The Ellis School will bid farewell to five longtime faculty members—Visual Arts Teacher Belle Moldovan, Upper School History Teacher Rick Malmstrom, Middle and Upper School History Teacher Jeri Simon, Upper School Mathematics Teacher Liza Goldberg, and History Department Chair and Global Initiatives Coordinator Susan Corbesero—upon their retirement from Ellis at the end of the 2021–2022 school year. During their collective tenures, these beloved educators have guided, mentored, and inspired over three decades’ worth of students within their classrooms.
Dr. Corbesero began teaching Upper School History at Ellis in 2008 and was named History Department Chair in 2016, later being awarded the distinction of Endowed Faculty Chair in History in honor of former Head of School Mary H. Grant. Through courses including World History and Gender and Power, Dr. Corbesero has cultivated a strong sense of global competency and awareness in her students, instilling them with respect and empathy for diverse perspectives. Dr. Corbesero also developed Ellis’ International Exchange Program and has facilitated the annual Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56 International Travel Grant for the Global Empowerment of Women and Girls since 2015.
“In creating a grant that would allow a rising senior to be chosen each year to travel to a developing country to empower women and girls, Dr. Corbesero made my dream come true,” shares Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56. “She spent hours and hours researching appropriate established programs and then more hours working with the girls—before they even submitted an application! Susan has been a joy to work with, and she will be sorely missed—particularly by me!”
Ms. Goldberg joined the Ellis community as an Upper School Mathematics Teacher in 2004. Since then she has taught a wide range of classes, from Geometry to Linear Algebra to Multivariable Calculus, and led a group of Upper Schoolers to great success during the 2014 High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling, with one Ellis team finishing in the top 6% internationally. Ms. Goldberg has also served as the Jewish Student Union faculty advisor, sponsored students participating in Data Jam, and organized mini-courses that combined her love of math and textiles.
“Liza has been such a great resource for our department,” says Math Department Chair Cara LaRoche. “She pays close attention to the latest trends in teaching math and has put many new practices into place at Ellis. We’re thankful for the many resources she has shared with us over the years.”
Ms. Simon has been shaping the minds of future historians in the Middle and Upper School for over 20 years, guiding students through writing their very first scholarly research papers and encouraging them examine the past with a critical lens. Ms. Simon has also served as Grade 8 Dean, Middle School Guild Advisor, and an eighth grade advisor during her time at Ellis. In addition to being a dedicated faculty member, Ms. Simon has also been a member of the Ellis parent community; her two daughters, Olivia and Claire, graduated from Ellis in 2018 and 2021, respectively.
“Jeri is amazing!” remarks Middle School History Teacher Amy Sidari. “She is always willing to help others and offer advice. She is truly one of the most hardworking, dedicated teachers I know. ”
Mr. Malmstrom began his Ellis career 25 years ago, joining the Upper School History Department in 1997. His courses have empowered students to research effectively, think critically, and question the world around them, and as an advisor, Mr. Malmstrom has helped countless Upper Schoolers navigate the world of high school with thoughtful advice and good humor. Mr. Malmstrom has also served as longtime faculty advisor for the Upper School Guild, inspiring students to connect with and make a difference in their local communities. Mr. Malmstrom’s two daughters, Kate (’16) and Lara (’20), are Ellis lifers.
“In a sea of amazing Ellis faculty, Rick stands out,” shares Carly REED Carstens ’02. “He has always believed in the potential of Ellis girls and has gone above and beyond in helping each individual student achieve theirs. Rick has routinely granted me his time, energy, kindness, wisdom, and humor over the years—each and every time I have asked—and I am only one of many alumnae who can say the same.”
Ms. Moldovan has been a driving force in the Ellis community throughout her 36-year tenure. She came to Ellis in 1986, and within a short period of time, she became one of the co-founders of the School’s daycare co-op, an initiator of Ellis’ earliest summer camps, and an instructor of after-school art classes for the School’s youngest students—on top of teaching visual arts classes in all three divisions and serving as a Middle and Upper School advisor. Ms. Moldovan eventually stepped into an even greater leadership role, serving as Chair of the Fine Arts Department and later the Visual Arts Department for a combined 13 years. A leader within the national AP Art and Design community as well, Ms. Moldovan has imbued in her students a wealth of art knowledge, sharp visual literacy skills, and a keen eye for good design.
“Belle has been a close friend and colleague of mine for nearly three decades, and she is certainly a positive force in my life and the lives of so many at Ellis,” says Visual Arts Department Chair Linda Tonetti Dugan. “It is not uncommon to hear her say, ‘Let me be devil's advocate…,’ or to ask ‘Is that what you think, or is that what you know?,’ or to declare ‘Community! Community! Community!’ when she has a point to make, as she truly is the voice of our community—and she has truly made a difference in the lives of her students and colleagues alike.”