Head Coach: John Bourgault
After graduating from Avon Old Farms in 1980, Major Bourgault returned to campus as a teacher and wrestling coach in 2005 after he completed a distinguished, 20 years career in the United States Marine Corps. Since his return he has coached Cross Country, Wrestling and Track and Field and has been the Assistant Dean of Students and is currently the Athletic Director.
For more information contact:
Varsity Wrestling Coach
Avon Old Farms School
Avon, CT 06001
Teacher: Biology and Chemistry
Coach: Varsity Football, Varsity Wrestling, Track and Field
Ian Bomely is one of 17 Avonians currently working at his alma mater. Originally from Newington, Connecticut, Ian transferred to Avon Old Farms School to repeat his junior year of high school after feeling like just a number at his large public high school. While initially reluctant to live in the dorms while his own bedroom was just 15 minutes away, Ian was quickly won over by the Avon Brotherhood and the values of our school.
At Avon, Ian played both offensive and defensive line on our varsity football team, managed the varsity wrestling team, and was a thrower on the varsity track & field team. During his short time here, Ian became a quintessential Man of Avon, doing well in the classroom, on the field, and in the community, partaking in two mission trips with Habitat for Humanity during school breaks.
Upon graduating, Ian attended Salve Regina University where he continued playing football and participating in community service. He enrolled pre-med with a major in biology and a double minor in chemistry and neuroscience, but during his junior year Ian realized that he wanted to be involved in education. So, upon graduating, Ian took a teaching fellowship at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, where his dreams of entering the education field were solidified.
“While at Franklin Road, I realized that I wanted to be more than a teacher—I wanted to coach and mentor students. When I thought about where I could do that, the choice was simple: Avon Old Farms. My experience of having a guiding mentor was unique to Avon, and it’s what made all the difference.”
In 2019, Ian was offered a teaching position in our science department where he is excited to show our boys that science is a class that is meant to be fun and inspiring.
“I love science, and I want to evoke that excitement in my students—the worst thing in the world is going to a class you don’t want to be in. From keeping my kids organized with interactive notebooks to bringing science to life by putting an entire Happy Meal in a blender to test for protein content, I want my students to know that science is real and all around them.”
- Ian was Captain of the Winged Beavers Varsity Football Team his senior year
- Ian had brain surgery when he was 5 and is published in the 2001 New England Journal of Medicine
Teacher: U.S. and World War History
Mentor: Head of Elephant II Dormitory; Founder of Pushups for Patriots
Coach: Director of Athletics, Varsity Wrestling Head Coach
Major John Bourgault (or simply ‘the Major’) has a family history when it comes to Avon Old Farms School. His father, Jack ’49, enrolled after his mother met Headmaster Don Pierpont at a social event in Boston. And while John grew up in Fremont, California, his father convinced him to travel cross-country as a freshman in high school to see if he might attend Avon Old Farms.
When John first set foot on Avon’s campus, it was October and the New England foliage was enhancing the magic of the place he had long since heard about. While he never thought an all-boys boarding school on the other side of the country from where he grew up would be of interest, he quickly fell in love with the Village of Old Farms.
As a sophomore, John began his Avon journey living in Eagle dormitory, played football and lacrosse, and was the captain of the wrestling team by his senior year. He also found leadership roles in the dorm as a monitor.
After graduating from Avon in 1980, John returned to California to attend California State University, Hayward (now Cal State East Bay). It was there he reconnected with and then married his high-school sweetheart, Anna. When he graduated with a B.S. in finance, instead of pursuing a business career he opted to join the United States Marine Corps in the summer of 1984.
“I spent much of my youth watching war movies and reading books about war and wondered how I would measure up. During college I had looked at branches of the armed forces, but never the Marines. I even did summer training with the Air Force, but when the time came to commit, I didn’t because all of the pilot spots were already taken. Then one day leaving the gym, I encountered a Marine Corps recruiter. He had a poster of the new F-18 flying straight up, and asked me if I wanted to do that. Of course, my answer was yes.”
During his 20-year career, John held a number of command and staff positions including infantry officer, CH-53E pilot, and the Deputy Director of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. He flew over a dozen combat missions during Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM in 1990-1991. He is a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and was an adjunct faculty member for the Marine Corps University.
“Since graduating I had always thought about coming back, and after my life with the military I could see a lot of similarities in the lifestyle of the two. I called to see if there were any open positions several times, but was always told there weren’t any. I eventually stopped calling, but one day I returned home to a voicemail from Art Custer, then Dean of Faculty. They needed a history and English teacher, and someone who could coach wrestling.”
John and his wife Anna were living in Virginia with their two children: Jenelle was about to start her senior year of high school, and Jake was going into the eighth grade. While on paper the Bourgaults weren’t sure if they could make it work, they decided John should take the job, because it was his dream.
And so, upon retiring from the Marine Corps in 2004, John joined Team Avon Old Farms. John began his new career teaching English and history, working in the dorms, and coaching cross country, wrestling, and track.
“Avon Old Farms made an indelible mark on me during my formative years and I have very strong and fond memories of my time here. From the time I graduated, I wanted to return to the school and provide the same experience to a new generation of Avonians.”
Over the years, his duties expanded to include Assistant Dean of Students. In 2009, he started Avon’s Annual Push-ups for Patriots, a charitable event where participants join in a 24-hour push-up marathon and raise money for wounded veterans by contributing all proceeds to the Semper Fi Fund. In 2011, he became the Athletic Director while still teaching two sections of World Wars and one section of US History.
“There are events each year at Avon dedicated to giving back to the community, which has a lot of overlap with a career in service. Each day, I know that my colleagues and I are shaping good men. When I get an email, a text, or sometimes a hand-written note from a former student, and sometimes years later a wedding invitation, I know that I have done my job well.”
John lives on campus with his wife Anna and their two cats, Sparky and Sweetie.
- John's son, Jake '09 was married on Avon's campus
Chris Doyle sometimes likes to test his limits. He loves history: reading it, teaching it, and writing it. He enjoys talking about ideas: with students, colleagues, parents, his family, or even with strangers at a local coffee shop or museum. He usually can’t wait to run with the cross-country team on a fall afternoon, try to keep up with his wrestlers on the mat in the winter, or walk with his wife, Bev, and dogs all over the Avon campus on a Sunday afternoon.
Chris has initiated new classes in Global Studies, “Government and Crisis,” and a team-taught offering, with Dan Hodgson from the English Department, on inequality and protest in the Gilded Age and the twenty-first century. This course uses works of literature and history to explore the spectacular wealth and poverty of both eras and how they fueled social unrest.
Since coming to Avon in 2017, Chris has been deeply involved in organizing the Evans History Initiative. In 2019, with the help of the administration, staff, colleagues, and students, the Evans Initiative became a full-blown academic conference exploring slavery and its legacies on the 400th anniversary of the beginnings of American slavery at Jamestown.
Chris has a doctorate in history from the University of Connecticut, an M.A. in history from Trinity College, and a B.A. in history from Western Connecticut State University. His commentary writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, and Education Week. His teaching has been featured in the New York Times.
Chris began teaching in 1985 following a brief stint in sales just after college. He grew up immersing himself in books: biographies, novels, stories about off-beat events in the past. He decided to give teaching a shot because he wanted to do something that would combine his love of history with the possibility of doing some larger good. Of his early days in the classroom, Chris says: “It was so much harder to teach well than I thought it would be. Students didn’t naturally share my enthusiasm for the subject or grasp what I wanted to get across to them. I had to draw them in. To do that, I needed good stories. That’s why I kept studying—to find more stories.”
As a veteran teacher, Chris has become increasingly concerned about showing students how historians think and work.
“Memorizing a bunch of facts isn’t history. History is an effort to explain the human condition,” Chris believes. “Historians must be true to facts, but they have to select and prioritize evidence. They also have an obligation not to ignore evidence that complicates their take on the past. And they have to try hard not to project their own biases and cultural baggage into their analyses, not to think anachronistically.”
These are difficult concepts to teach, but Chris is convinced that they make for more thoughtful people and better citizens.
- Students who know “Doc Doyle” as their history teacher often express surprise the first time they see him riding his motorcycle.
Mentor: Head Dorm Parent for Brown Dormitory; Freshmen Academic Dean
Coach: Varsity Lacrosse Defensive Coordinator
Born and raised in Easton, Connecticut, Trevor Stern attended the Loomis Chaffee School. It was his life-changing experiences there that inspired Trevor to pursue a career at an independent school.
“I forged unbelievable relationships with my peers that were very pure because of the boarding school experience, and my teachers were invested in me and my growth as a young adult. My lacrosse coach was the head of my dormitory, and he became a real mentor to me. He was at my wedding, and I am still in regular contact with him today. The right people came into my life at the right time at Loomis, and shaped the person I wanted to become.”
Trevor went on to attend Trinity College where he began filling prerequisites to study nutrition at the graduate level, but by his sophomore year was yearning to spend more time and effort on his literature courses than his science-packed schedule allowed. At that point, Trevor realized that his true passion was for literature and wanted to have the same impact on others that his teachers had on him. He graduated in 2011 with a BA in English.
Upon graduation from Trinity College, Trevor headed out to Boulder, Colorado, where he worked at the Alexander Dawson School, a private day school. In addition to teaching, he coached lacrosse, basketball, and soccer at Alexander Dawson. He also worked as a head coach at 3d Lacrosse in Denver. A year later, Trevor was offered a position at Avon Old Farms.
“I interviewed for a position at Avon during my senior spring at Trinity College, but the offer from Alexander Dawson School came very quickly, and it was a great school that I knew I would enjoy teaching at. But, when a position at Avon Old Farms became available, I knew in my heart that was where I wanted to be.
“There are so many wonderful aspects to Avon Old Farms that are intangible. As a school, we are rooted in deep tradition that continues to permeate through all facets of daily life, and this is a constant reminder that students and faculty are part of a bigger picture. As a faculty member, I strive to uphold the excellence of educating boys that Mrs. Riddle envisioned in 1927. Students are continually aiming to become better men, like the brothers before them. These are humbling and momentous tasks. In sharing my passion for literature with my students, I not only hope to help boys see the world from a new perspective, but to reflect introspectively as well which isn't easy.
“The Avon Old Farms community is banded together in everything that we do, whether we are raising money for underprivileged families in Hartford during Christmas, giving blood to the Red Cross, or supporting a team for a big game. Our brotherhood is something that needs to be experienced, and words are never quite just. Avon Old Farms encourages boys to be all that I strive to be in a man; a man who honors wisdom, justice, inclusion, service and the pursuit of truth. Each day, I am honored to be a part of this family.”
In 2018, he earned a Masters in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctoral degree at Vanderbilt University.
Trevor lives on campus in Brown House with his wife Alyssa, daughter Noa, and yellow labrador Trapper.
- Was the captain of the varsity lacrosse team at both Loomis Chaffee and Trinity College
- Has completed multiple ultramarathons
- Loves reading graphic novels and is a die-hard Harry Potter fan
- Has been writing poetry since elementary school; he aspired to be like Shel Silverstein
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|Dashiell Corning||Avon, CT|
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|Kai Grocki||Wellesley, MA|
|David Helsley||Mckinney, TX|
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|Matthew Jamison||Boston, MA|
|Dylan Kasperzyk||Killingworth, CT|
|Aiden Maag||South Glastonbury, CT|
|James Mullen||Bridgewater, CT|
|Brian Namnoum||West Hartford, CT|
|John Oneglia||Avon, CT|
|Alexander Salgar||Deep River, CT|
|Mark Schadt||Bethlehem, PA|
|Aidan Schleer||Sparta, NJ|
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|Griffin Williams||New York, NY|
|Benjamin Wong||Auburndale, MA|