George Hrab, a longtime faculty member at MKA, recently announced that he will retire from teaching at the end of the school year. Currently an Upper School science teacher, George has been recognized as an outstanding coach and Athletic Director as well as an impactful classroom teacher over his 52 years at the school.
Appointed to the faculty of Montclair Academy in 1969, George was hired to coach and teach physical education. Twenty years later, when George stepped down as Athletic Director, he was encouraged to join the science department, where he has taught for 32 years. Laurie Smith, his colleague in the science department, shared, “It’s been a gift to work with George. He models what it means to be a true teacher [and is the] personification of the passion and dedication he has for his subject, students, colleagues, and our school.” George’s wife, Myra, also taught and coached at MKA from 1982-2007, and they are the parents of two MKA graduates, Alexandra '86 and George J. '89.
The winner of the MKA Founders’ Cup for Teaching Excellence in 1996, George was also inducted into MKA’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. His career at Montclair Academy and MKA is “without comparison for length of service, sustained vitality, and the unalloyed respect and affection of thousands of students and hundreds of colleagues,” noted Head of School Tom Nammack. Head of Upper School Dave Flocco reflected on the “immeasurable” impact George has had as a leader among the faculty. He said, “There is no one else who has more fully earned the trust and admiration of the Upper School faculty. And this goes way beyond George’s institutional knowledge and experience. It has more to do with his willingness to listen, collaborate, and represent the views of colleagues who mean the world to him (and he to them) now and for more than five decades.”
George was a witness to MKA’s merger of Montclair Academy, The Kimberley School, and Brookside in 1974. He discussed the evolution of and progress at MKA in a Q&A session held to celebrate his 50th year at the school in 2018. George said, “One of the big differences between then and now, is how the school has expanded its offerings of experiences outside the classroom with global experiences and community service, [which] is important in students’ development as human beings.” Both Dr. Flocco and Mr. Nammack pointed to the fact that no alumni event is ever held without former students asking for Mr. Hrab and marveling at the impact he had on them in and out of the classroom. Of all the roles and titles George has been given, teacher, advisor, coach, colleague, and mentor, it is the title of “teacher” that he prefers and has embodied in all his time. The MKA community is so very thankful for his dedication to students, families, and colleagues and wish him nothing but the very best in his retirement.