Daniel W. Nicholson
October 12, 1937 – August 16, 2019
Daniel W. Nicholson, 81, died peacefully on August 16, 2019, following a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in Baldwinville, Massachusetts on October, 12, 1937, he was the son of the late Daniel and Anne (McNeil) Nicholson. He was also predeceased by three brothers, John J., Martin J., Michael W. and his sister, Margaret “Peggy” Nicholson.
After graduating from Gardner High School, Massachusetts, Dan continued his studies at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude, with a major in Mathematics. He furthered his education at the University of Massachusetts and received a Master of Science Degree with a major in Education Administration. He also completed Graduate study at Boston and Louisiana Universities. Dan received numerous awards and honors for academic and athletic achievement throughout his educational preparation. He was always proud to say that all of his entire period of study--- graduate and undergraduate---- was financed through full academic fellowships. Upon completion of his undergraduate study, he taught mathematics at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada for two years. At 21, he was the youngest member of the university faculty serving 3,000 students. Returning to the United States, in 1961, Dan assumed the position of Mathematics Department Chair in a private prep school in Maine---Coburn Classical Institute. In the summer of 1965, he went to Salem High School in southern New Hampshire as assistant principal. One year later, at the age of 27, he was promoted to the principalship of the school of 1,500 students making him the youngest High School Principal in the state. However, the allure of beaches and warm weather appealed to Dan and he later moved to Florida and assumed the role of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Collier County. In addition to his academic brilliance, Dan always brought a very practical administrative philosophy to public education. He always made specific demands of both students and staff. It was in Collier County that he assumed the monumental task of integration and devised a plan to integrate the school district in only two months due to legal time constraints.
After he moved back to Massachusetts, Dan was Regional Supervisor for Mathematics in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District. After three years, he became Principal of Dennis-Yarmouth's 1,500 pupil Regional High School. He initiated a thorough evaluation procedure of all staff, directed several curriculum changes in the areas of English, Mathematics, and Social Studies, and brought a renewed and positive attitude to the school as a whole. His years at Dennis-Yarmouth were challenging, exciting and enjoyable. But, in the summer of 1984, he was recruited by the Clarkstown Central School District and assumed the position of Principal of Clarkstown High School North. During his 21 years at North High School, he guided the school through two $9,000,000 renovations, a total review and rewriting of the curriculum, a more accountable approach to teacher evaluation, and encouragement and promotion of student academic and athletic competition. Since student athletes were recognized in a myriad of ways for their athletic achievements, Dan felt that students who excelled academically should also have received equal recognition and accolades. To fill this need, in 1990, he pioneered the student Academic Banquet. It recognized and lauded those students ranking in the top ten percent of each of the four classes. This event still continues today.
After retiring from Clarkstown, Dan was once again recruited, this time from the Nyack School District, and assumed the principalship of Nyack High School for the next 2 years.
Throughout his career, he received and was honored with numerous awards and accolades for his contribution to education. Dan’s 50 plus years as an educator and administrator made a lasting impression on the lives of innumerable students, parents and teachers alike, who benefited tremendously from his vision and dedication to quality education and administration. He was an individual who entered the field of education as a dream, liked it as a love, and devoted heart and soul to it on a daily basis.
In his free time, Dan was an avid fisherman and a handicapper of thoroughbred race horses. He studied horses’ pedigrees extensively, owned, bred and raced a multitude of thoroughbreds. While none of his horses ever made it to the Kentucky Derby, quite a few of them did make it to the Winner’s Circle at Pimlico, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks.
Dan is survived by the love of his life, best friend and wife, Maria Schembari-Nicholson. Together they shared immeasurable happiness and lived life to the fullest. They enjoyed traveling, spending time with family and friends and, just simply, being together. Besides visiting many other destinations, they spent beautiful summers traveling throughout Italy where Dan could be caught sampling two or three “gelati” each day. He was known to have a sweet tooth and, those who got to know him well, knew that, instead of office supplies, his desk drawers were often filled with Twinkies, Yodels, Oreos and Mallomars.
Dan is also survived by three children, Wanda Nicholson-Deyo (Dave); Kristina Bachman ( Mark); Charles Nicholson; one grandchild, Gage Daniel Bachman and an extended loving and supportive family too numerous to list. He will be forever loved and missed. Visitation hours will be Wednesday, August 21, 4:00-8:00 pm, at Higgins Funeral Home in New City. A Funeral Service will take place on Thursday, August 22, at 10:00 am, at Higgins Funeral Home. Burial will be in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, NY.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Valhalla, NY or to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Daniel W. Nicholson
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August 24, 2019
Dan you were a big part of our lives and will be greatly missed. Thank you for the memories and the good times we shared together as a family. You made our sister very happy which we will always be grateful for. She loved you immensely until the very end and was very brave. Your passing has left a hole in her heart, but you are in a better place now and know you will help guide her through this grief. You were a great man and accomplished many things in this lifetime that many can only dream of. We thank you for your kind words and wisdom that made us feel special and lucky to have heard. Although they are now silent, you will forever live in our hearts and will never be forgotten.
Forever greatful ~
August 24, 2019
I worked for Dan at Clarkstown North. He was a good, fair boss--always there when I had a tough class, and ready to stick up for me when I wrote lefty letters to the editor of the local paper. He called me Trouble sometimes, which I liked because I always aspired to be Trouble. I'm not very Troublesome, really. I remember once, just before school started, I chatted with him on my way back to my car after setting up my classroom. My husband and I had just gotten back from a long road trip. "So weird to be back already, Dan," I said. "Yesterday, I was in Tennessee." He smiled. "All told, I'd rather be in Tennessee," he said. Hope that's what Heaven looks like for him.
August 19, 2019
Dan I will Always remember what a great and caring Man U we’re my boss at north for many years and my friend I will remember your many stories and life lessons tell we meet again
Ann Marie Dilonardo
August 18, 2019
Sending prayers and sympathy. Dan provided great support and guidance throughout my educational years at CHSN
August 18, 2019
To our wonderful brother-in-law:We have so much to say about
him that it would take a lifetime. He was caring, loving and a gracious man who cared about everyone and made a great impact on our lives and I know on all of us that he touched.And the most dignified man I have inquired thru the years. One, thing he did things his way the right way with no regrets . He made you feel loved and so special never a bad word out of his mouth . One thing Dan , you fought a tough battle but a champ thru it all I will miss your jokes the special things you would tell me the made me feel loved. Dan this is not goodbye but bye for now till we see you again. Lots of our love from hear to Heaven and alway in our hearts.