Nyack High School Class of '55

Favorite Faculty Members


As promised, here's the response from our classmates with stories of their "favorite teachers." The reactions of those who responded will undoubtedly bring back memories to all of us. We all know that we received a superior education at Nyack. It might be a little late, but let's pay tribute to the educators who made that possible.

Faculty members are listed in alphabetical order. If a classmate mentioned more than one teacher, his/her remarks are listed under the primary named teacher. If more than one classmate selected a specific teacher, the respondees are listed in alphabetical order also.


Alfred Beninati

Karen Dahlberg Vander Ven

"There are many criteria for selecting a favorite teacher: One who encouraged you, made you feel special, inspired you to love the subject, had authoratative knowledge, was engaging and interesting. So one has to pick. My all-time favorite teacher was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Priest. She made each child feel competent, included, and helped the whole class recognize that everybody had a special talent. As for NHS, I liked almost all of my teachers. My English teachers - Miss Nilson, Mrs. Lindfors, Mr. Wray, and the formidable Dr. Roody - encouraged me to develop and use my abilities.

"But on reflection, one teacher unexpectedly stands out because, more than anybody else, he made me love his subject. This was...(surprise maybe) Mr. Beninati, my Advanced Algebra teacher. I loved Advanced Algebra - permutations and combinations, determinants, quadratic equations, and the binomial theorem! My yearbook entry said "likes math," and that's still true. I have a Great Course algebra text on my shelf (when I finish it, I'll try calculus), and a shelf full of math textbooks. I still have the Advanced Algebra textbook which obviously I stole since it has a plate inside saying "NYACK HIGH SCHOOL". I hope it's too late to turn it in. My fascination with the subject didn't stop me from talking in class. So Mr. Beninati called my mother who soothed him by explaining how adolescent girls sought attention.

"Miss Nutt was another great and rigorous math teacher. She seemed picky then, but not now. Mr. Hogan made me enjoy chemistry. Balancing equations was fun. I also laud my history teachers, Mrs. Lester and Mr. Schweikardt, for their humor and ability to make history interesting. My language teachers, Mrs. Latham for French, engaged me in the subject, and I felt honored when Mr. Callahan, my Latin teacher, had me grade has Latin I papers for him."


Stanton Callahan

Allison Church Hyde
"When we asked the children at our school in Kenya, "Who is your favorite teacher?" they spread their arms wide and said, "All of them!" I think they respect the feelings of their teachers as well as appreciate them. When I recall our NHS teachers, I remember many, if not "all of them."

"Our Speech teacher sat, short skirt and legs crossed model style, perched on the table in front of the class. She gave us the practice and confidence I have needed to speak in public and chair many boards. Miss Nutt in flowing purple suit with chalk stripe around the seat led me into Geometry, which fascinated me. Dr. Roody, a little scary to me, introduced us to the Bard, but I don't remember enough to win in Jeopardy. She encouraged the use of a multitude of descriptive adverbs and adjectives that my college freshman English teacher brutally slashed away. I loved art with Mr. Reed and have taught art to children and adults. I'm sure Irving Berlin led the chorus and for sure Bill Smith, guidance counselor and soloist in Showboat, sang "Old Man River" on our bus to competitions. Miss Cooke sent a number of us to Vassar, previously unknown to me, partly because her sister loved the college. We now have a Vassar family of 11, thanks to Miss Cooke!

"Most memorable of all is Mr. "Latin" Callahan. How he energized us and took us to ancient Rome through the language that does help me in Jeopardy and makes me a nitpicking editor of journalists and anything in print! We petitioned for another year of Latin, but it didn't happen...Alas! Kudos and thanks to all of them!"

Bob Merkert
"I had several favorites - Mr. Cox, Mr. Stanton Callahan, Miss Nutt, Miss Nilson, Mr. Rowland, and Mr. Zinn. If I have to select from among them I will pick Mr. Callahan because I had him for three years of Latin and one year of homeroom. He also helped me with my college selection and gave me insight into engineering as he worked with Mr. Polhemus, the local surveyor."


Verner Cox

Matthew Clark
"Brevity is the soul of wit." Using that philosophy, Matt Clark identified Mr. Vern Cox and Mr. William Desmond as his two favorite teachers.







Fabian Englander

Bobby Costino Morgan
"We had so many good teachers who inspired us. Mr. Fabian Englander, my business teacher, was a huge influence on me. Taking his classes was an introduction to everyday life for me. His teaching was about the practical side of living - how to manage money, and how to apply business skills to everyday life. His was the influencing force to my banking career of 30 years."



Vivian Krum

Stephanie Peterman Iachetta
"Miss Krum was unbelievably supportive throughout my years at NHS. She supported me academically and inspired me to do my best work in Biology. Memorization was never my strength; yet I was able to rattle off the classifications of flowers and trees with no difficulty. I appreciated the trust she had in me as a solid student. Her kindness was tangible. She was very supportive in my college search and always gave me very good advice.

"Mr. Cox made math entertaining. I always looked forward to his classes. Although I was never a good math student, I stayed and alert and receptive. One of his teachings was that we needed to focus on our work/homework without outside distractions. I disagreed with him. I was young at the time. I agree with him now. Then, though, to prove my point, I recited nursery rhymes while working out an algebra problem at the blackboard. What a brat!"




Edith Lester

Donna Hamer
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Lester. You may remember that she had an accident that caused her to be hospitalized with a concussion. I opened the gym door, and it knocked her against the wall. I visited her in the hospital, and told her that I was the one who caused her injury. It was a very hard thing to do, but she thanked me for my honesty and never held it against me. While she was gone, our history class was never the same. I guess we just missed Mrs. Lester. How wonderful it was when she came back; she was just a great teacher.





Doris Lindfors

Georgia Maskell Whitten
"I had Mrs. Lindfors as my sophomore English teacher. She was a wonderful teacher, always up-beat and quite witty. I was always on the shy side, and Mrs. Lindfors realized that and tried to get me to become a little more outgoing. She assigned us to write a paper on our spring vacation. I wrote my story on a trip we had taken to Richmond, Virginia. One of the most thrilling moments was standing in the church where Patrick Henry delivered his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. We stayed with our southern relatives in their home which reminded me of the large, old homes in South Nyack, kind of Victorian looking. I begged my father to stop so I could bring some cotton bolls home. He finally agreed, and Mrs. Lindfors gave me an A+ on the paper and read it to the class. I was somewhat embarrassed by the attention but actually was happy and proud. Years later, I found out from my husband that Doris Lindfors was Doris Eckert, who had gone through school with him in Congers. He said that she had been very smart and very nice. I could certainly vouch for those qualities!

"I also really liked Fabian Englander. I had him for Retailing and Business Law. A knowledgeable teacher, he selected me to be the corresponding editor of the "Big Injun." I also enjoyed the opportunity to decorate the window of the school store. We certainly had good teachers, didn't we? We are lucky to have had the education that Nyack provided."

John Little

Charlene Palmatier Niland
"No one else could make the difference in my daily life from the time I was 16 than Mr. Little did. His marvelous driving instructions have kept me safe for 62 years. What other teacher can we say influenced our daily life for that long? Many other teachers gave us inspiration, guidance, and knowledge, but Mr. Little truly impacted our lives every single day".



Lucia Nutt

Jim O'Mahony
"My favorite teacher was none other than Miss Nutt. She was an older teacher who could scare the hell out of you if you didn't listen to her. I had her for Geometry which I couldn't understand for months; ergo ninth period was spent with her most days. She kept saying, "Keep at it and it will finally come together for you." Believe it or not, it happened, and I got 100% on the New York Regents, and she gave me an "A." I will never forget the effort she put in to teach us."


Daphne Ramirez

Bob Bernstein
"I have a "soft spot" in my heart for Senorita Ramirez, my Spanish teacher. I took five years of Spanish, my favorite course, in which I excelled because of Senorita's nurturing and very personal interest. After my high school graduation, she remained in contact with my family - expressing an interest in my progress and aspirations. I last spoke with Senorita when she called upon hearing of my father's passing in 1994. Those 5 years of Spanish classes were extremely helpful during my "internship" at NYC's Metropolitan Hosptial located in Spanish Harlem. Communication with patients in their native language helped build a sense of self-confidence and trust in our relationships that affected my inter-personal experiences throughout my entire professional career. I am forever grateful...y muchas gracias!"

Margaret Smith-Chous
"My favorite teacher was Senorita Ramirez. I liked her most because of her positive nurturing manner."

Dr. Sarah Roody

Bob Dallow
"For over 20 years I was a high school principal on Long Island with the responsibility for evaluating the professional staff. In retrospect, I think about the caliber of teachers at my alma mater, Nyack High School. It was truly an exemplary faculty. How truly fortunate we, the student body, were to be taught by that wonderful group of educators 60 years ago. And, in my opinion, the creme de la creme was Dr. Sarah Roody. Before becoming an administrator, I spent several years as a high school English teacher. My success was based on the techniques and approaches I learned in Dr. Roody's classroom. It was literature; it was composition; it was grammar; it was student rapport. I modeled my classroom after the best of the Nyack High School faculty, Dr. Sarah Roody.
"There were rigorous standards that we were expected to meet. What better training could there be for a future educator? Learning from a master teacher was both enjoyable and fulfilling.

"I must cite three other teachers from my freshman year...Mr. Cox, Mr. Desmond, and Mr. Rowland. They were masters of their respective subject content, but, more importantly, they recognized that they were teachers of pupils, as well as algebra, English and social studies. Coming from the intimate setting of small classes in Valley Cottage, these three gentlemen were responsible for my acclimation into a high school setting. I am forever grateful."

Firth Haring Fabend
"We were very fortunate to have nothing but good teachers in high school. Of those I personally was taught by, Dr. Roody was my favorite because she was the most demanding and because she opened the door to what lay ahead the widest. Mr. Schweikhardt, the Templins, Mr. Rowland, Mr. Cox, Mr. Beninati, Miss Nutt, Miss McLaren, Herr Merz, Mme. Latham, and the music and art teachers were all well-trained professionals who exuded their care and love for us. Dr. Roody drilled into my brain the need for clarity, carefulness, and concision in writing, and all I learned from her has stood me in good stead ever since. A good teacher never knows where his/her influence will end, and that is very true of our good teachers at NHS."

Richard Oliver
"I am writing about my two favorite NHS teachers as I could not narrow it down to just one. They are both firmly entrenched in my otherwise foggy memory as two of the best teachers I have ever had. The first is Dr. Sarah Roody, whose guidance and expertise engendered a love of English language and literature which thrills me to this day. Thanks to her I went on to major in English in college and subsequently spent 33 years teaching the subject in what I hope was the Roody style. My other favorite was Mrs. Elizabeth Latham who succeeded in turning this Anglophile into a schizophrenic Francophile. So enjoyable were those three years of French that, when the time came to part ways at the end of the sophomore year, I joined those members of the class who petitioned for and won an unprecedented fourth year of study. French IV was even more delightful, since with the Regents behind us we could shift our focus from the essentials of grammar to the more intriguing aspects of French culture and customs."

Gene Ross


Richard Royster
"I think one of my favorite teachers was Miss Gene Ross. She cared about her students and didn't stand for any back talk. I selected her, but there were many other good choices."





Edward Schweikardt

Helene Ginger Neuman Stoltze
"Edward Schweikardt was a very intelligent person. He had an exceptional way with his students. Not only did I learn a lot from his classes, I liked that he treated all of us as young adults. He respected our opinions."

Eric Schweikardt
"I'm sure no one can guess who my favorite teacher was. That said, I believe that all of my teachers worked hard to give us a great education."

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