Faye Turitz, who will retire at the end of June after 11 years as secretary in the Scarsdale Alternative School, has worked in the Scarsdale School system for 17 years, first as a part-time office aide at Heathcote Elementary School and then as a special education staffer for two and a half years at Scarsdale High School.
When Turitz felt it was time for a move, she wanted to go to the A-School, though she didn’t know much about it when she first arrived.
More than a decade later, she said she feels “incredibly lucky and fortunate” to have been part of the program.
“There are sometimes jobs that feel special to you, and this was definitely one of them,” said Turitz.
Over the years Turitz shepherded the A-School yearbook, spring fair and any other event that the community wanted to plan. Students in the program are elected to head up events, and almost every event leader had to work closely with Turitz to get the job done and keep it running smoothly.
Turitz said working with the students, especially those who were event leaders, would be the thing she will miss most about the A-School.
Every pair of event or project heads is different, she said, and she relished the opportunity to teach them new skills.
Jennifer Maxwell, the A-School director, said that by working with Turitz students learned organization skills, clear communication, advanced planning and budgeting.
During her three years at the A-School, Taylor Lonner, SHS class of 2016, coordinated three A-School yearbooks. Lonner remembers Turitz walking her through the process, collecting the parent-sponsored ads that help pay for the publication, and introducing her to the production company. Whenever Lonner started to feel stressed, Turitz was right there to calm her down.
“I like to think that while students are the heart of the A-School, Faye is the brain,” said Lonner. “We could function without her, but only like a chicken without its head.”
“Faye is the backbone of the A-School,” said Sloane Pick, SHS class of 2016, who helped with the tag sale for the A-School fairs.
In his master of ceremonies speech at the A-School’s 2019 graduation, SHS senior Sam Hoffman thanked Turitz for “her boundless kindness and tireless hard work.”
Turitz also helped in less obvious ways behind the scenes when it came to buying A-School apparel, sending out emails, checking spelling and formatting, keeping track of internship forms and making sure the A-School’s infamous detailed transcripts were in order.
“When people walk into the A-School and see Faye and me hard at work, I’m sure they assume she’s the director,” said Maxwell in a speech at graduation on June 21.
A special aspect of the A-School is how relaxed and close-knit the community is. Watching the students grow from timid and quiet sophomores to confident seniors who have found their own unique voice is something Turitz said she enjoyed over the years.
Emma Kornberg, SHS class of 2018, who took over the yearbook after Lonner graduated, said, “I enjoyed all [of Faye’s] hello’s in the hallway, the many adorable photos of her dog, and the excellent discussions about the food we loved.”
“Everyone loves the A-School,” said Turitz, “it was just always a great place to be.”
Turitz said she plans to enjoy free time with her family, friends and golden retriever, and hopefully find some time to take a yoga class. She said she hopes more people get to know about the A-School program and the good it does for students, and she will take many fond memories with her into retirement.