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A college-prep boarding and day school for students, grades 6-12, with dyslexia and similar language-based learning disabilities.

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Team Details



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  • Head Coach

    Mr. Mark Szafnicki is a long time Western New York native who grew up in Orchard Park, NY. He began his career at Gow in 1988. He is an avid tennis player ranked in the top 10 in WNY several times. Under his tutelage, the Gow Tennis teams won seven straight divisional championships in the Monsignor Martin league in the last seven years. Mr. Szafnicki still participates in local and state competitions, and he competed in two National tennis events. He likes spending summers on the shores of Lake Erie, and in the winter, he enjoys downhill skiing.

    Mr. Szafnicki is a former Rotarian. He twice served as president of the East Aurora Rotary Club and he is a Paul Harris Fellow. He and his wife Darcy live in on campus in Howard House. They have three children, all raised on The Gow School campus. Their oldest daughter Kendall worked as a counselor at The Gow School Summer Program throughout college, and she now serves as a dorm parent in Cornwall House. Their sons both attend school locally.

  • Assitant Coach

    Mr. John D. Simms III is an alumnus of The Gow School. After graduating in 2002, he traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin to attend St. Norbert College. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Religion in 2007, and he returned to work in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In 2009, Mr. Simms enrolled in a Master’s Program for Elementary/Middle School education. He graduated from Aurora University in 2011 with his Master’s Degree.

    In 2011, Mr. Simms joined The Gow School faculty where he teaches Middle School Reconstructive Language, advises Student Council, coaches ski racing and tennis, and serves as a dorm parent in Ellis House. Mr. Simms loves working with many of the educators that instructed him as a student. He says it is a pleasure to give back to the school that gave him his life back.

    Outside of teaching, Mr. Simms was married to his wife Elizabeth on August 2, 2014 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He is an avid golfer, a certified scuba diver, and a certified ski instructor. In addition, he is an animal lover who currently shares a living space with a precocious Siamese cat and a 14-gallon fish tank.

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