It is with sadness that I share that longtime Hillbrook math teacher Dick Casserley passed away last week. Dick taught at Hillbrook for 20 years, from 1981 - 2001. In 2013, we had an opportunity to honor Dick for the extraordinary work he had done at the school. At that time, former Head of School Robin Clements penned the following remarks that beautifully capture who Dick was and the impact he had on Hillbrook students:
“At a time in the school’s history when we desperately needed a math teacher, along came one of the best in the world. His predecessor, whose name I remember but will not repeat, had a personality like barbed wire as all the Upper Schoolers knew only too well. So did the headmaster. A change of any kind was likely to succeed, but I had no idea how wonderfully. Richard Francis Langmead Casserley was both a brilliant mathematician and also one of the sweetest guys on the planet. The students liked him at once, I liked him at once, his colleagues liked him at once.
"Dick grew up in Southwest England and was moved around southern England a good deal following his father, a priest, as he served various parishes. At 15, he came to Manhattan, where his father, Julian V. L. Casserley, took a job as a professor of dogmatic theology at the General Theological Seminary. Richard attended Princeton University and later earned a degree in math from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He taught French and history at Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts, served in the US Navy, returned to Eaglebrook where he taught math, moved to Vail Mountain School in Colorado where he taught math and science and then finally arrived at Hillbrook in 1981.
"Dick spent the twenty years teaching 7th and 8th grade math, most of them in the old adobe Upper School building. In addition to his skills as a math teacher, he is remembered for his work in the drama department, his support of all types of student events, his prowess as a cook, and his skill as a photographer. He has spent his life with students of 7th and 8th grade age, and he knew how their minds worked, and how they didn’t work. He could make math clear, and he used a good bag of teacher tricks to make it fun, too. Years later, students said that “Mr. C” was the best math teacher they ever had, or the best teacher, period. Great schools are built of great teachers. Dick was such a one.”
We will share news about any services or remembrances as we learn of them.