The Park Tudor family lost an exceptional educator and beloved colleague and friend when Mike Ayres passed away on April 1, 2017. Mike began his career at Park Tudor in 1988, and he left his mark on all divisions of the school, serving as a Lower School teacher, Middle School Director, and Upper School English teacher, advisor and dean. Prior to joining Park Tudor, Mike taught at The Orchard School for 12 years.
Since his passing, we have appreciated the outpouring of kind words, fond memories, love and support for his family, including his beloved wife, Karen, who teaches third grade at Park Tudor and sons Oliver '01 and Adam '04. Here is just a small sampling:
"My children were so lucky to have both Mike and Karen as their teachers. My memory of Mike will forever stay in my heart. I came in to talk to him about one of my kids, I started to cry. As we all know Mike was not a 'crying guy.' He handed me a tissue and told me one of his wonderful stories about his own boys. He had me laughing. On the way out, he said 'you know it's going to be all right...' His kindness and humor were only exceeded by his love for his wife and sons. He will be missed."
"Mr. Ayres was a wonderful part of Park Tudor. The kids loved and trusted him. The parents had confidence their children matched with those teachers best suited to their needs and learning styles. He always had that extra minute to stop and say 'hi' or smile and give his time to those who needed it. He had a great personality and sense of humor that our entire family enjoyed throughout the years. We will miss you Mr. Ayres. Thank you for being there for our children and the families of Park Tudor."
"My favorite Mr. Ayres story: I was in 8th grade, Mr Ayres was still head of the Middle School. I got some thick wild orange/red highlights in my hair. The next day at school, Mr Ayres pulls me aside - I'm worried I'm in trouble for breaking dress code. He asks, 'What made you choose that color?' 'Umm. . . I don't know. Thought it would be fun.' He pauses and says, 'Hmm.. . Do you think I would look good with that color?' I laugh, he lets me on my way. One of the best teachers ever!"
"Funny. Caring. Kind. Genuine. Loved his family dearly. Great storyteller. Always put kids first. A great man who will be missed."
"He taught me life lessons in fifth grade that I still remember to this day."
A Celebration of Life for Mike will be held at The Orchard School (615 W. 64th St.) on Sunday, May 7. The celebration will begin with a few speakers and a slide show from 1:00-2:00 p.m. People are also welcome to stay or arrive after the first hour to gather with family and friends to pay respects and exchange memories. The celebration will end around 4:00 p.m.