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Introducing this Year's Alumni Teaching Fellows...
Meghan Podimsky

This is the third year Delbarton has hosted its Teaching Fellowship Program. This one-year initiative is open to Delbarton alumni currently in their senior year of college. In November, members of the Class of 2020 are encouraged to apply for this unique opportunity to return to their alma mater during the 2024-2025 school year to assist a Delbarton teacher and mentor Delbarton students.

The post-grad Teaching Fellow term is from August to May, and the Program gives applicants considering a career in education an opportunity to experience life in a school environment, as well as serve as a gap year for alumni embarking on a post-graduate degree program or career.

To get a better look into this Program, Delbarton introduces this year's Teaching Fellows: from left, Robert Pesce, Ryan Siffringer and Patrick Christie, all from the Delbarton Class of 2019.

Teaching fellows in the garden

Before coming back to teach at Delbarton, Christie attended Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island where he studied Business Management. Christie thanks Delbarton's curriculum and college guidance department for preparing him for what life at Providence would be like. "Delbarton really is a college prep school. With independence and the overall classroom design, Delbarton prepared me for the academics and lifestyle that comes with attending college." While he was a student at Delbarton, Christie was very involved in his AP Art class as he now works alongside Caitlin Servilo and Yaiza Dominguez in the Arts Department. "This experience is what you make it," he says. "While I am teaching my students, I'm also learning the ins and outs of being a new teacher with them." In the spring, Christie will be back at Delbarton's Fleury Field helping to coach JV Baseball. "I love coaching and look forward to being able to experience the sport from a different point of view."

After his time at Delbarton, Ryan Siffringer graduated from Wake Forest with a degree in English. "In a lot of ways, my college life mimicked my life at Delbarton." When he was a student here, Siffringer was very involved with Green Wave Hockey and the Delbarton French program, even experiencing two exchange trips through Global Delbarton. While at Wake Forest, Siffringer was very active with his club hockey team while keeping up with his academics. Now, Siffringer is back to teach English and will assist with coaching hockey during the winter sports season. "I really love what I'm doing here so it makes the teaching part come easy," he reports. "The best part of my day is when I see my class here at school...there's never a dull moment in my classroom." As he gears up for hockey season, Siffringer looks forward to being on the other side of the sport as a coach rather than a player. "It's hard to get rid of that competitive edge as an athlete so if I can have some of it back through coaching, then I'm happy."

Pesce grew up in Franklin Lakes and followed in his older brothers' footsteps as he applied to Delbarton in the seventh grade as a lifer. With having older brothers attend Delbarton first, Pesce had always been coming to campus. "I remember when I was younger, I would spray paint my hair green to support Delbarton at Homecoming!" While at Delbarton, Pesce was very immersed in the arts as he played in the percussion ensemble as well as jazz band. After graduation, Pesce attended Stevens Institute of Technology and majored in Computer Science. As he was entering his senior year of college, Pesce began reminiscing on his time at Delbarton and then stumbled upon an article on Delbarton's website about the Alumni Fellowship and knew he wanted to apply for this unique experience. "One way or another, I missed this place so when I came across this opportunity, I figured it was perfect," he said. This summer, Pesce taught a course in the Delbarton Summer academic program as he felt that was a good transition into teaching before taking over two sections of Freshman Intro to Programming, with Dr. Jon Cote as a mentor. "Cote has been very helpful as the nature of what he has done with this course has helped me ease into this new role."

Each of our new Alumni Teaching Fellows has his own set of tasks and responsibilities. From creating lesson plans to being mentors inside and outside of the classroom, these Fellows have found this new evolution from student to teacher to be fulfilling in the best way possible. "You've been here before and you've done what these students have done," said Pesce. "Use what you know from being a student to help you be a teacher."

The three Fellows unanimously feel the support from Fr. Michael and the rest of the staff and students as they venture further into the school year ahead. "This has been a nice opportunity to experience what education is like and to give back to the school," said Siffringer.

With the year coming to a close, we invite members of the Class of 2020 to apply for this unique opportunity to return to their alma mater during the 2024-2025 school year. The post-grad Alumni Teaching Fellow term is from August to May. We encourage Class of 2020 alumni who are approaching college graduation this spring and are interested in the Alumni Teaching Fellow opportunity to contact Assistant Headmaster for Academic Affairs Josh Hartle here.