Montville Township High School Hall of Fame
Sean Spiller – Class of 1993
Sean Spiller, a high school science teacher in the Wayne Public Schools, is president of the New Jersey Education Association. Spiller was elected NJEA president in 2021, his term beginning on September 1.
Prior to his 2013 election to NJEA Secretary-Treasurer, Spiller served as an executive board member of the Passaic County Education Association (2005-2013). He also served as president (2007-2013) and negotiations team member of the Wayne Education Association. At NJEA, he was the chair of the Congressional Contact Committee, a member of the Urban Education Committee, and an ethnic minority-at-large representative to the Delegate Assembly.
Spilller’s focus as a leader, throughout his service to NJEA, has been on helping members become more involved at the community level in confronting the intersection of challenges that affect public education and school employees, students, and their families. He sees the burdens placed on families with student debt, limited access to health care and underfunded communities as critical issues. As NJEA President, he aims to strengthen public education in New Jersey by confronting systemic racism, and building equity for social, economic, gender, and sexual identity, and racial justice.
Spiller and his wife, Lauren, also a public school teacher and NJEA member, live with their two children in Montclair where, since 2012, he has served on the township council and in 2020 was elected mayor. He is a member of the Montclair Business Improvement District, a member of the Montclair NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and many other local groups and organizations.
Health Gelchion – Class of 1993
Heather Gelchion was fortunate enough to grow up in Lake Valhalla. Graduating from Montville Township High School in 1993. Heather loved sports from an early age and her athletic career began in her family’s bathtub, where, at just 6 years old, she began training to swim in the Olympics. She didn’t quite make it, but she did spend most of her childhood swimming on the Lakeland Hills swim team and four years on Montville’s varsity team, captaining the team her senior year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity tennis team. As a sophomore, she played first doubles, and was All-Conference and second team All-State. Heather also received post-season honors in her junior (3rd singles) and senior (1st singles) years, captaining the team in her final season. Without a doubt, Heather’s favorite sport was lacrosse, and she swears Cindy Beradino didn’t make her say that. Heather played on the varsity team for three years, and was All-Conference in both her sophomore and junior years. IN her senior season, she captained the team, was a First Team All-American, All Conference, and played in the National North0South High School All Star Game in Baltimore, MD. In 1993, Heather was proud to be named Montville’s Athlete of the Year. She went on to play four years at Brown University, serving as captain her senior year. Heather graduated from Brown in 1997, double majoring in History and Economics.
Heather believes that the teamwork and leadership skills she learned as a Montville athlete, as well as running hills, helped prepare her for her career in the financial industry. After several years as an overworked investment banker, Heather received her MBA from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management in 2003. She has spent most of her career with Cambridge Associates and more recently, Rockefeller Capital Management, managing investment portfolios for large educational institutions, endowed non-profits, and families around the world. Professionally, Heather is passionate about increasing gender and ethnic diversity within the industry and is focused on bringing awareness to, and investing in, diverse management teams. Today, she serves as the Treasurer for the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is on the investment committee of the Rockefeller Family Fund.
Heather lives in Boston and enjoyed pretending that air frying salmon is cooking, constantly renovating her house, and a variety of sports, including hiking, golf, and skiing. Although she can’t speak a second language well, if at all, Heather loves to travel and has visited more than 40 countries.
Seth Birnbaum – Class of 1998
Seth Birnbaum, class of 1998, excelled at a number of disciplines in addition to academic achievements and scholarships. Of note, in National Forensics League (NFL), he won district and state championships, competed nationally, and earned quadruple ruby distinction. In Junior State of America (JSA), he was elected Governor of the Mid-Atlantic State and served on the National Council of Governors. He was also a varsity student athlete, notable soccer, an elected student body and national honor society official, and Science Olympiad champion.
Seth attended Amherst College, where he was elected to the College Council all four years and played A-Side Fly-Half for the D1 Amherst Rugby Football Club. He graduated with honors and a triple major in Economics, Philosophy, and Political Science. He went on to Bridgewater Associates, where he was part of the original partner class. For many years, he has advised the largest institutional investors around the world and developed scalable financial platforms and investment solutions. He is a CFA charter holder. Seth and his wife, Vani, have three boys and are based in Connecticut.
Leigh (Titus) Leaf – Class of 2006
Leigh was a three sport varsity athlete and accomplished Montville High School Mustang honors as well as All Conference, All Area, and All State honors. Leigh played varsity lacrosse all four years from 2003-2006. She set school records for most goals in a season and career goals. She was team captain in 2005 and 2006 and Team MVP in 2006. In her senior year, in 2006, the team won the Northern Hills Conference Championship. Additionally, in 2006, Leigh was named a US Lacrosse High School All American and Daily Record Player of the Year.
Leigh also lettered as a member of the Women’s Cross Country Team in 2004 and 2005. The team won the Northern Hills Conference Championship in both years. She was named Captain and Team MVP in her senior year in 2005.
As a varsity Cheerleader, Leigh was a member of the 2002 and 2003 Football Cheerleader Squad as well as competing on the 2003 Competition Team.
Since graduating from MTHS in 2006, Leigh attended Lock Haven University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Management in 2010. Having received a partial lacrosse scholarship, Leigh played Division II lacrosse there all four years. While playing, Leigh set university records for career goals and points. She led her tea, to the NCAA National Championship in 2009, and won Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships in 2009 and 2010. Among other honors, Leigh was a Tewaaraton Nominee and was named an IWLCA/US Lacrosse 1st Team All American in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
After graduating in 2010, Leigh was accepted into the Essex County Police Academy as an Alternate Route recruit. Leigh was named Executive Commanding Officer of her academy class and graduated in 2011. After graduation, Leigh was hired by the Essex Fells Police Department as a patrolman and the first, and only, female police officer. She has also served on their detective bureau, where she has worked on cases within Essex Fells and assisted neighboring towns with their investigations. Leigh was selected to training in the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program and is now a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). Currently, she continues to serve as patrolman along with being the town’s juvenile detective, and Humane Law Enforcement Officer and Drug Recognition Officer. Leigh participates in the New Jersey Special Olympics Torch Run annually/
Leigh married Ryan Leaf, (a Lock Haven University alumni), in February 2014. They bought a home in Boonton Township in 2015 and have two daughters, Sawyer (3), Dawson (1), and a dog, Pearl.
Martine Mastriani – Class of 2008
Martine Mastriani was born and raised in Montville, NJ where she lived with her parents and three siblings. Martine attended Montville Township High School from 2004-2008 where she participated in competition cheer, lacrosse, and track and field.
Martine went on to attend the University of Maryland where she was a member of the cheer team from 2008-2009 and Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority from 2009-2012. She was the Director of Philanthropy for her Sorority, dedicating her time to planning and leading numerous events to give back to the local and greater community. After graduating with honors from UMD in 2012, Martine attended Seton Hall Law School in Newark, NJ. During that time, she returned to Montville to coach the Montville Broncos Competition Cheer Team as a volunteer.
After graduating from Seton Hall Law and obtaining her NJ law license in 2015, Martine commissioned into the US Armey Judge Advocate General’s Corps in January 2016. In July 2016, Martine married another graduate of MTHS, Ryan Gajdos. Throughout her career, Martine served in numerous locations and job roles both stateside and abroad. Martine and Ryan currently reside in Norther Virginia with their two children.
Christina Finkel – Class of 2009
The start of Chrissy Finkel’s pole vaulting career was actually quite comical. Chrissy’s parents would often go with her to practice, attempting to “catch: her when things went wrong and neither the coaches nor the athlete truly knew the rules to the event. With time and investment from incredible coaches, including Mark Philhower, Anthony SanFilippo, and Make Lawryk, Chrissy went on to have a storied career in Track and Field.
Chrissy competed for MTHS from 2005-2009, winning the Indoor New Jersey State Championship title and placing at high school nationals during the 2007 and 2009 seasons. She also earned the following: National Scholastic All-American ’07, ’08, ’09, Academic All-American 2009, Morris County Champion Winter and Spring 2007, Northern Hills Conference Champion ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, Penn Relays medalist ’07.’08. ’09, and 11 Championship Titles for the NJSEA State Sectionals and Group Finals. Chrissy broke numerous records including the NJ Indoor State Meet, Morris County, and several additional Conference and State Group records. Chrissy continues to hold a handful of these today, along with the MTHS female pole vault record at 12’7.5”.
While attending Montville High School, Chrissy was also a member of the National Honor Society, Captain of the varsity women’s tennis team, and a varsity member of the Competitive Cheerleading Team.
Chrissy attended the University of Notre Dame on a Track and Field scholarship, where she competed all four years, earning her first varsity letter as a freshman. She had a successful career at Notre Dame, scoring numerous points for her team including at conference championships, and competing in the 2011 NCAA D1 Outdoor Nationals Qualifying Meet. Chrissy also served as captain of the Women’s jumps team for the ’12-’13 season, during which the Notre Dame women won the indoor Big East Conference Championship. She finished with a lifetime pole vault best of 12 feet 1 ¾ inches and graduated in 2013 from the Medoza School of Business with a major in Finance.
Chrissy currently lives in Chicago, IL where she has been employed by Baxter International since 2012. She began her career in a financial development program and lived in Singapore for a year, working at Baxter’s Emerging Asia Regional Office. Her other roles at Baxter have included Investor Relations, Purchasing and Supplier Management, Global Finance support, and an Internal Audit internship. For the past 4 years, Chrissy has worked as a member of Baxter’s Mergers and Acquisitions team.
John Gallucci – Contributor
John Gallucci was hired by Montville High School in 1973 as a physical education teacher and coach. More specifically, Coach Gallucci was hired as an assistant football coach and head lacrosse coach. John Gallucci would remain as a Montville High School coach until 2000, which made him one of the longest tenured coaches in school history.
Coach Gallucci was extremely successful as a teacher, coach, and eventually as an administrator. As mentioned previously, John was hired as an assistant football coach but he was quickly moved to the role of Head Coach. As Montville High School’s Head Coach, he would amass an outstanding 166 winds which included 4 Conference Championships (1978, 1980, 1981, and 1992). Coach Gallucci’s 1978 team was so successful that it also earned him the honor of being named the New Jersey State Coach of the Year. During the 1980’s, Montville High School was highlighted as being the most highly recruited high school in the country, especially during the 1982 season when 11 Montville High School players went on to play at the Division 1 level.
During the winter season, Coach Gallucci stayed busy as he was an assistant wrestling coach and head JV coach. This was during a time that the high school wrestling team was extremely successful, especially in 1977 and 1978 when the team went back to back with undefeated seasons. This team also had numerous individuals with great accolades as they finished with medals in their Christmas tournaments, Districts, and Regionals. The JV team also only had 1 dual meet loss from 1977-1982.
Coach John Gallucci is a well-known and respected lacrosse coach in the state of New Jersey still to this day. He was Montville High School’s Head Coach from 1977 -2000. During that coaching span, the team won 283 wins as they won numerous conference championships during that time. One of the most successful lacrosse seasons was the spring of 1980 when the team made it to the state finals as they beat Montclair Kimberly. Coach Gallucci was awarded with Coach of the Year accolades during the 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1980 seasons which contributed to him being nominated for the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
John Gallucci was an active member throughout the Montville School District. During his time at Montville High School, he was the night time event administrator, Interim Athletic Director, and the Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts. John finally moved into the role of an administrator when he became the Assistant Principal at Lazar Middle School, which was a position he held from 2000-2002. John also took on the responsibility of being Lazar’s Principal which began in 2003 until he retired in December of 2010.
Mary Gormley – Contributor
A graduate of St. Peter’s University with a Bachelor degree in English, Mary began her career as an English teacher in Connecticut while attending Fairfield University, where she received her Mast of Arts degree in American Studies. Following her graduate studies, she returned to teach in New Jersey. Three years later, she took a brief hiatus from education to nurture her greatest accomplishment, a family of three children: Sarah, PJ, and Michael.
Beginning in 1988, Mary entered the halls of MTHS early each morning to teach English. But the days often turned to evenings, as a tribe of speakers and debaters remained long after the bell; actors, crew, and stage managers prepared for twenty fall productions and numerous one-act festivals; and for a few short years, fledgling softball players warmed up in the spring. There were also track meets to be timed, night school to be taught, NHS applicants to counsel, amidst the scores of essays to be graded. The days were long, but the rewards were monumental.
As the Forensics coach at MTHS, Mary mentored 47 State Champions in both Speech and Debate, 164 National Qualifiers, many of whom advanced to elimination rounds in speech, debate, Congress, as well as supplemental and consolation events, including NSDA and NCFL finalists in Dramatic Interpretation, Oral Interpretation, Original Oratory, Commentary, Declamation, the Senate division of Congressional Debate, a semifinalist third place in Lincoln Douglas Debate x 2, as well as a National Champion and a National runner-up in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. Under her tutelage, the Montville Speech and Debate team became State Champions three times, and in 2000, Mary was honored as New Jersey Coach of the Year and the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Arts Education. In 2018, the year of her retirement, Mary Gormley was selected as the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Educator of the Year, and was inducted into the National Organization’s Hall of Fame.
But, Mary’s greatest joy has come from her children, following by the building of community within the classroom, on the stage, in the speech and debate world, both at Montville Township High School, and within the New Jersey District. When asked by family and friends why she had essentially given up a Saturday life, the response was simple “I see the best we can be in victory and defeat each week, assuring me that our future will be in good hands. There is no place else I’d rather be.”
Charles Grau – Contributor
Charlie Grau has been a fixture in the Montville Township School Community for more than 40 years. His successful career as a school business administrator in the Kinnelon School District for more than 20 years and as an interim business administrator in a number of northern New Jersey School districts, served as an excellent foundation for his successful service as a member of the Montville Township Board of Education from 1979 to 1991 and again from 2006 to the present. During his tenure on the Board of Education, he has served as Board president for 13 years. During Charlie’s tenure as chairperson of the Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee, the district successfully proposed a referendum which provided access to state funding to support capital projects which provided air conditioning in all instructional spaces and provided an upgrade of the district’s HVAC system, gymnasiums, and media center upgrades, and other facility improvements. Charlie served on the Board of Education’s ad hoc committee which led to the implementation of a School Resource Officer in September 2018 through a shared services agreement with the Montville Township Committee.
While Charlie’s focus has been service to the Montville Township Public Schools, he has supported various other Township organizations for decades. His involvement includes more than 25 years on the Montville Recreation Commission where he was instrumental in establishing the cooperative agreement between the Township Committee and the Board of Education for the use of athletic fields. He has also served on the Montville Public Library Board of Directors. Charlie was a charter member of the Montville Kiwanis and has served as the group’s president. He has also served as a Director for the Montville Township Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Montville Township 4th of July Committee.
A strong proponent of professional development, Charlie has been recognized by the New Jersey School Boards Association as a Certified Board Member. Under his leadership the Montville Township Board of Education attained Certified Board Status in 2020 and is in the process of pursuing the Carole Larsen Master Board Certification Award.
Through his long years of service, Charlie’s motivation has always been to provide the best possible educational experience for the students of Montville Township. His commitment to the community has earned him the recognition of being selected the Citizen of the Year in 1987. In 2015, he was presented the Silver Service Award for his 25 years of service to the Montville Township Public Schools. He has also been recognized for outstanding service to the profession by the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials.
Charlie graduated from Kean University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and holds a Masters degree in school administration from Seton Hall University. He and his wife have lived in Montville Township for 55 years and all four of the couple’s children are products of the Montville Township Public Schools. He has long been a proud supporter of MTHS sports and is a fixture at various sporting contests exhibiting his undying Mustang Pride.
Team – 1974 Baseball Team
Head Coach – Robert Sueter
Assistant Coaches – Peter Brywdza and Alan Hauser
Carol Ewing (Manager)
Linda Ewing (Manager)
Through 1973, no major sports team had won any sort of championship for Montville Township High School That all changed in the spring of 1974 when Montville’s varsity baseball team won the county baseball tournament and its members were crowned champions of Morris County.
To put an exclamation point on their great season, Paul Fraley pitched a no-hitter against Mountain Lakes in the final game, the first ever in tournament history.
Overall, the tea, was 20-5. Main players who were on this standout team were selected by various publications as first or second round All County players.
As the first to win a championship of any kind, this team of dedicated players provided a foundation for future generations of successful Montville Township High School athletic programs.