CELEBRATING 20 YEARS
Rich Bird came on as CSW’s Director of Athletics in 2001, though he had already been working as a coach for the school since 1999, taking the ski club out to Nashoba Valley during D Block. He has also stepped in to coach or lead a number of other teams and activities over the years — tennis, cycling, field hockey, crew — and even served a few years as director of CSW’s summer day camp.
Having bought his very first stock at age 13, Rich found himself working in corporate finance as a young adult, but he’d always wanted to work in physical education and sports, despite his father’s caution that he “wouldn’t make any money.” But after years of working behind a desk and crunching numbers, Rich couldn’t resist the call to get outside and do something more active. His uncles, who were baseball and basketball coaches, were two of his role models.
In Rich’s first ten years as Athletic Director, the CSW athletics program flourished. Boys’ Soccer won the league championship in 2001 and 2010; Cross Country won the championship in 2009, as did the Boys’ Basketball team. Girls’ Basketball won in 2010, and Baseball won in 2010. Ultimate Frisbee won back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015, and Boys’ Tennis won in 2015. The final athletic competition under Rich’s leadership (before the pandemic hit) was the Boys’ Basketball championship winning game, in February 2020. It was also during Rich’s tenure that the athletic fields were redone (Rich was closely involved in the planning with Larry Frye), and Rich was immensely pleased to play a role in the construction of the Health and Fitness Center.
Rich takes great pride in the wide scope of offerings available to students at CSW. “I want everybody to fall in love with something athletic,” Rich says. “I really hope the kids here can find something they fall in love with.” Students and colleagues have always appreciated Rich’s humor, level-headedness, and steadfast dedication and commitment to his role.
“As a student at CSW, I was inspired by Rich's drive to bring out the best in his students both on and off the field of play,” says former student and colleague Arlo Furst ’04. “For Rich, athletics at CSW was about learning how to be a good teammate, treating your opponents with respect, and pushing through tough obstacles with perseverance and heart. Athletics could mean several things - outdoor recreation, competitive sports, mindfulness and meditation, and so much more.”
In retirement, Rich is excited to spend more time out on the water on his paddle board or aboard his power boat, and he is equally as eager to travel and see his grandchildren, but he will miss seeing his friends and colleagues every day. He had fond memories of sitting down to lunch with Jim Cook, Patricio Hernandez and Frantz Batoh, Steve Scrimshaw, and Michael and Gustavo, among many others.
“Continue to be different,” he says, when asked what parting advice he has for the CSW community. “I love it.” And in the spirit of the great Jim Valvano, former North Carolina State basketball coach: “Life is short. Laugh, think, and have your emotions brought to tears.”
CELEBRATING 21 YEARS
Ask Karen Bruker what her favorite courses to teach have been and she doesn’t hesitate: chemistry — anything and everything related to chemistry. Indeed, it was a part-time role teaching chemistry that brought Karen to CSW back in 2000, but she has since taught courses covering topics in physics, biology, anatomy and physiology, zoology, and of course, robotics.
After she led a D Block called “Tinkering,” two of Karen’s advisees asked if she could help them start a robotics program at CSW. Karen enthusiastically accepted and soon found herself running the program out of her basement, with much of the work taking place over the weekend. Although it has taken on many forms since then, the robotics program continues to be an important part of CSW’s math and science offerings.
While helping to bring the robotics program to CSW is among Karen’s proudest accomplishments, she derives the most joy out of helping students discover a love and enthusiasm for science, especially when they weren’t expecting to. “I think our students are just really curious. And when you can nurture that curiosity, that's a win-win for the teacher,” Karen says. She strives to give lab blocks (which can last three to four hours each day) an interactive, camp-like atmosphere, where students can experiment and develop new questions about the world. She favors a style that encourages learning by doing, bringing in lecture at the end, rather than the beginning of a lesson.
As a teacher and colleague, Karen radiates enthusiasm, energy, and a can-do attitude. “As a teacher, Karen made sure to engage the class, from dressing up as a mole on Mole Day to checking in on anybody who might need help.”
says Kaylee Law ’19. “She was a key contributor to my success, and that of both my brothers, with her unending support and mentorship,”
Looking ahead to retirement, Karen hopes to travel — the Galapagos is on the top of her list — and spend more time with her family and grandchildren. Her parting advice to the CSW community? Always be curious and always put your all in.
CELEBRATING 24 YEARS
Tony Loreti studied film in college before transitioning to still photography — an artform he’d explored as a kid — and earning his master’s degree in photography. He originally came to teaching as a means of making an income while also being able to pursue his own work as an artist, and quickly found that he loved working with his “amazingly creative” students and colleagues. “I think it keeps you fresh,” he says. “The students constantly surprise you, and you’re excited about the work you see.” He started at CSW in 1997.
While he has taught a wide variety of courses in film and photography, including the basics like “Photo I” and “Photo II,” and more specialized classes like “Portrait Photography,” or “Environmental Photography,” one of the most quintessential Tony Loreti courses has been his “Street Photography,” course. For years, Tony used to take his students on weekly field trips to neighborhoods in and around Boston, like Allston, Davis Square, and the North End to capture images from daily life. After being awarded the 2019 Alorie Parkhill Learning and Travel grant and traveling to London, Paris, and Milan, to research the fashion industry, meet with young designers, and witness local expressions of street style, Tony also developed a “Photographing Fashion” course for CSW.
Students and colleagues describe Tony as thoughtful, encouraging, and knowledgeable. “Tony always encouraged me to photograph and print in a way that felt right to me personally, ultimately helping me to access a type of self-expression that is honest, sincere, and from the heart,” says Robin Glass ’19. “I have limitless gratitude for all the moments I spent with Tony!"
A black and white film enthusiast at his core, Tony looks forward to continuing to make art in retirement (he has his own dark room at home), taking on a mix of street, portrait, and landscape photography. He says he will most miss the community of CSW — running into colleagues in the dining hall or mailroom and striking up conversation, making connections with people in different departments. “I think that's one of the things I like best about this job,” he says, “is that there's really a lot of amazing, really smart people, and interesting people here.” In the years to come, he is hopeful that CSW will retain its uniqueness and idiosyncrasies, and hopes to stay connected as much as possible.
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS
It is safe to say that were it not for Steve Scrimshaw, CSW’s technology infrastructure would not be what it is today. Of course, Steve will tell you that the work to bring the internet and a campus-wide computer network to CSW was a highly collaborative effort led by a committee of students, faculty, and staff. And indeed, it was. “Throughout all of my tenure, it was really important for me to get a committee to help make decisions,” Steve shares. But it was indisputably Steve, then Director of Academic Technology, who identified the need, lobbied for changes, and even spearheaded the fundraising efforts needed to bring CSW into the 21st century.
“Steve led the late 90s transformation of technology at CSW from a handful of computers in a dingy room full of nerds and goofs in the library basement to a campus-wide computer network with the school’s first internet connection, web browsing, email, computers in the dorms and library, and a better equipped dingy room full of nerds and goofs in the library basement,” says Bill Kuker ’99. “I am particularly grateful to Steve… [who] helped set me on a course in technology, computer science, and occasionally-successful entrepreneurship by taking me on for my school service blocks to assist with all kinds of computer, network and technology support.”
And yet, Steve’s work as Director of Academic Technology is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to listing out his contributions to CSW. He came to CSW as a Science Teacher in 1991, with a focus in biology. In his 30-year tenure, he has taught a wide variety of courses — including some in photography — but there was only one he taught consistently, every single year, and that class was “Zoology,” a course that allowed students to look at the world through the lens of evolution. Outside of the classroom, Steve also carries a storied legacy as head coach of the school’s soccer teams, leading both varsity squads to multiple post-season tournaments.
But no recounting of Steve’s accomplishments at CSW would be complete without mention of the much-loved “Neotropics of Latin America” course that he helped to design and run beginning in 1994. While the original trip was just 16 days, the course now runs for closer to 30, allowing participants to visit tropical ecosystems in Central America (the current course runs in Panama) and conduct field experiments and projects. Since its inception, the course has maintained a grassroots feel, with strong connections to local scientists, vendors, and families that afford students a highly immersive cultural experience, a characteristic that’s clearly very important to Steve.
In typical Steve fashion, in addition to traveling, pursuing photography, and spending time with family, Steve also looks forward to exploring GIS (Geographic Information System) warehousing during his retirement. His parting advice to the CSW community is simple: “Be yourself. You can't be someone else. Be open to change, support your colleagues, support each other, laugh with each other.”