Success Stories

Phillip Crichton

Years at Pilot:
1957-1964

Current Profession:
Computer Scientist specializing in information assurance (IA)
US Army RDECOM CERDEC S&TCD CSIAD
Fort Monmouth, NJ

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I entered Pilot in its second year (1957) and was a member of the first “graduating” class (of 4) in 1964. The following high school years were at The Forman School in Litchfield CT, where I graduated in 1969. In that same year I entered Monmouth College where I graduated in 1974 with a degree in Mathematics. I made a special point to invite Doris LeStourgeon to my graduation and to my honor and delight, she attended. It was at Monmouth that I met my future wife, Judith. My career began in 1976 as a computer programmer for an insurance company, the same year Judith and I married. In 1982, I began work with the US Army as a Computer Scientist where my research, development and engineering career took me from displays research through information assurance development and management. The following year our son Philip was born and has grown into an exceptional young man and has begun his own life journey. I began volunteer work with the Boy Scouts of America in 1990 when Philip entered Cub Scouts, where I have been honored with the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver, Wood Badge third bead, and the Vigil Honor among others. I remain a committed Scouter to this day. Judith is now a retired teacher and we reside in Freehold, NJ.

Robert Richter

Years at Pilot:
1959-1962

Current Profession:
Attorney, Director
Elzufon Austin Reardon Tarlov & Mondell, P.A.
Member of Workers' Compensation Defense Department.
Wilmington, DE

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University of Delaware (B.S., 1975); Widener University School of Law (J.D., 1981). Admitted to practice law in Delaware, Penn-sylvania and US District Court, District of Delaware. After leaving Pilot in 1962, I attended Greenville Elementary School, graduated from Alexis I. duPont High School and the University of Delaware. Following a three year hiatus from school during which I had several jobs, none of which are particularly noteworthy, I entered law school which I enjoyed. After law school, my first position was as a Delaware Deputy Attorney General serving in numerous positions including welfare fraud prosecutor and counsel to the Industrial Accident Board which led to my career of the last 20 plus years specializing in workers' compensation cases. When not working I enjoy reading, relaxing in Palm Springs, CA which I try and do two to three times a year, and riding my motorcycle.

Paul Biancaniello

Years at Pilot:
1984-1991

Current Profession:
Senior Research Scientist
Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories

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I struggled at school in my early years. In first grade, I couldn’t read or write. I didn’t even know my alphabet. I remember crying everyday, clinging to my mother, begging her to let me stay home and hide from my embarrassment. Though my mother never gave in, she understood my struggles, having gone through a similar one during her childhood. After I was diagnosed with dyslexia, things became clear for my family. For the first time in my mother’s life she understood her own struggles as a dyslexic child. She made it her mission to make my experience different than hers. It was clear that public school was not the right environment for me, but none of the ”specialty” schools in our area were willing to accept a student with my level of dyslexia. I was eventually enrolled in The Pilot School an hour away from our home. My grandfather would drive in from Philadelphia every morning to take me to school, which helped spawn a deep relationship between him and me over the years. I’m forever in debt to my family for everything they’ve done for me. They supported me throughout my life, through all of my early struggles with education, and I love them deeply for it.


I am also deeply indebted to The Pilot School for all of their support. Their teachers, staff, and students were instrumental to my success. Each of my teachers worked with me on an individual level and at an appropriate pace. I never felt overwhelmed by their teachings or less than my peers as I did in public school. Instead of pitting me against my peers in a classroom competition for the best grade (which was common practice in my previous school), teachers at The Pilot School were more concerned with helping me understand knowledge, by emphasizing my strengths and working patiently on my weaknesses. Every student at The Pilot School was special; some were poor at math and good at reading while others were the opposite. Instead of forcing me to keep up with my peers by making me learn from the same textbooks as them, teachers at The Pilot School would only use materials that were appropriate to my needs. For example, in a classroom of eight students, five of them might learn math from a slightly different textbook. All of these factors (and many more) helped me to overcome my disabilities.


After graduating from The Pilot School, I continued my education through high school, college, and graduate school. I eventually graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Ph.D. in Physics. I currently live in Philadelphia and work at a laboratory in New Jersey, where I study theoretical neuroscience and artificial intelligence. It is not the most common of professions, but it stimulates my intellect tremendously. I am also an avid yoga practitioner and teach weekly yoga classes in Philadelphia. I truly believe that I could not be where I am today without the help of my family and The Pilot School. Their support in my earlier years set the foundation from which all of my later successes were built and for that I am forever grateful.

Jeff Ickes

Years at Pilot:
1982-1986

Current Profession:
Special Education Teacher, Springer Middle School
Wilmington, DE

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I am currently finishing a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I am married with three children living in Smyrna, Delaware. Since Pilot, I graduated from Concord High school, attended the University of Delaware and received a BA in Health Behavioral Management. After college I worked as a Treatment Specialist at Ferris School and then decided to get a Master’s in Education and become a teacher.

Alexis Pokorny

Years at Pilot:
1991-1993

Current Profession:
Account Manager
Cisco Systems
Greater Washington, DC territory

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My two years at Pilot prepared me for a very bright future. Although I always struggled, my Dad repeatedly told me to have a positive attitude and to work hard - even if I had to work harder then everyone else.

Attending Kennett Square High School, I used my unique ways of thinking to help me as Captain of Tennis Team, Homecoming Queen, and Editor and Chief of the yearbook. At North Carolina State University, I used that hard work mentality to graduate with a 4.0, Summa Cum Laud, with Honors, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

After college I was selected out of 3,000 applicants for year-long sales training program for Cisco. Although I had no experience in IT or sales- I took on the challenge. At Cisco I have held a variety of positions but continue to set aggressive goals and learn as much as I can along the way. After becoming Channel Account Manager of the East, I have been promoted to an Account Manager covering Washington, DC for Cisco.

I volunteer with Humane Society, am a certified Pilates Instructor, learning how to play the guitar, started a book club and love to cook vegetarian meals. Most important, I love my supportive family, I am passionate about everything I do and still believe in Hard Work and a Positive Attitude.

Joy Peoples

Years at Pilot:
1993-1998

Current Profession:
Middle Division Faculty, The Pilot School, Wilmington, DE

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I attended Pilot from 1993 to 1998. It was those five years of my life that inspired me to who I am today. My dream is to inspire young students with learning differences, like myself, to achieve what they feel is the impossible. Just as the teachers at Pilot inspired me to do. I attended high school at St. Mark’s and graduated in 2003. While at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, I participated in a wide variety of activities. These included, a student ambassador for the University, member of Kapa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education, and captain of the varsity crew team. Before I knew it, it was May 2007 and I was graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. I am now a Middle Division teacher at The Pilot School.

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