Six former teachers have been added to the prestigious Associated Alumni of Central High School’s Faculty Hall of Fame. On March 20, 2018, AACHS hosted induction ceremonies during an assembly for the 277th (senior) Class in the school’s Tracy Auditorium.
The latest class of inductees includes Frank Greco, a member of the 228th Class who later went on to become a Health and Physical Education teacher for 27 years. He was the first to coach a Girls’ athletic team at Central. He also served as Acting Assistant Principal and often organized Graduation ceremonies. Mr. Greco was also Department Chairperson and Dean of Discipline. “Central helps students prepare for their career paths. In my case, Central became my career and for that I am very grateful,” said Mr. Greco, who added “to have been taught by some of the Faculty Hall of Fame members and now to be included among them is an incredible honor.”
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame was Mme. Merrill Hakim. She’s the only teacher in Central history to have taught three different languages (French, Hebrew and Italian) in the same year, often in the same room. She developed a program in which AP students mentored and helped to teach beginners and also resurrected the Hebrew curriculum. Mme. Hakim was one of the original sponsors of International Day. She taught at Central from 1985 through 2002. “Teaching at Central, especially after I had taught at five other schools, was wonderful. The students are very interested and well-behaved,” she said. She added “the honor was a total surprise and I was delighted to get it.”
Also inducted was Stephen Wilensky, who taught music at Central from 1976 through 2013. Mr. Wilensky developed music curricula and instructed in theory, musicology, technology, Japanese studies and performing ensembles. He initiated musical theater, a music research library and technology lab while also expanding and organizing the Music Department as Chairperson. He also designed and conducted national and international performances, including Israel, Great Britain, Germany and Canada. “The Maestro” as he was called made it possible for “thousands” of students to discover music as a discipline and performing art. Mr. Wilensky said “Central is an educator’s utopia and teaching the next generation of ‘movers and shakers’ is really an awe-inspiring experience.” He added, “The intellectual distinctiveness of the students offered me the opportunity to cultivate their abilities by creating challenges, opportunities and experiences that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. Dr. Pavel’s acceptance of my vision reinforced by stellar colleagues shaped my career at the school.”
The inductees also included Sandra Schwartz. She taught all levels of Math from Algebra I through AP Calculus with superior results in AP testing. She was described by Past President Dr. Sheldon Pavel as “Math Teacher Extraordinaire.” She served “two tours of duty,” first as a teacher from 1964 through 1976 and then returning later as Department Chair from 1990 through 1993.
Two former teachers were also inducted posthumously. Edwin Houston, a member of the 43rd Class was a professor of Civil Engineering and then Chair of the Department of Natural Philosophy and Physical Geography. He later joined former student Elihu Thomson from the 55th Class forming a company that later merged with Edison Electric Company to form General Electric. John Mulloy was a history teacher from 1957 through 1976. He led an Ecumenical discussion group at Central that encouraged lively exchanges between students of all faiths. He passed away in 1995.
Dr. Steve Burnstein (222) and Chairperson of the Hall of Fame Committee said “Central provided the best education that I’ve experienced in any school that I’ve ever attended. That’s because of the teachers that taught me and much of what I learned at the school continues to be a resource for me today, more than 50 years later. The 2018 Faculty Induction showcases six exemplary teachers who have shaped the careers of thousands of students, having taught them with exceptional skill and a caring manner.” He added, “They serve as role models for current and future teachers and students. The AACHS applauds their accomplishments and skills and sends our best wishes for success and good health.”
Teachers can make a life-long impact upon their students. This is especially the case at Central High School where many unique individuals have served on the faculty. Central alumni and alumnae for years after graduating recall the lessons taught by these teachers and realize how important they were in shaping their personal and intellectual development. The generosity of the 199th class made it possible for the Associated Alumni to institute a Faculty Hall of Fame to honor the faculty’s finest. It was created in 1989 and is located on the third floor of the school. The inductees are selected by the Associated Alumni Hall of Fame Committee with input from the faculty and the administration at Central. Many are nominated by alumni. The Faculty Hall of Fame at Central High School is now home to 37 former educators.