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News & Photos

Faculty Chair Awarded, New Endowed Chair Announced

Although summer break was on the horizon, faculty and staff were glued to their seats at the closing meeting of the 2023- 2024 school year on Thursday, June 6. They sat in anticipation of the announcement of the Susan Hillis Newton Teaching Chair. The prestigious award, established in 2019 by Drs. Susan Cummings and Kris Jenner, the parents of three alumni, recognizes McDonogh teachers with 10 or fewer years of experience.

The audience erupted with applause when it was announced that Josh Fitch ’08 was the recipient of the chair. In making the announcement, Head of School Dave Farace ’87 shared that as a student Fitch, a wrestler, was both outgoing and humble. After college, he returned to McDonogh as a wrestling coach and a substitute teacher. Farace outlined Fitch’s career trajectory since, noting that his ability to relate to children of all ages soon led to a full-time opportunity as a kindergarten associate teacher. He added that his charm, calming presence, and even-keeled disposition served him and his young students well. Fitch moved on to fourth grade and then Middle School where he is currently a language arts teacher.

In presenting the Newton Chair to the young teacher, Farace said, “Just six years into his full-time McDonogh career as a teacher-coach, our honoree, Josh Fitch, has already established himself as a rising star, and we are delighted to give him the recognition he deserves.”

The Douglas M. Kolodny, PhD ’70 Distinguished Teaching Chair
The good news continued with the announcement of a new teaching chair. The Douglas M. Kolodny, PhD ’70 Distinguished Teaching Chair, established by its namesake, who was present for the announcement, reflects his experience as a student.

Kolodny, who entered McDonogh as a freshman in the fall of 1966, says he was an average student who relied heavily on his instructors to push and challenge him. Science was and is his passion as reflected by his career. He has developed and marketed eco-friendly biopesticides, led business development efforts for firms in the therapeutic and regenerative medicine space, and founded a company that researched genomics in the hopes of treating diseases such as muscular dystrophy.

In describing his motivation to make a commitment to McDonogh Kolodney has said, "I wanted to acknowledge a select group of teachers who have the potential to dramatically alter the life trajectory of future generations. I owe much of my academic achievements and professional success to a handful of committed and gifted instructors. It is my hope that funding a Distinguished Teaching Chair sustains McDonogh’s mission of educating students to be LifeReady."