"See You Later, Alligator" – Diane Glace Retires After 37 Years at RPS
“A friend is a gift you give yourself” - Robert Louis Stevenson.
Knowing Mrs. Diane Glace is a true gift, and throughout her many years at Rutgers Preparatory School her friendship has deeply touched the lives of her students, their families, and her colleagues. In each of her many roles at Prep, Diane brought so much pride, care, and positive energy. Her smile, laugh, and rapid walk makes for a wonderful first impression. With very little time, Diane enters the hearts of those she meets because of her genuine desire to learn about who each individual is, what makes them happy, and what drives them to succeed. She literally embodies the definition of the word personable and all of the positive connotations that come with it. Her work ethic is unparalleled, and many of her colleagues regard her with such admiration for her tireless efforts to improve our school community. Long time colleague and friend, Christine Kazal had this to say about her co-teacher: “Diane is a master teacher. I was fortunate to have taught fourth grade with her in the Elm Farm, back in the 90’s. She was always enthusiastic and supportive of all that I did. I learned so much from my friend and I will always be grateful to her.” So many people share the same sentiment when it comes to Diane; a friend to all, her support and dedication truly makes such a difference in the lives of others.
Rutgers Preparatory School has grown and is a better place from the continual and collective effort of its community. Diane Glace, however, made it her personal mission and goal to help the school and all of its members, past, present,and future feel like RPS is their home. Early on, Diane designed and executed professional development workshops for nursery school teachers in the surrounding area. In spearheading this initiative, Diane established close relationships with schools that became loyal to sending students to RPS. Diane was also instrumental in the creation of the Time Capsule project for students, instilling an appreciation for the past, and creating a unique experience for students to see their growth at RPS. This has become a tradition that Rutgers Prep students look forward to as an invaluable part of their journey through each of the school’s divisions. Diane also began the unique and honorable tradition of dedicating books in the library to members of the community that have passed away as a tribute to their lives and remembrance of their value to the RPS Community.
Diane Glace is woven through all the fibers of the fabric that make up Rutgers Preparatory School. Her students remember her as a master Math Teacher. Innovative and creative in her practices, making the POW (problem of the week) famous for decades of students.
Former student-turned-colleague, Larry Santowasso ‘91, had this to say about Mrs. Glace: “Diane was my fourth grade teacher. I remember when Mrs. Glace came in halfway through the school year to become our teacher and we, like all 4th graders do, pushed to see what we could get away with. I remember practicing for a play that we worked on for what felt like forever and the pride she had in us when we finished the performance. She was always loving and cared about what we were interested in as well as teaching us the material. It was an honor to call her my colleague but also one of my favorite teachers.”
Her colleagues see her as the energetic, passionate person that gives more than 100% in any position. Former Middle School principal, John Miller ‘86 spoke to Diane’s expertise and character as an educator. "Diane is one of those rare individuals that instinctively knows how to make others feel special. Her generous spirit is always present regardless of what else was going on. Diane is a true educator who prioritizes the needs of the students and families she works with. She cares deeply for her colleagues and as a result, she has successfully cultivated countless friendships over the years." Diane not only impressed others with her determination in the classroom. She is one of the brave and one of the most dedicated members of Philomena Loy’s morning and night work out classes. Philomena recognizes Diane as one of her best students: “15 years ago, Diane was the first person to sign up for the Morning Faculty workouts and in all that time she rarely missed a class. Diane remained dedicated, focused, inspiring, powerful, and fierce. Over all these years together Diane continued to be a force to be reckoned with.” Her infamous love for walking has inspired many throughout the years to join her on the Towpath for multiple miles of scenic views, and of course, friendly conversation.
In recent years, the Admission Office became Diane’s home. The admission team speaks passionately about their friend. She is clearly a source of inspiration, joy, and companionship for the admission team, and as a collective group, they are Diane’s biggest fans. As an Admission Counselor, Diane exceeded the parameters of her role. She made immense effort to get to know prospective families and students, partnering them with people on campus who shared the same passions. She got to know each teacher, their program, their unique style and the projects that they took pride in, providing future families with anecdotes and in-depth descriptions of each class as they embarked on a campus tour. Diane was committed to inspiring others and helping them to grow. Teachers often found magazines, books, or newspaper clippings in their mailboxes that would supplement their courses and lessons. Maya Angelou says it best with her quote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Diane Glace is a feeling: a warm, welcoming, and supportive feeling. Her thoughtful and genuine nature has impacted thousands of people, really anyone who walked through the doors of Rutgers Prep during her many years there!
As Diane moves onto the next chapter of her life, we at Rutgers Prep know that this truly is a new adventure for her. With a goal to walk in every state and her love of the outdoors, we would not be surprised to see photos and receive postcards and letters from many of her future travels throughout the country. We are sure that Diane will spend a lot of her time back in Western Massachusetts, where her roots are, and in Florida where her mom and two sisters still reside. Many nights around the campfire and outdoor fun with family and friends is definitely what the future entails for our Diane.
She chose to retire in the middle of a semester with the hope of leaving quietly, without the hoopla of retirement recognition. Although we respect her wishes and understand her humble nature, we want her to know that we will always remember the times we have shared. We remember her pins and her buttons, her exorbitant amount of sneakers, her coined phrases and key sayings, and her genuine compassion, love, and friendship that she offered to all members of our community. Diane concluded each meeting with a prospective student with, “See you later, alligator,” and although she did not always get the response of, “In a while, crocodile,” the student and family sensed that they had gained a friend and advocate, and immediately felt at home. Diane, this is not goodbye, but merely a “see you later,” and even if it is “in a while,” just as you made all of those students feel at home, please remember that you will always have a home at Rutgers Prep - the bonds of friendship that you have here will follow you on all of your future journeys. Dr. Seuss writes, “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” We are grateful for your friendship, we love you, and we cannot wait to see the many wonders that retirement brings to you!