Retro Appreciation of RFH Teacher Bill Kern

Former RFH math teacher Bill Kern in a 1960s RFH yearbook.
Former RFH math teacher Bill Kern in a 1960s RFH yearbook.

By Elaine Van Develde

Today is the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week.

So, the Retro Pic of the Day all week will randomly highlight fondly remembered RFH teachers who have passed.

The first pick brought to the attention of Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect was RFH math teacher Bill Kern, a former longtime Fair Haven resident.

Mr. Kern, who died around this time of year two years ago, on May 26, 2013, was what you could call a tall order of advanced math, bold dress and behavior rolled into one. The man who taught the most advanced of math classes at RFH always challenging students, his or not, spilling his brain teasers from classroom to hallways, and with no apologies or pretense.

He was very tall in stature and so was his order for students applying themselves.

There was always a puzzle involved with any encounter with the towering presence and persona that was Mr. Kern.

He didn’t have to be your teacher for any RFH student to know him. He was hard not to notice — a nerdy Lurch cloaked in 1970s extreme preppy, patchwork pants and all.

Mr. Kern’s wife, Nancy, was also a math teacher at RFH. She, too was tall and had quite a presence. Nancy was also mayor of Fair Haven for a time.

The two were known to make kids answer math problems in exchange for their treats on Halloween.

Go figure! e=Kern squared?

Share your memories of Mr. Kern and offer a suggestion for tomorrow’s teacher to remember.


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