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Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:18:49 PM

Megan McArdle '90 speaks to students after her talk. 


Megan McArdle '90, a columnist for The Washington Post and author of "The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success," spoke at an Upper School assembly today as part of the Class of 1957 Speaker Series.

McArdle, whose columns have a libertarian perspective, encouraged students to think about issues from multiple perspectives and to tolerate others who may have radically different points of view. 

Similarly, she encouraged students to approach their own life decisions with an open mind. "Wander around and try stuff," she said.

"Your lives are going to have way more randomness than you expect now," she said. "There are no guarantees." 

She continued: "That is why I love journalism — it's about not knowing what you are doing and figuring it out. Your lives are going to be like that too. You're going to figure it out."

Watch her talk here. 



Posted Wednesday, Feb 6, 2019 5:19:54 PM

Coach Al Davis at the Buzzell Games in 2013. Photo by Robert Kenas '60.

Coach Al Davis, a decorated World War II veteran who began a legendary career at Riverdale in 1953 and worked at the school for most of his life, died early today at his home. He was 94. 

Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph called a special Middle and Upper School assembly this afternoon to announce the news to students and faculty. Here is a video of his remarks. A close friend of Al's, Kent Kildahl, the former head of the Upper School and a member of the English department, also gave a remembrance of Al as did Carol Pouliot, dean of the Class of '21 and a member of the Physical Education/Athletics departments.

Coach Davis was a beloved physical education teacher and coach. In his later years, he served as the school archivist. The Class of 1964 established an annual teaching award in his name and the Al Davis Scholar-Athlete Award is given annually to a male and female athlete. His life story inspired a video made in 2015. 

"On this sad day, I thought it appropriate to share with you the words associated with the Al Davis Teaching Award: Al taught us that we are capable of great things but only with our fullest effort; that full effort is a joyous act and transforms failure into a kind of success; that community is a precious thing; that we are all individuals and that the highest act of an individual is to contribute to a team; and that teaching -- and learning -- at its highest level transcends the walls of a classroom and the demands of a curriculum and is finally an act of mutual respect, commitment, and love," Randolph said in a letter to the community.

A memorial service will be held at the school. Remembrances of Al may be shared with Robin Gottlieb, Director of Alumni Affairs and Institutional Engagement, at

Posted Tuesday, Jan 15, 2019 1:07:00 PM

In 9th grade history, students make trips to New York City neighborhoods to learn about globalization. 


More than 150 educators from around the world who specialize in experiential education will gather at Riverdale Country School from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25 for the 14th annual Winter Institute of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN).

The theme of this year's conference is “Beyond Borders: Experiential Education Through the Lens of Equity & Justice.” Dr. Elizabeth Pillsbury, director of experiential education at Riverdale, worked with ISEEN on the planning of the conference. "The challenge of taking on another's view is the heart of this conference's theme," said Pillsbury, a member of the history faculty who teaches a course on urban studies. Members of the Riverdale faculty will take participants to New York City neighborhoods that reflect the city's socioeconomic, cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity. They will lead discussions about how urban landscapes provide information about the people who live there.

Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph will give the opening keynote address, and Dwight Vidale '01, Riverdale's director of community engagement, and Emily Schorr Lesnick  '07, the former Upper School director of service learning who is now the social-emotional learning coordinator at University Prep in Seattle, will organize discussions along with Pillsbury related to the conference's theme.

One day will be devoted to group trips and activities led by Riverdale faculty and students that demonstrate some of the school's experiential learning opportunities. Examples include:   

  • Archival Research Project at the United Nations (Dr. Laura Honsberger)  
  • New York City Contemporary Art (Nicky Enright and Natalia Mercedes Rodriguez '19)
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Experience (Melissa Marturano and Jessica Shapiro-Weill '99)
  • Theater as a Means of Connection with Verbatim Performance Lab (Emily Schorr Lesnick)
  • Applications of Computer Science: Design Thinking to Mindfulness (Andrew Abate)
  • Learning With Leather and Lasers (Jason Ruff)
  • Exploring Landforms, Topography, and Erosion Through Augmented Reality and Maker Activities (Richard Brehl, John Mueser, Laurie Bartels, and Patrick Murray)
  • Criminal Arraignments and the Innocence Project (Dwight Vidale '01, Kent Kildahl, and Jane (Tally) Pucher of the Innocence Project) 
  • Adaptations to Changing Ecosystems (Marshall Nicoloff, Dr. Rachel Cox, Maddy Noah '19, and Leo Pappajohn '19)
  • Ebbs and Flows of Life: An Introduction to the Micro-Histories of the Brooklyn Waterfront (Dr. Elizabeth Pillsbury) 
  • Escape the Classroom: Escape the Room games for team-building lessons (Michael Sclafani)
  • Black Brooklyn, Slum Clearance, and Gentrification (Dr. Elizabeth Pillsbury and Phyllis Dugan) 
  • Body and Soul: Exploring Afro-Latino Music and Dance (Jannely Almonte Ortiz and Milena Almira)

ISEEN represents educators working in outdoor/adventure education, global education/travel, community engagement/service learning, sustainability, leadership development, and classroom pedagogy. 


For More Information

Robin Gottlieb
Director of Alumni Affairs and Institutional Engagement

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



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Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

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Bronx, NY 10471
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