What do your students call you?
I answer to Mr. Tercek or Mr. T.
What made you want to work at Flintridge Sacred Heart?
I was raised Catholic and spent my high school years at a boarding school. Both experiences had a profound impact on me. From the moment I first stepped on campus, I felt extremely comfortable - as if I belonged here! Plus, after teaching at a coed school I was curious to learn what a single sex school is like.
What has been your proudest professional accomplishment?
I've enjoyed a lot of proud moments through the course of my career. As an advertising executive, I created many famous TV commercials. As a screenwriter, I worked on a popular TV series. But I'm probably proudest for abandoning all of that in middle age to do something I've dreamt of doing my whole life: becoming a high school English teacher.
What has been your favorite teaching moment at Flintridge Sacred Heart?
The first day of classes was unforgettable. The students were so enthusiastic and happy to be here. I wish I could take some of that positive energy and bottle it up.
What most excites you about your work here on the Hill?
My students and my colleagues are smart, inspiring and fun. I'm very lucky to spend my working hours with them.
What is Flintridge Sacred Heart's best kept secret?
Sister Celeste and Sister Carolyn! They're very charming and kind, and have a great way of helping us keep things in perspective.
What do you love about the all-girls environment at Flintridge Sacred Heart?
The all-girls environment frees the students to be themselves - to be the bright, articulate leaders and achievers each of them can be.
What's your favorite spot on campus?
The campus is gorgeous and has no shortage of terrific spots. Right now my favorite is the staircase from the lower parking lot to the main school building. Every morning I take it from my car to my classroom. Watching the sun rise over the mountains while I stroll past the campus' cottages and gardens to my first class is an inspiring way to start my day.
When not in the classroom/office, where can you be found?
I alternate between the outdoor tables outside the faculty cottage and the chairs on the breezeway outside the dining hall. They're both calm, peaceful places and perfect for grading papers or planning lessons.
What's your favorite place in the world?
It's hard to beat the front porch of the lovely home I share with my wife in Beverly Hills. Give me a good book and a strong cup of coffee, and I can sit there for hours. Here's another favorite: this past summer, I was lucky enough to spend time in a quiet, artsy mountain village in Croatia called Grozjnan. It's a fantastic spot and I'm already plotting my return trip.
What are you surprisingly good at?
I play a mean game of ping-pong. And over the last few years, I've become good at preparing tasty vegetarian meals.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life?
My father. He was a garrulous guy who loved people and music and showed me that you could have it all if you worked hard and managed your time carefully. He built and sold several businesses and played drums for his (excellent) dance band every weekend - and still managed to be a very present father for his six children.
What book, movie, work of art, piece of music, etc. can you not imagine life without?
I couldn't live without the following: the films of Mel Brooks, the poetry of Robert Frost, the plays of William Shakespeare, the novels of Hermann Melville, the music of Elvis Costello, the news and arts coverage in “The New Yorker,” and the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein. And my wife's cooking!
What did you want to be when you grew up (at age 12)?
When I was 12 I wanted to play bass in a rock band.
What do you want to be when you grow up (now)?
I'm pretty sure I've found the job that's right for me at this stage of my life. I adore teaching at Flintridge Sacred Heart and would be thrilled to spend the rest of my working days here.