MTHS Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Last Updated: 4/9/2019 4:28 PM

Sandra Ackerman

Sandra Ackerman Sinclair grew up in Montville, dribbling around the soccer field as often as she could. At Montville Township High School, she was a busy honors student, always creating motivational messages for her soccer and track teams. Although she was involved in the National Honor Society and Amnesty International, her true passion was sport, where she excelled. By the time of graduation, she had 12 varsity letters; garnered school records for soccer (113 career points and 22 goals in one season) and for track (600, 800, and 1000 meter races); gained all-county recognition in soccer and track; achieved all-state in soccer; and played on the New Jersey Olympic Development Program Soccer Team. One could always find her training on the soccer field or at the track. Sandra felt fortunate to have a supportive track coach who allowed her to shorten her track workouts when required to attend weekly NJODP soccer practices in South Jersey.

At Drexel University, she continued her love of soccer, earning a Division-1 scholarship. She earned conference “rookie of the week” honors as a freshman, All-Conference Rookie Team, and was named team captain by the spring of her sophomore year. She was brought in as an outside halfback, but quickly took on center mid-field, which positioned her as a team leader. She was graduated, holding school records for most points in one season and for career, career goals, goals in one season, and most game-winning goals. Sandra completed her B.S. in Elementary Education and Psychology, and was graduated magna cum laude in 2004. She received Drexel University’s Scholar Athlete Award for all four years.

Although prepared to begin a career in education, she pursued the field of counseling. She attended New York University, earning her master’s degree, where she remained connected to athletes by providing academic advisement to the NYU athletic population. Sandra sought additional training and was accepted to Seton Hall’s Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program, where she spent the next five years earning her Ph.D.

Sandra’s research goals were focused on college athletes and breaking down stereotypes about mental health treatment in the collegiate athletic community. Sandra created a psycho-educational workshop designed to improve attitudes and decrease the stigma around mental health counseling. Her dissertation was titled “Attitudes Towards Help-Seeking and Mental Health Among College Athletes: Impact of a Psycho-educational Workshop.” Sandra trained at two college counseling centers and was honored to complete a full-time internship at the New Jersey Veterans’ Affairs Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey. Sandra was graduated from Seton Hall University in 2011 with her Ph.D. She has presented at conferences in New York, Toronto, and San Francisco.

Sandra is currently a psychologist at Seton Hall University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, where she works with undergraduate and graduate students facing a range of mental health issues. She is the staff liaison for the student athlete population, continuing to stay connected to her love of sport. Sandra is a member of the American Psychological Association and is proud to be among such esteemed individuals tonight. She is thankful to her family—especially her parents and husband—and friends for all the love and support they have shown her in reaching her goals.

Debra Cannella Socci 1977

For Debra Cannella Socci, the decision to dedicate her life to law enforcement was an easy one. She knew when she was fifteen that she wanted to become a lawyer. To all who know her, Debra’s careful formulation of a ten-year plan and her determination to accomplish this goal came as no surprise. An honor roll student and National Honor Society member at Montville Township High School, Debra began paving the way to a career in law enforcement early on by attending Trooper Youth Week, hosted by the New Jersey State Police. Though her extracurricular activities also included cheering on the pom-pom squad, volunteering for Student Government, and studying Spanish, she never lost sight of her dream.

Her interest in the law remained strong during her years at Boston College. She was graduated with a political science major and wrote her Senior Honors Thesis on the doctrine of prior restraint. Attending law school at Georgetown University Law Center was the next logical step in her ten-year plan. After that, she passed the New Jersey state bar examination in 1984 and became a member of the D.C. Bar. In 1984, Debra began working as a law clerk for the Honorable Anthony J. Iuliani, J.S.C. Yet it was not until the next year that Debra found her true calling and passion with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in Newark, New Jersey.

Ten years later, after having been assigned to several units as a trial attorney, and having argued a case before the New Jersey Supreme Court, Debra was appointed as the Director of the Domestic Violence Unit. She held this position from 1995 to 2005. These were the years that defined her body of work. Her hard-won reputation as a dedicated public servant was a result of her work on behalf of battered women, extensive teaching experience as a lecturer on the subject of Domestic Violence, and mentorship of newly hired assistant prosecutors. In the final five years of her career with the Prosecutor’s Office, Debra worked as a Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor, overseeing the management of cases in various stages of the pre-indictment process. Though she accepted retirement from this position in April of 2010 with reluctance, Debra would not remain idle for long.

Two months after her last day with the Prosecutor’s Office, she began teaching Criminal Law courses at Caldwell College as an adjunct professor. In her ever-dwindling spare time, she volunteers with the Pine Brook Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary and St. Pius X Catholic Church. Recently, Debra entered the private practice of law. In July, she became a partner at the law office of Brian J. Aloia LLC in Bloomfield, New Jersey. She is married to Joseph Socci, and has two children, Christina and Joseph, who both attended Montville Township High School and currently attend Dickinson College.

Hannah Choi Granade 1997

The success that Hannah Choi Granade has achieved thus far in her business career can be attributed in large part, she believes, to her involvement in the Montville Township High School debate team. Mary Gormley, the debate team coach, was a profoundly influential role model. Mrs. Gormley coached Hannah for four years and helped her build skills in public speaking, critical thinking, and leadership. The debate team also taught Hannah about achievement and competition, and opened the door to international experiences that have strongly influenced her leadership and management style today.

Hannah excelled in other areas during her years at MTHS. She was selected by the Westinghouse College Prep program to study at the Institute of Soil Science and Photosynthesis in Pushchino, Russia, where she conducted lab research alongside students from around the world. The same year, she competed on the U.S. debate team in the World Schools Debating Championships tournament in Australia, and she was selected to compete on the U.S. team in Bermuda the following year. As a senior, Hannah was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students, and was recognized as a USA Today All-American top scholar—an award given to the top 20 high school students in the country.

Hannah enrolled at Harvard College as a member of the Class of 2001. During her time there, she was an honorable mention awardee of the Harvard College Women’s Leadership Award, and was named one of the 15 most interesting seniors at Harvard by 15 Minutes magazine (the magazine of the Harvard Crimson).

After being graduated cum laude from Harvard, Hannah joined the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. She was one of a few of women working in the energy, industrial, aerospace, and defense sectors. She developed expertise in strategy, growth, regulation, and climate change topics. Her interest in these areas led to her role as lead author of “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy.” The widely-cited, groundbreaking McKinsey report was considered a bellwether in recognizing energy efficiency as an important resource to help meet the nation’s critical future energy needs.

Today, as president of Advantix Systems, Hannah has had an instrumental role in building an exciting growth path for the company which has garnered wide international attention. Earlier this year, she was named by Fast Company as one of the “2012 Most Creative People in Business.” Advantix was also recently profiled in The Economist—a news publication that Mrs. Gormley encouraged her to read when Hannah was a sophomore—fulfilling a life-long personal goal.

Hannah serves on the Research Advisory Council of the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED 2012 redesign committee, and advises several clean technology companies. She continues to use her debate and public speaking skills, and is a coveted speaker on the subject of the economics of energy efficiency. Recent speaking engagements have included the World Bank and the Energy Information Administration Conference, among other top global business and technology conferences.

Hannah is thrilled to be recognized by the MTHS Hall of Fame, and gratefully acknowledges her family and husband for their support.

Matthew Duddy 1983

Dr. Matthew Duddy grew up in Towaco as the middle child of seven boys. Athletics were a very big part of the family lifestyle with equal emphasis on earning good grades. Wrestling was his first competitive sport and he started as early as the third grade. He remembers his father shaking his hand and congratulating him on his first win on the junior varsity level after almost three years without a victory. Matthew’s winning ways came slowly and gradually, and continued from that day forward. He also participated in baseball and football, with the latter ending after his freshman year to devote all of his training to the sport in which he excelled. At Montville Township High School, he maintained a solid B average and was the treasurer of his senior class. He was voted best dressed, friendliest, and best all-around by his classmates. In his senior year, Matthew was voted by local papers First Dream Team and First Team All Skyline in their Skyline division.

In 1980, Matthew was invited as a freshman to the Senior Awards Night where he was awarded the M.I.P. award for wrestling on the varsity level. Most Improved Player awards were rarely ever awarded to freshman. He was the only freshman invited to that awards dinner. Matthew went on to win the MVP for the next three consecutive years. His wrestling awards and achievements include an undefeated senior year, two time district champ in two separate districts, regional runner up and state quarter finalist, two time Garfield Tournament champion with one being the tournament MVP, Lenape Valley Tournament champion and tournament MVP, and Pequannock tournament champion.

In 1982 and 1983, Matthew and his brother, Chris, each won the Whitney Scholarship. This scholarship allowed them to attended sports trainer courses, as well as a wrestling camp for a week. It was awarded to them to help them with a possible sports training future as well as to better their current athletic abilities with wrestling. The wrestling skills learned gave Matt an advantage in future matches. He still uses many of the techniques learned at the sports trainer courses in his Chiropractic practice today!

In December of 1990, Matthew opened his own practice in Avondale, Pennsylvania, after scoring a perfect score on his state boards.

In 1993 at the age of 27, he was voted onto the town council as the youngest councilman on record and ultimately became president of his town at age 29. Matthew initiated, coached, and funded a wrestling program in Avondale for first through eighth grade students to pass on the many values that were instilled in him as a youth dedicated to athletics.

Matthew currently resides in Warren, New Jersey, with his beautiful wife Nadia, son Blake Joseph, and their dog Jeter. Matthew enjoys spending most of his time with his son with both academics as well as athletics. He wants his son to have the same experiences he had and more.

David Randle 1981

The son of English immigrants, David grew up in Montville. He was graduated sixth in a class of 277, was inducted into the National Honor Society, and still speaks the French he learned at MTHS. David earned four varsity letters (three in cross country, one in track). He was co-captain of the cross country team, and was selected by the Citizen newspaper for their cross country “Dream Team” in 1980.

David received his B.S. degree in 1985 from the United States Naval Academy, majoring in Operations Analysis. David earned two Master’s Degrees, both with distinction. The first was in Material Logistics Support from Naval Postgraduate School, with a thesis on training to improve inventory management. The second was in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. David traveled to South Africa, Mozambique, and Lesotho while studying Reconstruction and Vital Infrastructure. His capstone paper was on delivering clean drinking water to rural populations in the developing world.

David’s military career spanned 29 years and took him to 28 countries. David became a Navy Aerospace Maintenance Officer and served in Fighter Squadron 142, Naval Air Station Norfolk, USS Theodore Roosevelt, American Embassy Kuwait, U.S.S. Nimitz, U.S.S. Carl Vinson, Naval Air Systems Command (twice), and Chief of Naval Operations staff. He has deployed to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and made four six-month deployments.

It was in Kuwait City that David met the love of his life, Fiona McInnes, a British schoolteacher. They were wed in 1998, and their son Luke was born in September, 2000.

In 2001, David was selected as department head for 380 young men and women repairing aircraft components aboard U.S.S. Carl Vinson. Instead of a routine Gulf deployment, the tragic events of September 11th put U.S.S. Carl Vinson at the tip of America’s spear. She launched the first strikes of Operation Enduring Freedom, and continued bombing for 72 days, until the Taliban government was removed from power.

In 2007–2008, David resourced the operations, maintenance, and support for all of Navy/Marine Corps aviation, totaling $8 billion annually. David closed out his active duty career as military lead for 1,550 people nationwide who plan the maintenance and logistics for all 3,700 Navy/Marine aircraft.

David Randle retired from active duty military in June, 2011. He and his family live in southern Maryland, where David works as contract support to the Navy. He is Project Manager for the MH-60R/S Navy Aviation Simulator Master Plan, upgrading helicopter simulators so that simulated flight hours can be substituted for a portion of actual flight hours, saving tens of millions of dollars.

David caught the road cycling bug. He rides his bicycles over 4,000 miles per year, and is a board member of Patuxent Velo Cycling. He designs and marks the route for the St. Mary’s Century in September, when 300 to 400 cyclists come to southern Maryland for a great day of cycling. David is an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America. He was recently selected for Order of the Arrow, the honor society of Scouting.

Beth Richman 1981

Beth Richman is currently President of BlueBird Media Consulting, LLC. She specializes in research and content development for children’s media. Her particular expertise is in designing educational goals for curriculum-based television series, as well as in conducting qualitative research with preschool and school-age children, parents, and educators. Prior to starting her consulting business in 2006, Beth was Director of Development and Creative Executive for Scholastic Media where she managed the development and production of new television projects, including Maya and Miguel for PBS.

Beth has also held several positions in the Education and Research Division of Sesame Workshop. She was Director of Content, helping to develop and implement curricula for television programming. Beth was also Assistant Director for International Research, focusing on research and content development for international co-productions of Sesame Street. As a researcher at Sesame Workshop, Beth also worked on the development of new programming, on outreach into communities, and on 3-2-1 Contact, a science and technology series. Beth is a contributing author to the book “G” is for “Growing”: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street; has co-authored numerous articles; and has delivered a variety of presentations on issues related to creating educational television for children. She is also a Senior Advisor to Women in Children’s Media (WiCM), an organization committed to creating and distributing thoughtful, entertaining media to children and young adults.

Beth spent all four years of high school as a member of the Forensics team and was proud to represent Montville at two National competitions as the State Champion in her speech category. She also has happy memories of being involved in the high school’s Fall plays, Spring musicals, as well as local theater festivals. Beth was a member of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Scholar.

Beth is deeply grateful to MTHS Music and Drama teacher, Mrs. Janice Kucher-Patenaude. Jan was Beth’s teacher, mentor, and long-time friend. As a teacher, she gave Beth the gift of an abiding love of theater and storytelling; as a mentor, she challenged her intellect and encouraged her creativity; and, as a friend, she showed Beth what it meant to live one’s life with an enormous, generous, and open heart. Beth’s life is infinitely richer for having known Jan.

Beth holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.A. in English from Amherst College. She currently enjoys life in Cos Cob, Connecticut, with her husband, Isaac Barrocas, their daughters Sofia and Ruby, and a flock of wild turkeys in the backyard.

Lisa Schwartz 1981

Lisa Schwartz’s academic career began at the Valley View Elementary School. She has wonderful memories of sixth grade with Miss Novak, who fostered her love of reading, and Mr. Wargacki (she was one of only four girls to take calculus), who introduced her to integrals and British pop music. She was in the National Honor Society and on the track and tennis teams.

Lisa fulfilled her dream to become a doctor. She was graduated from the New York University School of Medicine, completed her internal medicine residency at NYU/Bellevue Hospital, and served as a staff physician in City hospital clinics on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Working with a mostly non-English speaking immigrant community, Lisa became concerned about how the medical system cared for patients. For example, it was very easy for doctors to order tests, but extremely hard to understand which tests to order because they had no access to trained interpreters.

The desire to understand how to improve things led Lisa—and her husband, fellow Bellevue alumnus, Steven Woloshin—to do a research fellowships at Dartmouth Medical School. They both got M.S. degrees in the Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and began a joint research career.

Lisa’s interest in doctor-patient communication broadened beyond language barriers to improving the communication of medical evidence to physicians, journalists, and the public. Specifically, her research addresses the excessive fear and hope created by exaggerations, distortions, and selective reporting in medical journals, advertising, and health news. Her areas of expertise include risk communication (screening, medical statistics), prescription drugs (FDA policy, pharmaceutical industry, evidence, advertising), medicine and the media, and overdiagnosis.

Lisa is now a full Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She co-directs the VA Outcomes Research group at the White River Junction VA Medical Center and the Center for Medicine in the Media at Dartmouth’s Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. She co-directs the survey research course in the Master’s Program at the Dartmouth Institute, and works as a general internist at the White River Junction VA Medical Center.

Lisa has published nearly 100 articles in leading medical journals, many of which have been covered in the national news media. She is also a columnist for the British Medical Journal.

In addition to her traditional research, Lisa has worked with the FDA to improve the quality of prescription drug information and developed the drug facts box (included as section 3507 in the Affordable Care Act). In collaboration with the National Institutes of Medicine, Lisa runs an annual symposium for Health Journalists called Medicine and the Media: Reporting on Medical Research. She is the co-author of two books: Know Your Chances (University of California Press) and Overdiagnosed (Beacon Press). Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, including an occasional series called “Healthy Skepticism.”

Lisa now lives in Vermont with her husband Steven, their children Emma and Eli, and their dogs Morgie and Mandie.

Nelson Perez 1974

Nelson’s 20 years of service to the Newark Fire Department began with humble beginnings in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, where he spent his early days. As a young boy, he was introduced to Montville Township and, with his family, planted his roots on Hilldale Road in Pine Brook. An avid sports fan, Nelson frequently joined pickup games at Etta Konner field where he would rub shoulders with future brother-in-law Thomas D’Alessandro (2005 MTHS Hall of Fame Inductee).

Nelson attended Hilldale School and Central Middle School before being graduated from Montville Township High School in 1974. There, he met Denise D’Alessandro and the two were married in 1978. Nelson and Denise had a daughter, Marlena, in 1981, followed by their son, Rickey, in 1984.

Through the years, Nelson faced adversity in his career but continued to persevere. Like his father Felix before him, Nelson worked hard to put food on the table by taking on multiple jobs. At the age of 35, Nelson earned a spot in the Newark Fire Department and later was promoted to Arson Detective for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

His life experiences accumulated over time and the evidence of his selfless desire to serve came to the forefront in the early 2000s. Nelson worked with the Hispanic community of Newark by serving in the roles of Vice President and President of the Hispanic Firefighters Association, Vice President of the Hispanic Law Enforcement Society of Essex County, and City of Newark South Ward District Leader. In addition, he was one of the first responders to the September 11, 2001, attacks and spent evenings outdoors at ground zero doing what he could to contribute to the rescue and recovery.

Nelson was also known for his passion to help children, evident by his service to the Board of Education. He was quick to organize the annual Hispanic Firefighters’ Scholarship Dinner and could often be found collecting toys during the holidays for children in need. He had the utmost respect from his own children, who were proud of their father until the very end.

He inspired his children to attend a four-year university and earn a Bachelor’s degree, a dream for himself that he did not have until later in life, and a goal he sadly did not accomplish. Nelson did find time to take courses at Essex County College and had a passion for Forensic Science.

On May 28, 2011, Nelson passed away suddenly at the age of fifty-five. The one dream which was most important to him would have been to spend the remainder of his days with his children, mother Carmen, brothers Ronnie and Dennis, sisters Brenda and Carmen in Orlando, Florida, and as frequent as possible, take road trips to the Washington D.C. area for visits with his sisters Janet and Donia. Nelson was planning to move to Orlando in August, 2016, after completing his 25th year in Newark.

All those who survive him will cherish Nelson’s 24-year legacy in Montville Township. His endurance and steadiness through hard times will never be forgotten.

Jack Lynch, Contributor

Jack started teaching at Montville in the fall of 1986 with 20 years experience. Before Montville, he was graduated with a B.A. in History from Iona College, and later with a M.A. in American Studies from Fairfield University. In 1966, he started at St. Cecilia’s School in East Harlem discovering his passion for teaching and coaching. Later, he joined Essex Catholic HS in Newark teaching English and coaching Basketball, Baseball, and even Fencing. After a few years, Jack moved to Iona Grammar School in New Rochelle working as Assistant Headmaster, Chair of the Humanities Department, and Athletic Director, as well as a teacher and coach. Finally, he moved to the Morristown Beard School to coach Varsity Football and Basketball, and later as the Middle School Director of Guidance.

After 25 years at Montville Township High School, Jack retired after a combined 45 years of experience in July of 2011. He really feels blessed to be able to have the support of former students, parents, peers, and administrators who gave him the opportunity to do what he loves. Jack thanks Mike Williams for encouraging hime to come to Montville, where he had a chance to work side by side with his best friend and some fantastic colleagues for the past 25 years. During his early years at Montville, Jack taught English 10 and 11 on all three levels where he met some very enthusiastic students including Kurt Kilanowski. Kurt would become a wonderful colleague and best friend.

Later, Jack was asked to work in the honors and AP programs in the 11 and 12 grades sprinkled in with American History II. He was excited to work with some of the brightest individuals of the community. As he challenged, pushed, and prodded them to excel, they always exceed his expectations and pushed him to give everything that he had. One day in his CP class, Jack remembers a student complaining that the class was reading some of the same British and World Literature as the honors’ classes. His response was pretty basic, “Great literature is not only for the brightest, it is for all. Even Shakespeare wanted the ‘groundlings’ in his audience.” Jack loved teaching every level, especially the lowest. He never watered down the material, he just went a little slower. What Jack brought to teaching, he also brought to coaching. He loved every moment on the soccer/baseball fields, basketball courts, and swimming pools.

Some of Jack’s past students and friends have asked him which were his favorite classes. His answer was always the same, “The ones I am teaching now.” Jack taught the literature of the greatest writers of the world, but more important than the subject matter were the young minds, hearts, and souls of this great community, “the future of America.” There were some challenges and some failures in the process, but like Jack, they were just kids searching for some true meaning, especially for the most important question: who am I?

1982 Boys' Basketball Team

There was a great deal expected of the 1981–82 Montville Boys’ Basketball team and they didn’t disappoint. They won 85% of their games and played in front of packed gyms at every game. The core of the team was made up of seven seniors: co-captain Ken Abere, co-captain John O’Reilly, Tom MacInerney, Scott Glouss, Dave Jaugstetter, Joe Huffman, and Joe Colavito. This group experienced great success during its first three seasons having been part of the school’s first Conference Championship as sophomores. During the 1981–82 seasons, the team was coached by Rich “Vee” Vuyosevich and assistant Dan Kelleher. Coach Vee coached this group freshman year, and took over as varsity head coach for the group’s sophomore year. He was also an important part of the team during the junior season.

The 1981–82 team compiled a record of 24-4. This group of seniors won approximately 90 games in their four years at Montville. During that season, they won the school’s second league championship (undefeated), gained a semi-final appearance in the Morris County tournament (lost by 2 in overtime), and earned a trip to the State Sectional final. The sectional final versus Linden was a game for the ages. Not many gave the MTHS team a chance to be able to compete against a top-five team in the state. The Linden team felt that Montville would buckle under their pressure and intimidation. Much to everyone’s surprise (aside from the team), Montville was not intimidated, and actually led by one point with a minute to go in the game, only to lose by one point. The four losses that year were against some of the top teams in North Jersey.

The team played an aggressive style that was predicated on strong defense and fast breaks. The team fed off Coach Vee’s fiery and accountable leadership style. Co-captains Abere and O’Reilly earned All-County and All-Conference honors and both went on to play college basketball at Trinity and Bridgeport, respectively. During the 1981–82 season, Abere became the school’s third player to reach 1000 points, and was selected to play in the North/South All-Start game held at Rutgers. The other senior members on that team went on to play college football and baseball, with Joe Huffman being drafted in baseball. The balance of the 1981–82 team included Jerry Hug (Hall of Fame 2003), Pete Yorn (Hall of Fame 2003), John Dixon, Todd Bechtel, and Paul Crum.