Friday, December 2, 2016

R.I.P. Marge Borchert


Last night, driving back to Brooklyn from Fordham after a Bronx Education Forum I learned of the sudden death of Marge Borchert, a great elementary school principal in a community near Buffalo who to me and many others, epitomized the passion, creativity and courage that we want in those given the care of our children
I am crushed.,
I never met Marge in person. But she had become someone whose insights and wisdom I had come to count on in private messages on Facebook.exchanged literally hundreds of times in the last four years. We could not be more different. She was small town. I was city. She leaned toward the conservative side' I leaned to the left. But when it came to protecting children from the machinations of the arrogant poicy makers who were deforming education policy in this country, whether housed in Washington, Albany or the offices of large foundations we were as one. I revelled in her stories of getting more than 80 percent Opt Out in her school, her love of nature and its incorporation into her school pedagogy, and her standing up to state commissioner Mary Ellen Elia when Elia visited her district.
Over time, she became a moral compass to me whose insights I depended on almost daily..
I can't believe she is gone. I never knew she was ill. I know her school and community, as well as her family, must be in mourning.
For me, she symbolized the optimistic, forward looking spirit of small town America and the ability of great educators to keep children's interest first at a time when many policians view them through a far more cynical lens.
Never did we need Marge's voice than now- when we are divided, fearful, at one another's throats, and facing even greater challenges than we had in the past.
I will always remember her voice in my ear and try, in whatever way I can, to keep her legacy alive
You may have passed from this earth Marge, but you will always be in my heart and all the children you have inspired will keep your legacy alive.,
Rest in Peace. Rest in Kindness. Rest in Love

2 comments:

Mark Collins said...

A teacher's teacher.A good friend. Exchanged many messages and videos. Rest in peace my friend until we meet on the other side.

Lisa Malczewski said...

My children where lucky to have her guidance as a principal and as a mentor to my youngest, when her Odyssey of the Mind teacher was injured in a car accident. She stepped up, knowing how important is was to these 6 children and got them to states. She will always have my respect as an educator but also as a mentor to the many children who passed through her halls.
My oldest is graduated from college and getting her masters in education. She is currently substituting in the same elementary school she attended so many years ago when Marge Borchert was the principal. She was at Allendale the day they received the news of Marge's passing and called me when she had a free moment. I can tell you the school and community is indeed in mourning. She was a very private individual and if she was ill, she kept never let on. When she stepped down in June, I was shocked, but this is an entirely different level of shock. She will truly be missed, not only by the children and parents who had the good luck to know her and work with her but by the community who still had so much to benefit from her knowledge. RIP Mrs. Borchert, your legacy will live on in all of the children and families that were lucky enough to know you.