Campus News

Senior School Math Teacher Named the 20th Clark Faculty Chair

During the Academy's annual opening assembly on September 2, 2022, John Basinger, Senior School mathematics teacher and math department chair, was named the 20th Clark Faculty Chair by the Board of Trustees and Dr. Ashley Birtwell, Head of School.

The Clark Faculty Chair was established in 2003 by Sewickley Academy’s Board of Trustees in honor of Ham Clark’s 15-year tenure as Headmaster of Sewickley Academy and his wife, Ceci Clark’s, many contributions to the life of the school. Each year, the Board seeks nominations from the faculty, staff, parents, and alumni for a deserving candidate. A nominated teacher has earned the respect of colleagues and the community as a subject matter master who displays a love of teaching with energy and enthusiasm. This person must regularly seek professional growth opportunities and be engaged in Academy life.

“John exemplifies all that the Clark Faculty Chair stands for,” said Associate Head of School Chris Anderson. “His devotion to the students is evident in each of his daily interactions and his students speak highly of his engaging classes and remarkably effective teaching techniques.”

When asked about Mr. Basinger, a group of senior boys including Hudson Colletti, Nick Madison, Lucas Mendonca, Garrett Smith, Bennett Spencer, and Jonathan and Thomas Varghese enthusiastically responded, “He is the most intelligent teacher. He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met. He’s always very jolly and stays positive. He’s never in a bad mood and includes good jokes in his teaching. He is so passionate about what he teaches, and his style really works for us. We spend time practicing what we learn in class instead of struggling with it at home.”

Mr. Basinger earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Penn State and went on to receive a master’s in applied mathematics from WVU. This is his 23rd year with Sewickley Academy, and he has been teaching in high schools and colleges since 1996. In his years with SA, he has assisted in numerous extracurricular roles including Middle School soccer coach, African American Awareness sponsor, admissions committee member, and house dean. He has also served as an Advanced Placement Grader for the BC Calculus exam since 2008 and is a GeoSketchpad instructor. As a teacher, John regularly encourages his students to stretch, grow, and reach for their dreams. 

Regarding what he likes most about teaching, Mr. Basinger said, “Working with young people and helping them get excited about math. I really love it when they see the joy in math.”

Congratulations, Mr. Basinger!