Alumni Events and Reunions

Faculty Emeriti Profile: Bobbie Bassuk

Her full name is Roberta Ruth Livovich Bassuk, but almost everyone calls her Bobbie. Her family emigrated from Russia to Cuba in 1916 then to Miami in 1960 and finally to Chicago.
She started teaching at Ransom Everglades in 1994 and retired after 28 years, in 2022.
RE: What did you teach at RE?
BB: I was originally hired to teach 7th and 8th grade Spanish and also what was then the native speaker program in Spanish.
Other positions I held were Middle School World Languages coordinator, one year of Spanish teaching at the Upper School and Interim World Languages Department Chair.
RE: You have an interesting personal history.
BB: I spent the first seven years of my life in Havana, Cuba. My father was Cuban and met my mother on a business trip to Chicago in 1952. I call my parents the original “Lucy and Ricky.” English was spoken in my home and Spanish outside of my home in Cuba. Therefore, my adjustment to the U.S. was made easier when we moved here in 1960. I spent the rest of my school days in Chicago. I also met my late husband Jorge in Chicago, where he had moved from his native Argentina in order to train as a pediatric anesthesiologist. He always said he married me for my Spanish!
RE: How did you decide to be a teacher?
BB: I attended the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, where I received a BA in Secondary Spanish Education. I spent a wonderful academic year abroad at the University of Barcelona during my junior year then I went on to do a Master’s Program in Teaching English as a Second Language and Linguistics at the same institution.
My first teaching position was in the inner city of Chicago as a Title VII Spanish/English bilingual teacher in the elementary grades of the Chicago Public schools. During that time I earned a degree in elementary education from Northeastern Illinois University, and taught adult English as a Second Language at Roosevelt University, and Truman College in Chicago during summers.
RE: How did you end up back in Miami?
BB: We moved to Miami in 1993. After substitute teaching for one year at RE, I was asked to interview for an open position, which started my roles at RE.
RE: What were some of your favorite experiences teaching at RE?
BB: Two of my favorite experiences, among too many to count, occurred during the Middle School trip to Puerto Rico. 
The students swam in the bioluminescent bay in La Parguera at midnight. They looked like human glow sticks. A great and unforgettable interdisciplinary merger of Science and Spanish.
Also, while in Puerto Rico, a group of students wanted to learn more about the quinceañera (15th birthday) celebration. We went to a shop in Ponce where the girls donned elaborate dresses, learned much from the shop owner, and did a photo shoot. Head of School Rachel Rodriguez was instrumental in helping me make that trip possible and they’re still going! 
My most memorable experiential learning projects were our visits to Univisión and Telemundo, which we researched beforehand and then had a fascinating and linguistically immersed look into Spanish television in Miami. 
I was privileged to have had Jackie (Mathiot) Collaso and Alicia Oberstein as mentors at the middle school. They transmitted their stellar language teaching skills and love of RE in all that they taught me.
My first department chair and my last department chair before retirement are still at RE. I was so lucky to have been under the tutelage of Karen Thompson and James Monk. 
There were many people who were important to me in my trajectory, including  Maria Eugenia Abrante, who helped to make multicultural day into a spectacle, transforming it into something spectacular. 
One of the highlights of my career (I’m very big on experiential learning) was being mentored by  Guillermo Urbina during the time of my interim chairmanship.
RE: Would any alumni know your kids?
BB: Our two children, Larry and Lizzie, graduated from RE in 2000 and 2002. Larry lives in Miami Beach with his wife Jerri Hertzberg Bassuk, whom he met at Ransom Everglades. Their sons are George, 9 and Jordan, 7. Lizzie lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband Phillip Katz, and their children Lilliana, 9, Brielle, 8, and Avi, 2.
RE: What do you miss the most about teaching?
BB: I miss the classroom and my colleagues, but very happily substitute teach at RE and am able to stay involved. I now have more time to be with my grandchildren, exercise and travel. I celebrated my 70th birthday with a trip to Copenhagen. I love to travel and dream of going to Asia. Tokyo in particular.
And of course, as a faculty emerita I look forward to attending as many events as I can at this community that I love.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.