Earlier today, I had the opportunity to spend an hour with Eva L. Feindler. Dr. Feindler is the Program Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at LIU Post. Far more importantly (from Wheatley’s perspective), Dr. Feindler is the daughter of Joan L. Feindler, one of Wheatley’s founding teachers! For over forty years, Joan taught foreign languages to hundreds upon hundreds of students. With a gift for languages, Joan was able to teach French, Spanish, German, Latin and Russian to our students. Her dedication and commitment to Wheatley spanned generations of families.
Joan was a master teacher and an innovative educator. She advocated for language instruction in the early grades, something she helped bring to fruition as early as 1959! Joan also pioneered the use of a language lab in a high school, making Wheatley the first high school in the country with such a resourse. From 1957 through 1996, Joan made an impact on Wheatley (as both a teacher and a Curriculum Associate), our community and her field. In 1987, Joan was decorated by the French Government as Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes académiques.
At her retirement in 1996, David Helm, Superintendent of Schools, recognized Joan with the following statement:
It is my distinct privilege and honor as superintendent of schools to join all of Joan Lagarde Finder’s colleagues and friends gathered here tonight in their room to say farewell. For four decades, she has given her heart and soul to generations as a master teacher of French, Spanish, German, Russian, and most of all as a master teacher of people. She has represented the very highest of our intellectual and professional standards. She has been a staunch advocate of foreign language programs for people of all ages, and she has been the quintessential model for all of us in terms of her own lifelong educational pursuits and accomplishments. It is very difficult to say farewell to some who has become so closely identified with The Wheatley School and the East Williston Schools. It is even more difficult to say farewell to one who has become so respected, so revered, and so loved. God bless you, Joan.
After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Joan passed away on August 8, 2002. At our annual Academic Awards Night, the Joan L. Feindler Award is given to the student who has demonstrated a love for and talent in more than one language.
As I accompanied Eva Feindler around Wheatley this morning, she had the opportunity to meet some of the teachers who worked with her mother prior to her retirement. The teachers gushed about her dedication, talent, generosity of spirit and deep sense of humanity. Upon a visit to the Foreign Language office, Eva was presented with a desk stapler that still had her mother’s name and address taped to it!