Chowdhry and Kinnell Move On
After five years of dedicated teaching, both the science and math departments are losing beloved teachers. Saira Chowdhry and Brendan Kinnell have decided to leave Packer next year. The Packer community will mourn their departure, and their absence will definitely leave a mark on the atmosphere.
Ms. Chowdhry’s story as a member of the faculty starts five years ago. Other than teaching at a boarding school in New Jersey for a year, teaching chemistry and biology at Packer was the first credit on her resumé and what ultimately gave her the tools to be a great biology teacher today. She single-handedly formed the curriculum for her own AT biology class and helped influence the common student-involved classroom setting that is so popular in the science department.She attributes most of her success to her colleagues and students, who push her every day to become a better teacher than she was the day before.
“I’m glad that I’ve had people like Dr. Lurain and Mr. Ruch to help me along the way to be the best teacher I can be,” said Ms. Chowdhry.
Ms. Chowdhry is going to be moving upstate after the school year ends with her husband. There she will be teaching AP biology to ninth graders, which she feels very excited about given that she has never taught freshman before.
Ms. Chowdhry also gave insight into what she thinks her impact has been throughout her time at Packer. She thought that she could be recognized as a positive role model for people with similar backgrounds and goals.
“I think that being a young, female, person of color in science can have a huge impact,” Ms. Chowdhry explained. “It just goes to show that you can be those identities and still be successful.”
Mr. Kinnell also joined the Packer family five years ago. He has taught ninth grade advanced geometry and eleventh grade advanced pre-calculus. With his unique personality and teaching style, Mr. Kinnell has been crucial to the development the math department’s curriculum.
An extremely enthusiastic math fanatic, Mr. Kinnell has touched the hearts of many Packer students. It will be very hard to see him go. He is leaving this year to move to a more accessible area for his wife, an artist, and two kids. He will continue to teach, and we send him the best of luck as he moves on to his new life.
With the loss of such iconic members of the Packer community, it is necessary to look at the most memorable times these teachers will look back on for years to come.
Ms. Chowdhry attributes her favorite moments to the “connections we made during class. [She] love[s] all the inside jokes we made and the dynamic of the class.” In particular, she feels a special bond with the seniors.
“I’ve taught a lot of the seniors in chemistry, bio, and now AT bio, so it’s almost as if I’m graduating with them,” said Ms. Chowdhry.
Ms. Chowdhry’s peers also shared their fondest memories with her. Mr. Ruch, Chowdhry’s colleague and close friend, recalls his favorite attribute of Ms. Chowdhry’s to be her enthusiasm for her work.
“I’ve rarely met somebody who put that much energy into her craft,” said Mr. Ruch. “She’s always looking to improve.” Ms. Chowdhry has made many intimate, long-lasting relationships that will keep the Packer community in her thoughts and her heart.
Ms. Chowdhry’s student of three consecutive years, Henry Morgan (‘17), attested to her “compassion and positivity. She was always so understanding.”
Mr. Kinnell, as well, has a multitude of great memories to leave with as he creates his new life.
“Something I’ll definitely remember was during the Math Arts symposium when a sculptor came. We made this massive sculpture and it was a blast. Everything I love—math, art, and building stuff—all came together,” said Mr. Kinnell.
Similarly, many students have bonded with Mr. Kinnell on a level where he has managed to influence their love for math.
“Through being his student my freshman year, and being in Math Club with him, it had become so abundantly clear to me that he wants nothing more than for his students to truly love and engage in what they are learning, and he is constantly pushing them to do so,” said Sam Tecotzky (‘18).
As we finish the school year, we will try to remember our friends that are graduating, along with the adored faculty members that, in a way, are graduating along with them.