a Rye High school senior, attended Marymount Manhattan Musical Theater summer intensive. She says, “It was amazing. I learned so much.” Greta Filor, a Rye High junior, enjoyed three weeks of government and politics at Georgetown in July. Of her experience, she says, “It was interesting to meet people from so many different backgrounds.”

While enjoying a program that indulges your interests and allows you to meet others who share those interests, you just might find the college best suited for life after Rye High School. I discovered that my experience offered inspiration, laughs with friends, writerly frustration (and progress!), many memories, and two weeks that passed by in a second.

An online search will help you find the program right for you. Start by going directly to the sites of colleges you’re interested in, or log on to

Founded by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in

1904, School of the Holy Child is a Catholic, independent, college-preparatory school for young women in grades 5-12.

Holy Child has a longstanding history of academic excellence that encourages students to become young women of “conscience and action.” Accomplished and dedicated faculty members foster the spiritual development, individual talents, and interests of each student. This is realized through rigorous and comprehensive academic, arts, athletics, and service learning programs. The school also offers signature programs dedicated to global studies, Italian cultural studies, and engineering and design.

Graduates are prepared for the innovative and critical thought necessary in a diverse, interconnected society. Graduates include National Merit Scholarship winners and commended students who matriculate at a broad range of colleges and universities, including the nation’s most selective institutions.

Admission to Holy Child is selective and based on prior academic records, standardized test results, recommendations, a personal interview, and school visit.

School of the Holy Child

2225 Westchester Avenue, Rye


Year founded: 1904

Head of School: Melissa Dan, Ed.S.

Enrollment: 315

Diversity: 25% of students self-identified as people of color

Faculty: 82

Student/Teacher Ratio: 7:1

Average Class Size: 14

Open House: Saturday, October 14, 1-4

Cedar Street, Rye


Year founded: 1869

Headmaster: Scott Nelson

Grades Pre-K-12

Enrollment: 896

Tuition: $25,700-$41,900

Financial Aid: Rye Country Day provides $5.5 million in need-based financial aid to 16% of the student body. This year they are supporting 141 students.

The Rye Country Day School campus was a busy place this summer with a variety of programs, as well as two major construction projects.

The School held its Mini-Camps and Wildcat Camp sports programs. In June, many faculty and staff participated in the annual Digital Wave program, a series of technology workshops taught by faculty colleagues. Several members of the faculty led a one-week Ethics in the Media Seminar for Upper School students. The six-week Summer School focused mainly on accelerated math courses, while continuing to offer driver’s education classes. On a different part of the campus, Rye Country Day hosted Academic ACTION, an academic enrichment program for 75 middle-school students from several public schools in Westchester and the Bronx. Just prior to preseason, the Upper School will conduct its annual Leadership Retreat for all team captains, elected officers, and club leaders.

The School launched two new off-campus student programs in June: The Public Purpose Office, in conjunction with The World Leadership School, offered a one-week trip to El Paso, Texas, where students studied various aspects of the immigration issue. The Classics Department, through the Padeia Institute, launched the School’s first Global Studies program, which involved a ten-day trip to Sicily.

While facilities were somewhat limited due to construction, the School still managed to support several non-school programs on its campus. In June, the Rye YMCA held its annual counselor training sessions, and Rye Youth Soccer offered an evening summer soccer clinic. In July, PlaySmart Academy offered a one-week program on academics and sports for underserved middle schoolers. Also New-York City-based Prep for Prep held its annual summer outing, involving 150 students, on campus.

The two campus construction projects currently underway include a new, 23,000-square-foot arts center and a major renovation of the existing Dunn Performing Arts Center. The new Cohen Center for the Creative Arts, which will house art studios, photography classrooms, a manual arts shop, a design-oriented Makerspace, and a black box theater, will be completed in July 2018. The renovation of the Performing Arts Center is scheduled for completion by February 2018.

As always, faculty were busy participating in a variety of professional development activities this summer, including technology and math workshops, a music-conducting conference, sustainability programs, summer graduate studies, curriculum development for individual courses, and Rye Country Day’s own Institute on Innovative Teaching and Learning, which provides five summer fellowships in support of faculty efforts to advance specific initiatives at school.


<<Upper School>>

Ellie Donnell


Ms. Donnell previously taught English at Marlborough School in Los Angeles, Calif.

Eric Drotch


Mr. Drotch, the new Art Department chair, previously served in the same position at Gann Academy in Waltham, Mass.

Eileen Q. Juico

Learning Specialist and Humanities Teacher (Psychology)

Ms. Juico returns to Rye Country Day from Barcelona, Spain, where her husband was the head of an international school.

Annie Michel


After serving as a long-term substitute the previous semester, Ms. Michel joins the French Department. She previously taught at FASNY.

Dasha J. Polzik


Dasha Polzik previously taught at Hotchkiss School.

Jessica Zalph


Ms. Zalph recently completed her Masters degree in History at Brown University.

<<Lower School>>

Lucia Carafas

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Carafas is a recent graduate of Purchase College.

Samantha English

Assistant Teacher

A graduate of Amherst College, Ms. English joins the school after two years as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in South Korea.

Juliana Killup

Extended Day Assistant

Ms. Killup, a graduate of Fairfield University, has been working as an Assistant Teacher at the St. Ignatius School in the Bronx.

Robert Landry

Assistant Teacher

Mr. Landry most recently taught at the Birch School in New Windsor, N.Y.

Torie Regan

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Regan previously served as the Extended Day Assistant at Rye Country Day.

Katherine Yuditski

Assistant Teacher

Kiki Yuditski joins the Lower School faculty from Rippowam Cisqua School, where she served as an assistant teacher.

<<Physical Education>>

Breann Joyce

Physical Education

Ms. Joyce, a graduate of Springfield College, has served as an assistant softball coach at Yale and Brandeis.


By Janice Llanes Fabry

Daniel Warren’s kindergarteners, first, and second graders will be meeting their new principal very soon. If they welcome Tara Goldberg with half the fondness she already has for them, the new school year will be off to a great start.

“I’ve always been connected to the vitality of early childhood,” said Goldberg. “I love their curiosity, playfulness, and natural wonder, whether they lose a tooth or learn something new.” She added, “It is important to seize children’s excitement, tap into their interests, and create opportunities for them to be highly engaged in what they’re learning.”

Come September, she will be introducing herself by visiting each classroom and reading “Ribbit,” a children’s book by Rodrigo Folgueira about making new friends. She plans to engage families by offering weekly Talks with Tara throughout the year.

“Parents can come in for a brief presentation and Q & A, so they can feel connected beyond newsletters and PTSA meetings,” she said. “I want to create opportunities for continuity and share all the exciting things happening here.”

Goldberg learned of the vacancy at the elementary school in the nick of time, two days before the application deadline. “I knew it would be a unique and special opportunity being that there are very few early childhood K through 2 schools,” she said referring to a student population with which she has extensive experience.

Since 2000, she has been educating K through 2 in one form or another — teacher, literacy coach, and administrator. For the last seven years, Goldberg served as a principal at Robert L. Stevenson Elementary School in Manhattan. Her move here is quite a departure from being one of over 40 principals in a district.

“Now, I am one of four and I am very excited to work in this committed, close, and collaborative team,” she said.

The new principal has already met Daniel Warren’s “extremely welcoming and supportive” faculty and staff. Moreover, she is well underway to familiarizing herself with the school community, so she can build upon its strengths.

One of the primary goals she is most passionate about is launching a new reading curriculum in K-5. The district wide initiative will introduce balanced literacy, which provides customized experiences to focus on discrete skills and then students using those skills in their own reading and writing. This differentiated approach includes reading aloud, as well as guided, shared, and interactive reading and writing.

“In addition to lessons for the whole class, balanced literacy focuses on individual and small group needs-based instruction and offers independent practice. There is more movement within the classroom. We will look at where students are and where they can grow,” explained Goldberg, who has been working with this program for 16 years. “We will also be offering students more choices with a richer library that has a broader range of topics and a combination of picture, chapter, narrative and informational books.”