Glenfield's Dan Gill to Retire After 53 Years

Glenfield's Dan Gill to Retire After 53 Years
Posted on 05/10/2023
A retirement ceremony and reception honoring legendary Montclair teacher Dan Gill will be held Saturday, June 17, from 1 to 3:30 pm at Glenfield School, where Gill has taught for more than half a century. 

The invitation is here. RSVP here.

Gill is a beloved teacher known for his mastery in bringing civics and American democracy to life for three generations of Montclair students — his 53-year career spans ten U.S. presidents. 

He has received many awards as an educator and won national media coverage for his policy of leaving a chair empty in the classroom — a metaphor for acceptance that evokes the time a Black friend wasn’t allowed with him into a white classmate’s birthday party because, the mother said, “there weren’t enough chairs.”

In addition to lessons about discrimination and racism, Gill, who will turn 76 this month, worked on the magnet plan that integrated Montclair’s schools in the 1970s after busing desegregation failed; it became a national model. He also helped the school develop its popular “House” system, in which students stay with the same group of core teachers throughout middle school. (He is the lead teacher of House Gill.) 

Gill also served 40 years in Seton Hall University’s Upward Bound Program, which helps students from families in lower-income areas in Newark and East Orange pursue higher education. 

A revered figure in Montclair, he was selected as Grand Marshal of the town’s Caravan of Heroes parade in 2020 (it took place in 2021 due to COVID) and gave Montclair High School’s commencement address in 2022. “All of you have a story,” he told the graduating class, whose last two years of school coincided with the COVID pandemic. “Share it.”

“Dan Gill is a Montclair icon and treasure for this community,” said Schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds. “He is the kind of teacher students remember for the rest of their lives. In addition to helping integrate the district, he is a great champion of the values — like diversity, academic excellence, public engagement, and community spirit — that make Montclair special. He may be retiring, but I hope and expect he will continue to contribute to a town he has served so well.”

“The stories of the lives that Mr. Gill has positively impacted are countless,” said Alison Silverstein, president of The Montclair Board of Education. “The Board is forever thankful for everything that Mr. Gill has done for the students and families of Montclair.  We are grateful for his many years of service and wish him all the best on his retirement."

“Thank You, Dan, for your many, many years of public service and educational enrichment to the Montclair School District and the families and students whose lives you touched,” said Latifah Jannah, past president of the Montclair Board of Education. “Glenfield was my first Montclair Public Schools job assignment. You were welcoming and reassuring to the newbie, and I will never forget that. You are appreciated. Congratulations on your retirement.”

“Mr. Gill is an amazing educator and an even more amazing human being,” said Tessie Thomas, president of the Montclair PTA Council, whose son was part of House Gill. “His stellar career in education has been truly transformative for the Montclair Public Schools and for the lives of so many. I know he will be missed dearly in the class, but knowing him his contributions to the community will keep coming.”

“Mr. Gill is one of those rare teachers who can meet all children where they are at. He has been toasted more than any other teacher in MFEE history and that speaks volumes about how beloved he is by students and families," said Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, executive director of the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE). “His lifetime commitment to Montclair kids has changed countless lives. We look forward to continuing to tap into his wisdom to inform MFEE programming for students and staff.”

“Dan Gill has inspired countless students to reach their full potential, to explore new ideas, to challenge themselves, and to make a positive difference in the world,” said Cathy Kondreck, president of the Montclair Education Association. “Mr. Gill has also mentored and guided generations of colleagues, sharing his expertise, wisdom, and kindness with all who have had the honor of working alongside him. He has touched the lives of countless others in the community with his time, compassion, and energy to make a difference in their lives. In short, he has been a shining example of what it means to be an extraordinary teacher, and after 50 years of dedication, a legend.”

Gill bio
Daniel Gill was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Iona College, served in VISTA, the domestic peace corps, and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in urban education and curriculum. He began teaching in Montclair in 1970. He wrote a book on the history of Glenfield School with his students in 2004, and served on the committee organizing Glenfield’s 125th Anniversary celebration. His honors include the Robert Merrill Scholar Award from Cornell University, the Euphemia Lofton Haynes Award from the Montclair NAACP, and two Weston Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Read Spanish version
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.