“Massively loved:” remembering Mr. Hatziandreou

Mr. Hatziandreou was a dedicated educator who committed himself to helping students.


2010 Eastern Yearbook

Mr. George Hatziandreou, who taught at Eastern from 2005 to 2012, was not only a superb math teacher; he was a beloved member of the faculty.

   At Eastern, teachers come and go. Some stay longer than others, but everyone who has taught here has made an impact on countless young lives.

   Sadly, Mr. George Hatziandreou, one of the foremost champions of education at Eastern, passed away in late October. He was 51.

   On October 26th, Rancocas Valley Regional High School announced that Mr. Hatziandreou had passed away suddenly. He had been employed at the school since 2013, serving as the Assistant Principal of Instructional Technology and Innovation at the time of his passing.

   Before his tenure at Rancocas Valley as an administrator, Mr. Hatziandreou worked at Eastern from 2005 to 2012 as an educator of mathematics. Teaching a wide range of courses including Algebra I Honors, Algebra II Accelerated, and AP Statistics, he committed himself to helping all levels of students at Eastern.

   Health and Phys. Ed teacher Mrs. Danyle Heilig, wife of Rancocas Valley superintendent Dr. Chris Heilig, remembers Mr. Hatziandreou as a passionate, demanding teacher; one whom students ultimately grew to love.

   “George was an advocate for students,” she said. “He was a teacher who believed in challenging kids; he valued mathematics and what he taught. He was massively loved up there [at Rancocas Valley], that’s for sure.”

   Mr. Hatziandreou originally taught in room 98, but later in his tenure at Eastern, he called room 806 home. Math teacher Mrs. Dianna Davis, a close friend of Hatziandreou, worked next door in room 808, and taught many of the same classes as him. The two maintained a close relationship, both in and away from the classroom, with their in-school dynamic reaching an almost telepathic status.

   “We would think exactly the same,” she said. “There were times when I would think of something I wanted to try with my class, and he would be sending me emails of the exact same thing I was thinking of at the same time.”

   Aside from academic instruction, Mr. Hatziandreou, who often went by “Mr. Hatz” or “Mr. Hatzi,” was also devoted to student life at Eastern. He frequently volunteered to help chaperone events such as school dances and proms, as well as the senior trip to Disney. In addition, he was involved with various school committees, and served briefly as a coach for the Boys Soccer team; the sport was one of his favorites to watch, as well as play.

   “He didn’t check in at 7:30 and check out at 2:45; he was very involved in the Eastern community,” Mrs. Davis said.

   While Mr. Hatziandreou developed a reputation as a wonderful educator, he was known at Eastern and beyond as a very personable and caring man as well. He made a habit of standing in the halls greeting students, always with a smile on his face.

   Outside of school, Mr. Hatziandreou resided in Philadelphia, and was an avid fan of Philly sports, particularly the Eagles and the Phillies. During the evenings, he also taught college courses at nearby BCIT.

   Although he lived and worked in the US, he never lost sight of his Greek heritage. Born and raised in Samos, Greece, he loved returning to his native country every summer, where he enjoyed spending time at the beaches.

   In fact, he would offer to bring Eastern teachers with him on his vacations, so he could show them around; a few years ago, he vacationed with a group of Rancocas Valley faculty. This type of selfless, compassionate behavior truly speaks to Mr. Hatziandreou’s character.

   Character is something that Mr. Hatziandreou showed through his words, as well as his actions.

   “Even if you didn’t agree with him, you respected him because he really believed in what he was doing,” Mrs. Davis said. “He would go out of his way to help kids that worked hard. He was a big loss when we lost him.”

   Mr. Hatziandreou left Eastern after the 2011-2012 school year and was hired at Rancocas Valley in 2013, becoming the school’s Supervisor of Mathematics, Instructional Technology, and the Media Center. To say that Eastern mourned his departure was an understatement.

    “I’ve never seen students cry when a teacher left; there were kids crying when they learned that Hatzi was leaving,” Mrs. Heilig said. “Kids genuinely really just appreciated and cared for him, loved him, and really appreciated what he brought out in them.”

   Rather eerily, before Mr. Hatziandreou occupied room 806 at Eastern, it was the home of another beloved Eastern teacher who left this world too soon. Mr. Nicastro, affectionately known at Eastern as Mr. Nic, had striking similarities to Mr. Hatziandreou. They both had boisterous personalities, didn’t hold back their opinions, and most importantly, dedicated themselves to educating their students.

   One thing is for sure: Mrs. O’Keefe’s room certainly has a storied history of exceptional educators; one that extends up to the present.

   While the Eastern and Rancocas Valley communities mourn, along with his friends, family, and everyone else he impacted during his life, it’s important to remember the integral role that teachers play in the lives of our youth.

   Rest easy, Mr. Hatziandreou; your memory will live on.