RE honors newest faculty emeriti Greg Siegler and Henry Stavisky '85

Ransom Everglades’ professional community celebrated the storied careers of retiring faculty members Greg Siegler, who is departing after 37 years, and Henry Stavisky ’85, who is retiring after 25, during an emotional end-of-year ceremony at the Lewis Family Auditorium on June 7 that included other awards and recognitions. Colleagues lauded the two legendary mathematics and computer science teachers for their extraordinary contributions in the classroom and throughout the school community.
Both were welcomed into RE's faculty emeritus community for their 25+ years of service at RE.

Siegler, who attended the celebration with his wife, Naomi, and son, Max, received multiple standing ovations and was described as “a kid at heart,” a “master teacher” and, in the words of middle school band director Cathi Leibinger, “the keeper of everything but, most of all, the memories.” Hired as Middle School Dean of Students in 1987, he became best known for his role as Middle School Activities Director, a title he wore with pride and passion as he directed field trips, school dances, service events and more.

“What an impact Greg has had on student life at the middle school,” said faculty emerita Ginny Onorati in remarks read by Leibinger. “Greg meticulously planned events, often with his team of ‘work wives’ … Being a bit of a big kid himself, Greg loved capturing the kids on film as they enjoyed these activities. Greg is also a master teacher who genuinely wants to see each and every student be successful.”

Stavisky was described by peers as a “25-year blessing for RE,” “a benevolent guide” and “truly irreplaceable," and faculty member Mike Becker said Stavisky had earned a place on the RE “Mount Rushmore of teachers.” The event was live-streamed to Stavisky, who was unable to attend; he also received a resounding standing ovation. 

Stavisky taught every math course RE offered, and earned many distinctions: His 2009 calculus students earned the highest AP scores in the world, according to the College Board at that time. In 2016, one of his students (John Mistele '16) was one of 11 in the world to earn a perfect score on the AP Calculus BC exam. In 2010, Stavisky received the RE Head of School's Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the School.

“Yes, there are hundreds of engineers, physicists and mathematicians out there who succeeded, in part, because Henry Stavisky taught them calculus,” faculty member Laura Miller said, quoting Becker. “Most valedictorians thanked Henry at one awards ceremony or another. But there are also many math haters and ‘math phobes’ who got through it because of Henry’s devotion. As [faculty member] Eric Lefebvre says, ‘If high school mathematics was a journey or a path, Henry was a benevolent guide. He could soften the harshest terrain… Everybody was welcome. Everybody had access.’”

Other faculty also received recognition. Grace Gonzalez, retiring after 18 years as a mathematics and computer science teacher, was described by colleague and friend Ali Fisher as “hard working, dedicated, determined and dependable” and, Fisher added, “outside of the classroom, Grace contributes to just about everything.”

Head of the Middle School Pete Di Pace honored Jimmy Oxsalida, who is departing after eight years at RE where he taught, coached and served as Middle School Dean of Students. “At his heart, he is someone who wants to build community and serve our kids,” Di Pace said. “His temperament as an educator is about as good as you can get. He is even-keeled, patient, understanding … and that’s why we’re going to miss him so much.” 

Miller honored Mandira Bose-Nyberg, who is departing after nine years as a math and computer science teacher, junior class dean and department coordinator to become Assistant Head of School at Fisher Island Day School. “She always likes to learn new things and try new things,” Miller said. “She has been greatly appreciated. She will be missed; and definitely won’t be forgotten.”

J.P. Arrastia and Kate Hamm were honored with the Arthur Moses Faculty Awards for middle school and upper school, respectively. Maria Elena Gonzalez, administrative assistant to the head of the upper school, received the Arthur Moses Staff Award. 

Professional community members Ana Bott, Jeffrey Castillo, Harlie Duarte and John A. King Jr. were honored for 25 years of service; faculty member Karen Key was honored for 20 years of service; professional community members Yolette Magana, Dominique McKenna, Frank Tellez and Vicki Carbonell Williamson ’88 were recognized for 15 years of service; and Marie Gregorio, Francie Hall and Gus Palacios for 10 years. 

Head of School Rachel Rodriguez also called members of the SAGE Dining Services team, the entire RE facilities team and other departing members of the professional community to the front of the auditorium for applause and recognition. 
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.