A long over due collection of tribute pages to the individuals who accepted the challenge of educating us.
I had the pleasure of being a GWMS student in Ridgewood while Mr. Neville was the principal. As a student, I bore witness to his drive to passionately and tirelessly provide an academically challenging but also safe, stable, and socially conscious environment for all his students. For me personally, Mr. Neville was always a beacon of light in the tumultuous storm that we call adolescence. There is no doubt that his leadership, mentorship, and friendship helped me pass through the many challenges of my middle school years, guiding me to become the educator and person I am today. As a professional, perhaps the most important event in my early career occurred when Mr. Neville and I reconnected in 2003 and met up at GWMS in Room 214 for coffee one weekend. Mr. Neville would go on to recommend me for a position at Ridgewood High School, making one of my biggest dreams come true. I would go on to spend 17 years as a teacher, thanking him for all he did for me each and every time I had the pleasure of seeing him.
Now I work at GWMS in Ridgewood as an assistant principal. My office is adjacent to the office where I would often be sent to see Mr. Neville when I was acting out as an adolescent. Not a day goes by, or will go by moving forward, that I do no think of this incredible, kind, passionate, man and all he did for me and other students. The phrase “pay it forward” is tossed around often these days but it truly applies to how I feel about Mr. Neville’s work. When I think of what motivates me professionally, I think of Mr. Neville’s legacy as a educator. If I can have a fraction of the impact Mr. Neville had on a generation of students (or “troops” as he would say…), I will consider mine a career well spent. Tim Monaghan, Vice Principal at George Washington Middle School
Obituary of George Neville
George Neville, 78, passed away on Saturday, August 20, 2022 in Princeton. He was born in Hartford, CT, grew up in Winchester, MA, and settled in Ridgewood, NJ. He graduated from Harvard University in 1966, attended Boston College Law School, and Tuft’s Graduate School in Massachusetts, where he met his wife of 49 years, Frances Jani. He enjoyed history, especially the American Civil War. He loved sports and was a three-sport athlete in college, participating in baseball, football, and basketball. He earned All-American honors in baseball: a wonderful culmination to a youth spent on the baseball diamond where he and his friends honed their skills and eventually played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1955 & ‘56. He spent the bulk of his career in education as Principal of the George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, NJ. There will always be a special place in his heart for his GW Family. George loved people most of all and had a unique ability to assemble an exceptional learning environment.
Richard Flechtner Richard Bennett Roger Sweeney Tony Napier
Jack Van Yperen Chuck Johnson Charles Bookstaver
Deans Of Girls
Dr. Lois B. Knox (1919-1954) Wilma J. McVeigh (1954-
Alan Bennett Larry Coyle Amy Emmers Loren Leek Stuart Postle
Kitty Batterson Jacob Brown Debbie Paul Jeff Yearing
“Uncle” Harry Ahearn Laura Fleming Charlotte McCane Milo Okema Medha Kirtane Harold Vaughan
Faith Colton Arthur Deeks Helen Towle
Donald E. Bowler George Murphy Arthur Rispoli
C. Betram Harmon John Lochner Robert Whittemore
Principals & Assistant Principals
John McCutcheon George Egli Frank S. Foley William C. Leach
Irwin B. Somerville George Neville John Archibald Basil Pizzuto