Rye Schools Lose High School History Star, Latin Head, and Special Ed Chief

Nearly 75 years of school experience will disappear from the Rye City School District come September as Robert Steel, Rye High School history teacher extraordinaire, David Perry, Latin teacher and author of the most widely used textbook in this country, and Shirley Klein, who has overseen the Special Education department for the past decade, retire.

Published June 26, 2015 5:00 AM
4 min read

0:00

teachers-thNearly 75 years of school experience will disappear from the Rye City School District come September as Robert Steel, Rye High School history teacher extraordinaire, David Perry, Latin teacher and author of the most widely used textbook in this country, and Shirley Klein, who has overseen the Special Education department for the past decade, retire.

By Sarah Varney

3teachersNearly 75 years of school experience will disappear from the Rye City School District come September as Robert Steel, Rye High School history teacher extraordinaire, David Perry, Latin teacher and author of the most widely used textbook in this country, and Shirley Klein, who has overseen the Special Education department for the past decade, retire.

Fresh out of teacher’s college, Mr. Steel joined the Rye High faculty in 1994. At that time, the teaching of history was mostly still a dry affair. The teacher talked, the student scribbled notes, and there was a big test at the end of the year. Steel took a different path.

“Bob wanted to make history come alive for the students. He wanted the kids to experience it as realistically as possible,” said colleague Judd Rothstein, who worked with Steel for eleven years.
Colleague Kristen Warner detailed Steel’s approach. “Bob’s ability to engage students through historical simulations transformed the way history is taught at RHS.”

Fellow history teacher Sara Charles experienced the “simulation approach” firsthand. “One of my fondest memories of Bob is when he would teach a joint lesson with me to my AP World classes on the Enlightenment. Bob would play the role of Thomas Hobbes while I acted out the part of John Locke. Bob would stay in character the entire time and the kids never forgot the opposing views of these two philosophies,” she said.

He was often a character outside the classroom as well. “Bob is amazing at doing impressions. From former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush numerous faux-pas to ‘it’s just a flesh wound’ by Monty Python, Bob would always have the History faculty cracking up during department meetings,” Charles added.

Steel also served as an inspiration to fellow history teachers including Rothstein and Jared Small. “Bob was a big reason that I came here. I’ll always be thankful to him,” said Mr. Small.
For David Perry, former head of the Foreign Languages Department and author of the renowned textbook “Ecce Romani”, retirement will give him more time to work on his vacation house in upstate New York. Beyond that, he has no concrete plans, at least not yet.

Mr. Perry joined the RHS faculty in 1980 as a Latin teacher. For 35 years he taught Latin and French classes in both the Middle and High School.  

He says he will miss his colleagues and teaching most of all. This year, he had two AP Latin students graduate. “The thing that I enjoyed the most was teaching the kids. When they get it, it’s really fun,” he said. The number of Latin students varies from year to year, but Latin is far from dead, he noted.

Asked if he has seen major changes in the types of students he taught over the years, he demurred politely at first. But he believes that the rise of social media and the decline of reading books has had a negative effect on learning. “I truly believe that students don’t read as much, or as well. They come [to class] with less skill at reading, less ability to pull meaning out of the text. And I think it shows.”

Eleven years doesn’t seem that long, but Shirley Klein, who is retiring from her role as Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services, has embodied Special Ed for the district seemingly for much, much longer.  If you say “Shirley Klein”, “Special Ed” is the first thing that comes to mind.

She is leaving the New York State teaching system to take the position of Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Special Services for the Darien School District in Connecticut. The move will save her about an hour’s commuting time each day.

Klein came to special education through an internship she did through Bellevue Hospital. “I was an undergrad and I did an internship working with children’s dramatics for autistic children. It was extraordinary. That is what inspired me,”  Her greatest reward? “Student success.”

As to what lies ahead for special education as a field, Klein is confident that the push to improve services through more advanced training and the determination to make special education as non-restrictive as possible will continue to be the primary goal. “The goal is always to get better,” she stressed.

As for Klein herself, she is eager to continue her 39-year career. The move to Darien definitely won’t curb her work-focused life. “Hobbies? I’m not ready for hobbies yet,” she said.

 

Filed Under:
Subscribe and get freshly baked articles. Join the community!
Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

rajbet app

rajbet india

lottoland asia

lottoland india

dafabet login

dafabet app

4rabet login

khelo24bet login

rummy gold

rummy glee

teen patti

teen patti gold

teen patti joy

teen patti master

rummy modern

andar bahar

dafabet

bonus new member

gullybet

IPLWin

IPLWin

tk88

tk88

thienhabet

thienhabet

Dbbet

Nagad88

Babu88

Six6s

Bhaggo

Elonbet