Coach Dave Smith may be the only faculty member at Pine Crest School who can say that he has worked under every School president and every Athletic Director in School history — including time spent on the original campus location on Broward Boulevard.
Coach Ruth Bresnahan, more affectionately known as “Coach B” around campus, has been a fixture of Pine Crest School athletics since 1988. However, her start at Pine Crest was actually in 1975 when she began working at Pine Crest Summer, known then as Pine Crest Day Camp.
“You never know where opportunities will come from. You just need to be prepared to meet them,” says David Clark to his students. Mr. Clark serves as Head of School on Pine Crest School’s Boca Raton Campus.
By: Sabrina Kreiss ’21
Originally from Vineland, New Jersey, Pine Crest School Choral Director Mr. Michael Testa moved to Florida in 2001 to work with the Florida Grand Opera.
During that time, a former faculty member introduced him to Pine Crest where he became a member of the Fine Arts faculty in 2005. Now, almost 20 years later, Mr. Testa oversees and teaches chorus for students in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools on Pine Crest’s Fort Lauderdale campus, in addition to Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory.
After graduating from Rowan University with his bachelor of arts in music education, Mr. Testa began performing all over the United States as an opera singer.
Mr. Testa began graduate school at West Chester University shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree. There, he studied music performance. Feeling drawn to education, he began teaching extracurricular classes in music throughout his collegiate studies. He landed his first teaching job at a K-8 public school while studying for his master’s degree.
I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Testa to learn more about his career at Pine Crest and his passion for music and singing.
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Barbara Becker has been a valued member of the Pine Crest community since her eldest child walked on campus 25 years ago.
She served as a parents’ association volunteer for many years before joining the Fort Lauderdale campus Lower School faculty in January 2007 as Mrs. Patty Schimpf’s teacher two in pre-kindergarten.
Mrs. Becker brings her years of experience, deep sense of empathy, and powerful love of reading to her students each and every day.
In the early afternoon of January 6, 2021, students in Mrs. Trish Everett’s Post-Advanced Placement (AP) Political Science Seminar cast C-SPAN to the smartboard and began watching the joint session in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber. As lawmakers made their way through a count of Electoral College votes in alphabetical order by state, students were enthusiastic about experiencing their classroom lessons coming to life.
Pine Crest Head of Upper School Joseph (“Joey”) Walters ’95 wears many hats: he is an alumnus, the proud parent of two Panthers, Leah ’24 and Nathan ’31, an educator, and a member of the senior administration team.
Beloved mathematics instructor Richard Palmaccio ’08H taught at Pine Crest for 28 years. Now entering his 52nd year as a teacher, Mr. Palmaccio shows no signs of slowing down.
It has long been said that adversity does not change who we are — it reveals who we are. This year, our lives have been disrupted in countless ways by economic instability, social unrest and the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Longtime educator Joe Kelley has retired after 43 years of teaching, 22 of which he spent at Pine Crest School.
Pine Crest School Band Director, Dr. Dannel Espinoza, was invited by The Academy of Arts and Letters to New York City to record with his saxophone quartet Project Fusion.
Dr. Dannel Espinoza, or Dr. E. as he is known by many of his students, can be found on the Pine Crest School Boca Raton campus. Dr. Espinoza joined the Pine Crest Fine Arts Department as the Band Director during the 2018-19 school year.
Summer is right around the corner, and it is the perfect time for teachers’ reflection, professional growth, and the chance to dive into a good book. Inspired by Pine Crest School’s 2019-24 Strategic Plan, “The Future is Here,” this year’s faculty summer reading supports themes that are reflected in the overarching, guiding question:
Pine Crest School received three Anatomage Tables recently.
Anatomage Tables are virtual dissecting tables that are generally used by medical schools such as the Mayo Clinic to allow medical students the opportunity to perform virtual autopsies. One Table is located in an Upper School Huizenga Family Science Building classroom. The additional Tables are located in the Middle School life science classrooms — one on the Boca Raton campus and one on the Fort Lauderdale campus.
Today’s pre-primary aged students are presented with a variety of different tech tools, many of which we use at Pine Crest School.
Middle School at Pine Crest is home to new virtual reality (VR) equipment, which Pine Crest Computer Science and Technology faculty are using to teach students how to create their own virtual experiences and to influence others’ perspective.
“More content is being released and is increasingly available and accessible, and VR and augmented reality (AR) devices are becoming more effective,” said Mr. Sean Tibor, Pine Crest Computer Science and Technology Specialist. “By the time our Middle School students go to college, they will need to know how to use this equipment and feel comfortable using it.”
The terms “VR” and “AR” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
“The difference is that AR takes information around you and fuses the world you are in with additional data or information — think Pokemon Go,” said Mr. Tibor. “VR is about immersion and perspective. It overlays virtual items or instances on top of the real world. The benefit of VR technology is that it can change our perspective from a few different axes: distance, time, scale, and the forthcoming, human perspective."
Delving into these axes, Mr. Tibor shared how using VR technology is not limited to one course or subject.
Project based learning (PBL) initiatives are some of the ways faculty are approaching hands-on learning with students. A PBL assignment engages students in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. Students then demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience.