Cuong Do and Lori Rickles

Cuong Do and Lori Rickles knew Newark Academy was a special place when their daughter – Stephanie Do – fell in love with the school on her first visit.  The diversity that is visible walking the halls, the devotion of the teachers to their students’ learning, and the attention of the staff were all evident before Stephanie started at NA as a 9th grader.

Cuong and Lori saw Stephanie thrive within weeks of starting at NA.  Stephanie was always a good student at her prior school, but she became even more excited about school and engaged with the community at NA.  Over dinner, she would talk enthusiastically about what she was learning in school and her new friends on the field hockey team.  Since her immersion trip to Spain, she has been even more excited about the students, faculty and programming at NA.

Cuong and Lori have never been “observers.”  They have started and built schools and nonprofit foundations when they saw the need, and Cuong actively serves on various nonprofit and corporate boards.  So Cuong and Lori made a point to see the head of school within a month of Stephanie starting NA to ask “how can we help?”

Driven by a desire to make a genuine impact on an institution that did so much for their child, Cuong and Lori made a generous gift in support of Rise & Flourish: The Campaign for Newark Academy.

“We have benefited so much personally from people helping just because they can, so now it’s time for us to do what we can,” Cuong says. They look forward to seeing the new Science Center, the Middle School building and the scholarships contribute to even greater diversity, academic pursuits and leadership at NA. In June 2016, Cuong became a member of the NA Board of Trustees.

Philip D. Kaltenbacher ’55

Phil Kaltenbacher inherited his love of Newark Academy from his father, Joseph Kaltenbacher ’24, who loved to share stories of his student days. The younger Kaltenbacher went on to attend Yale College and Yale Law School before launching a successful business career, serving as chairman and CEO of auto industry supplier Seton Company and then focusing on real estate development. Understanding that it takes more than fond memories to maintain and nurture a world-class school, Phil (through the Kaltenbacher Family Foundation) made a $1 million gift in support of the Upper School’s Academic Center construction. The state-of-the-art multi-purpose room, Kaltenbacher Hall, is named in memory of his father. “We were taught to ‘get in the thick of it’ and to help make things happen,” Phil says. And through his generous support, he’s doing just that.

Jeff and Amy Kaplan

From the moment their daughter, Lauren ’09, enrolled in 2005, Jeff and Amy Kaplan have been “all in” for Newark Academy. Through eight years and two children (son Michael graduated in 2013), their relationship with the Academy has grown from merely interested to fully committed. Amy started by volunteering at the bookstore and at admission open house sessions, ultimately taking a leadership role as a parent liaison with the Office of Admission. Jeff first became a “sports dad” and then a trustee and now chairman of Rise & Flourish, NA’s most ambitious fundraising campaign ever, putting to work his experience at Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Appaloosa Management LLC. The couple’s commitment is evidenced by their generous leadership of $500,000 to Rise & Flourish, designating 70 percent for capital improvements and 30 percent to the NA Endowment. “We’re both passionate about NA and excited about its future,” Jeff says.

Joe ’81 and Christine McGrath

Joe McGrath and his wife, Chris, are the proud parents of three children who have attended NA: Sarah ’11, Joseph ’12 and Kimberly ’16. The McGrath family made a leadership gift of $620,000 toward much-needed improvements to the Academy’s outdoor athletic facilities. Joe then kicked it up a notch, challenging his former teammates and NA soccer fans to make their own gifts and fully fund improvements to the varsity soccer field. The effort scored, raising an additional $400,000 in honor of soccer coach Jeff Kacur’s 32 years of dedicated service. “Jeff Kacur taught us that suiting up for your school was something to be proud of and that each time you take the field, you have an opportunity to learn something,” Joe says. For years to come, NA athletes will be able to compete and excel thanks to the gifts provided by a group of alumni led by Joe and Christine McGrath…and thanks to the man who inspired them.

Jonathan ’74 and Susan Olesky

Newark Academy is truly a family affair for the Oleskys: Jon Olesky graduated from Newark Academy in 1974, and he and Susan sent their four children—Samuel ’03, Eva ’05, Lynn ’08, and Benjamin ’10—to NA as well. Jon dove into his role as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees in 2001 and led as Chair of the Board of Trustees from July 2009 to June 2015. In addition, Jon and Susan also served for 11 years as head coaches of the boys’ and girls’ cross country and track teams, making them active and beloved members of the campus community year-round.

With an intimate knowledge of where Newark Academy has been and where it is going, Jon and Susan are excited by the opportunities Rise & Flourish will afford students and faculty. In the early days of the campaign, they were among the first to offer their generous support by making a leadership gift and volunteering for the Campaign Executive Committee. Both Jon and Susan are honored to be a part of this ambitious effort to secure the future of Newark Academy. “We have all had a part in helping to give this historic and storied school the best reputation it has enjoyed in its history,” Jon notes. “It is a responsibility that we all carry—to keep a great school great.”

Carrie and Ken Somberg

Carrie and Ken Somberg joined the Newark Academy community when their sons, Andrew ’07 and then Adam ’10, started middle school. One of the first events they attended was the dedication of the Simon Family Field House, which set the stage for their NA relationship. “We saw that people give back to the school, even if they aren’t alumni themselves,” Carrie says. She has contributed her time as Newark Academy Parents Association president and trustee and a Rise Academy tutor. As co-chairs of the Rise & Flourish campaign’s alumni parents committee, Carrie and Ken encourage fellow parents to reflect on their children’s NA experiences and to support the school for future generations. The Sombergs are proud that their sons are maintaining their own NA connections; while Adam is still attending Rice University, Andrew serves on the Newark Academy Alumni Board of Governors.

Patrick Wang and Vickie Yin

Within weeks of their daughter Crystal’s freshman year, Patrick Wang and Vickie Yin were struck by the tight-knit and engaged community on Newark Academy’s campus. Crystal quickly blossomed, thanks to the stimulating and fun classroom environment, the kind and welcoming student body, and the challenges and support she received on the tennis court.

As a result, Patrick and Vickie were excited to be a part of the Rise & Flourish campaign as first-year parents. “We look forward to watching the facilities grow and improve as the momentum of the campaign continues, recognizing that such upgrades will make possible even more hands-on learning opportunities.” Patrick says. Patrick and Vickie are also eager to support financial aid and help make NA’s unique educational experience accessible to qualified students, regardless of socioeconomic status. In addition, Patrick has accepted a role as a member of the Board of Trustees to further enhance the family’s support for and commitment to Newark Academy.

Larry and Gayle Wieseneck

As parents, trustees, and members of the Campaign Executive Committee, Larry and Gayle Wieseneck are true believers in the benefits of a Newark Academy education. They have witnessed how Newark Academy has empowered their sons, Jake ’14 and Brahm ’18, to advocate for themselves, articulate their thoughts and opinions, and embrace the diverse interests within the NA community. Both boys have grown into mature, responsible young adults during their years at NA, and the Wiesenecks continue to be grateful for the transformative impact NA has had on their family.

In light of their experience, Gayle and Larry felt compelled to make a leadership gift to Rise & Flourish to ensure that Newark Academy can continue providing exceptional education now and in the future. As Larry summarized, “Newark Academy’s 240-year history is humbling, and the rich culture our family benefits from today was made possible through the sacrifices of past generations. We felt a responsibility to contribute to help shape the future of the institution and keep Newark Academy vibrant and strong.”

Jane and Mark Wilf

Parents Jane and Mark Wilf kick-started the Rise & Flourish campaign with a $2.5 million gift, the largest single donation in the Academy’s history. “Mark and I believe that quality education is the best investment we can make—for young people and for our future,” Jane says. Jane and Mark are the parents of four children: Steven ’11, Daniel ’13, Rachel ’16 and current student Andrew ’20. “Our kids’ experiences at NA have been so positive,” Jane says. Jane has been a member of the NA Board of Trustees since 2006 and has also served as a class parent, as well as being involved in the Newark Academy Parents Association. Mark is a principal in his family’s real estate development firm, Garden Homes Development, and is owner/president of the Minnesota Vikings.

Suzanne and John Willian

Suzanne and John Willian have been part of the Newark Academy community since their son, Matt ’11, started sixth grade in 2004. Their daughters, Caroline and Paige, graduated in 2013 and 2016 respectively. “It’s really been an incredible experience for our entire family,” says Suzanne. “It’s such a rich environment, where you meet people from every possible background.” That’s why the Willians have focused their generosity on the school’s endowment. “To maintain an economically diverse school population, you have to have a strong endowment,” she says. John chairs the endowment committee, while Suzanne serves on the Rise & Flourish executive committee, is a trustee, and chairs the institutional identity committee. The couple appreciates that NA gave their children the opportunity to find and excel in their passion, from jazz band to track and field to vocal music. “We give back so that other students can participate in that very positive kind of community,” Suzanne says.