Each school year, the faculty at Nichols School provide tremendous guidance and encouragement to help their students learn and grow. Our faculty members are empowered to craft the curriculum as they see fit, to make learning relevant and rewarding for every child.
Faculty Friday features the outstanding teachers of Nichols School and showcases the work they do to help our students and our community.
Ron Montesano is a longtime Spanish teacher and golf coach at Nichols School, and he's a former Nichols parent as well. This week's interview dives into how Mr. Montesano has adjusted to the changes of this school year in his classes and as an advisor. He also leads the school's annual Bald for Bucks campaign, which this year raised over $30,000 to support Goin' Bald for Bucks and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
How long have you taught at Nichols?
June of 2021 will conclude 24 years of full-time teaching at Nichols School, but my first experience was teaching a Nichols class as a graduate student at SUNY Buffalo.
How does the Nichols School advisory experience benefit students? How do you maintain those connections with students and families through times of virtual and hybrid learning?
Advisory is one of those wonderful, intangible opportunities at 1250 Amherst Street. I am honored to be able to shepherd young men through four years at school. We stay connected through Zoom, messaging, and weekly advisory meetings.
What have you learned to do differently this year in planning Spanish classes, with students at home and in the classroom?
I’ve learned to relax, to allow students to access the language in the manner that suits them best, and I’ve introduced my classes to Spanish-language music with twice-daily doses of songs. The virtual students are super-dedicated, and they often lead the classes, with fantastic questions and observations.
How did you first get involved with Bald for Bucks?
It seems so long ago, the mid-2000s, when Tom Franz shaved Steve Moscov’s beard on the FPAC stage. I was thrilled to be a part of it. I came to the leadership role organically, and have been super fortunate to have wonderful students and colleagues join in each year.
The 2020 Bald for Bucks was one of the last community gatherings at Nichols before school transitioned to virtual learning last spring. What stands out to you as you look back at that event?
Cancer survivors tell us to celebrate every moment of our Bald For Bucks, with music, dance, and laughter. I will never forget a packed Albright Hall Reading Room, with Kahoot! trivia keeping kids interested, DJ Anthony running the show, and lots of giveaways. All that was missing was a T-Shirt cannon.
What was done differently for Bald for Bucks 2021?
We reached out to our Facilities department to help us set up in the Moot Meadow tent. We called in the Studio 1404 team from North Tonawanda, as our usual coif team from Buffalo Public Schools was unavailable. Finally, we welcomed Mary Russo from Roswell Park as our new, in-house director. Oh, and Mr. Rabb dyed his hair Hot Pink and I went Deep Purple.
Why do you enjoy teaching?
Teaching allows me to tell all those former children (current adults) that the world will be in good hands when we leave it. Teaching allows me to continue learning, growing, maturing, all the days of my life. I hope that I never retire from teaching.
What do you appreciate most about teaching at Nichols School?
Teaching, coaching, chaperoning, advising, editing at Nichols…that begins to tell the story. "Teaching” is spelled so many different ways at this school. I get to chaperone international exchanges, coach golf, advise students and the Verdian yearbook staff, and of course, teach Spanish. I get to do it all, to live the dream.