Hill says farewell to departing faculty

As the 2020-21 school year comes to an end, the Hill community says farewell to some beloved faculty. With a total of nine faculty members leaving this year, it’s a bittersweet moment for many of us. 


Yassine Benzinane, the chair of world languages, has been a teacher at Hill for seven years. After Hill, he plans to work at Choate Rosemary Hall as the director of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. 


Owen Manganiello ’22, stated, “Before I came to Mr. Benzinane’s Arabic class, when I took a language class, I felt intimidated. I would be nervous about messing up or saying the wrong thing in front of other people. Mr. Benzinane creates a calm and accepting environment with his jovial and welcoming personality. You will never find a language teacher as qualified and as fit at his job as Mr. Benzinane. Mr. Benzinane is a friend and a mentor.”


Andy Bessette, Instructor of Mathematics and Hockey coach, has been working at Hill for nine years alongside his wife Kelsey Bessette. Their family plans to relocate to Pebble Beach, Calif., where Mr. Bessette will be teaching at Stevenson School.


“Mr. Bessette helped me return to the sport I loved as a young kid- hockey. This is something I’ll be forever grateful for. He was a tremendous coach and by far one of the coolest faculty members on campus,” said William Thompson ’21.


Kelsey Bessette, a history teacher and dorm parent in Dell, Mrs. Bessette has been a faculty member at Hill for nine years. “I coached JV field hockey, track and field, and intramural volleyball!” she said. While A. Bessette teaches at Stevenson,  “I’ll be staying home and exploring with Grace, Olivia, and Lilly!” stated Kelsey Bessette.


Naomi Ude ’21, said, “I had the privilege of having Mrs. Bessette as my third-form dorm parent, coach, and teacher. I’m so grateful to have had her in my life during such a formative time in both my Hill career and my adolescence. She is one of the most passionate and caring people I’ve ever met.”


Brett Diogaurdi, the High Meadows Foundation chair of sustainability, dorm parent, assistant football coach, and environmental science teacher, has been a faculty member at Hill for four years. “I will leave Hill this summer to move back to my college town (Davidson, N.C.) to become the head of sustainability and supply chain for Summit Coffee,” he stated in an email. 


Kaitlyn Rosario ‘21, said, “I first met Mr. Dio when I managed football, and he welcomed Bella and I with open arms. Then he became the teacher I could trust to go to with every problem and dilemma.”


Chanel Erasmus, a donor relations officer, has been working at Hill for four years in the Office of Institutional Giving and served as the Director of the Hill Squash Teams and a dorm parent in Foster. After Hill, Erasmus plans to move to the Netherlands. 


“Coach Erasmus has been the most amazing coach, mentor, and friend to all players and students here at Hill. Above all, she was a positive voice in the team’s lives and she put genuine purpose into every point. I know that wherever she ends up coaching next, those players will be able to achieve success unbeknownst to them and walk off the court a better person and player,” stated Portia Sockel ’22.


Sophia Gantenbein, a French instructor, has been a faculty member at Hill for three years. Out of the classroom Gantenbein coached crew, merging her two high school passions. After Hill, she plans to attain a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology, taking her love for language and communication to a scientific level.


Aidan Ma ’23, said, “I’ll always remember the times we spent together as an advisory, and Hill won’t be the same without her, but I’m excited for her to be able to move along and continue her journey with the languages, and I hope that she can bring the happiness and care that she brought to our advisory to her future pursuits.”


Erin Ruane, science instructor, Rolfe dorm parent, and coach of girls cross country, has been working at Hill for 11 years. She was the first woman and woman of color to serve as the Science Department Chair. After Hill she plans to teach chemistry at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. 


Ben Greenberg ’22, said, “Ms. Ruane has been a great advisor these past three years and has helped everyone in every way possible. She has always been willing to do whatever we need and picks us up when we need it the most.”


Rebecca Shipper ’14, alumni, math instructor, head softball coach, and dorm parent at Upper School East 3, has been a faculty member at Hill for two years. “This fall I am enrolling at the University of Delaware to begin a PhD in Applied Math with a focus on cardiovascular and health systems modeling,” she stated in an email. 


Kelly Dempsey ’23, said, “Coach Shipper made not only me better but everyone on the team better. She did whatever she needed to in order to improve our team. Even when our team was struggling, Coach Shipper was able to help us fix the problems and lift us up.”


Nate Yinger ’05, alumni and sport information director, has been working at Hill for 14 years, first as a summer job with Building and Grounds. He became a full-time employee in 2011. Next year he plans to be the Communications and Advancement Manager at St. Bani School in Sanbornton, N.H. “Hill is all I’ve ever known, and, while the school will always hold a special place in my heart, it’s time for me to experience something different,” Yinger stated.


“Mr. Yinger, you have impacted my life dramatically. Without you, I wouldn’t have found my love for javelin and been able to pursue it in college. You not only were my coach, but also a great mentor to me. You’ve pushed me to keep positive through all of the obstacles in my life and have inspired me to be the best that I can be. You’re the most down-to-earth person that I know. Thank you for all the time and effort you’ve invested into me,” stated Andrew D’Asaro ’21.