The Fair Haven school district recently hosted a Horton the Elephant-sized celebration of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.
Each year, the March 2 birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, a/k/a Dr. Seuss, is remembered throughout the U.S. with the Read Across America program.
By Elaine Van Develde
He was known as the patriarch, and perhaps patron saint, of schools in Fair Haven.
He was steadying, calm, encouraging influence — never pushed by politics, never mired by mass red tape, always out for the students’ benefit.
A perpetually sage, serene smile set on his face, Robert Chartier, for many years, stood in front of Knollwood School welcoming his village full of students every single day, watching them learn and grow — fixated on seeing to it that they flourish.
He was always present, always available, always receptive. Under his leadership, students, always seen as unique individuals, soared to hit their full potential. They were all his kids. That’s simply how he saw it.
You could say that, over the years, Robert Chartier was proud papa to thousands. It was that simple to him. As principal for a stint at Willow Street School (now Sickles), then longtime principal of Knollwood and finally superintendent of Fair Haven schools, he retired many years ago, but he is still around. And the lessons learned from this iconic administrator are not forgotten.
Friends of the former top schools administrator’s son, Michael, were thrilled to see the above Father’s Day throwback photo of a young Mr. Chartier and his son.
And, since he is still so fondly recalled as that father figure by former Fair Haven students, many of whom are now parents in the borough, the photo is our Retro Pic of the Day.
Thank you, Mr. Chartier, for being a great dad of education to so many!
Share your memories of Mr. Chartier with us.
Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will feature an interview with the iconic leader of Fair Haven schools in the future.