Letters from the Middle School Director

Dear Barrack Families,

When I first interviewed for a teaching position at Akiba/Barrack, Rabbi Phil Field, the headmaster at the time, asked me, “Why middle school?” I did not hesitate to respond. 

Having chosen to teach and work with middle-schoolers for my entire career—I love the mix of physical, emotional, and social changes that happen in this three year span.

I explained to Rabbi Field, “Being a middle schooler is like a swimmer diving into the deep end of a pool. Think about a group of 12, 13, and 14 year olds on a sunny day swimming in the deep end of a pool. You will hear lots of laughter and see lots of smiles, but what you do not see is what is beneath the surface. Below the surface, middle school students are treading water, moving arms and legs, they are in constant motion to stay afloat. It is a lot of work!” I cherish helping them accomplish that work.

And we, parents, teachers and administrators are here on the side of the pool to offer a life preserver when needed or to jump in and offer words of encouragement or sometimes caution to our swimmers. I will be posting some reflections found here on the middle school experience each month. I invite you to join me at the pool- to observe from the side of the deep end as our middle school students swim through their middle school experience. Dive in with me!

Chris Farrell

Three middle school students smiling

Christine Farrell

Director of the Middle School

Christine serves as Middle School Director and Department Chair for our Core and Arts programs. As one of our primary educational leaders, she nurtures our Middle School students’ emotional, social, and spiritual growth. She has held several leadership positions at Barrack, including serving as our Dean of Students. She also spent 10 years as an 8th grade core teacher, faculty advisor, and Middle School Council advisor. She holds a B.S. in History from Saint Joseph's University and an M.Ed. from Cabrini College.


Director of the Middle School