Scott Reisinger has always shed tears during every graduation ceremony in his over four decades as an educator.
However, for Trevor Day School’s Head of School, this year will be particularly emotional, since it marks his retirement after a 42-year career.
“I just thought it was time,” he said. “How do you make decisions like that? I think you look at what you’re charged to do.”
When Reisinger, 64, joined the Upper East Side independent school in 2014, his priorities were multifaceted.
“When I came in, the charge was very much to make sure the buildings were finished, to advance the curriculum, to work on the diversity of the school, to connect our school more to the community at large,” he said. “And I think we’ve made marvelous progress on all of those things.”
This summer, he will pass the baton to the current director of Upper School and Assistant Head of School, Daniel Feigin, whom he called “a remarkable man and leader.”
Upon his retirement, Reisinger will take on a new role at the school as Head Emeritus, assisting Feigin and working on special projects, and is already collaborating with faculty members to document the history of Trevor, which dates back to 1930.
The Rochester native has come a long way from his first full-time job, as a carnival worker in Western and Central New York. “I went from carnival to carnival cooking sugar waffles,” he recalled. “That was quite an experience.”
After graduating from the University of Rochester, where he also earned a master’s degree, his first full-time job in education was teaching history at a public school in Webster, New York.
At just 24, he was appointed as admissions director at The Harley School in Rochester, “and that kind of defined the rest of my career,” he said.
In 1987, he first moved to Manhattan for his wife Anne’s job as a political science professor at Columbia.
The couple came back to the city, settling on the Upper West Side, when he got the job at Trevor.
The school is home to 740 students from nursery school to 12th grade and is housed in two buildings. The Lower School is on West 88th and Middle and Upper School, on East 95th.
Reisinger, who has also co-taught Advanced US History there, is consistently impressed with his student body and faculty of motivated individuals looking to make a difference.
“Our kids at Trevor care about something other than themselves and want to go out and change the world in one way or another,” he said. “And our faculty feels that way too.”
He keeps in touch with former students, who now live all over the world, and are known to call him “Dad.” This year alone, he’s been to four of their weddings. And in October, he’s officiating one, which is something he’s done numerous times already.
This is because Reisinger is an ordained deacon, and can be found preaching at the 8:30am mass on Sundays at Blessed Sacrament Church on the Upper West Side.
When asked for his fondest memories at Trevor, he said the impromptu visits he receives from little learners who come into his office, which is across from the Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms, will remain close to his heart.
“I’m having a serious meeting of the finance committee ... and every once in a while ... kids would knock on the door and they’d just walk and interrupt,” he explained. “I would say, ‘Meet all the other heads of school in New York. Here they are.’ And that keeps you very centered.”