BA Psychology - St. Bonaventure University; Social Studies Teaching License - Edinboro University of PA; M.Ed. in Educational Administration - Cleveland State University; Ed.D. in Leadership & Administration - Point Park University
I wish I had a great story for this one that included an inspirational teacher or moment that led me to knowing I wanted to be a teacher at a young age. Despite my teachers’ best efforts and definite inspiration, I was not excited to become a teacher until I was 22 years old. I had to graduate college early due to financial struggles. That left me as a December graduate with a BA in Psychology, unprepared, and debt needing to be repaid soon. My wife (girlfriend at the time) was in an elementary education program at another university and LOVED it. I had never thought about becoming a teacher, BUT knew I wanted to help kids as counselor of some kind. Therefore, I had to go back to school regardless. I began thinking about a becoming a teacher and enrolled to get my teaching certificate a month later. One of my better choices in life:)
Currently, I am an assistant principal at a 9/10 building. I have been a teacher, Dean, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, and Principal. I have also worked in urban and suburban districts as well as in public and private education. I feel like a well rounded educator:)
Tough question in 2020! Honestly, this is where I was meant to be. I enjoy each and every day and see them as opportunities to help others while learning about myself and those around me. I have had the great fortune of working with some amazingly talented, genuine, and selfless educators over my 20 year career so how can I not be inspired each and every day!?! The work is so hard and complicated, but the perseverance of our youth is remarkable. They are growing up in a wild world and I want to be a part of it. I want to be there to help them up when they fall and cheer them on when they succeed. Being able to do this defines success for me in my career and life.
2020 has brought a much needed spotlight on injustices all across our society. I have spent the last year reading, learning, listening while trying to better myself as an educator and person. To believe that racism, inequality, and injustice are things of the past is naive and simple out of touch with reality. I know that as a white man, privilege has been a part of my life. I cannot change it. However, I have learned about and acknowledged the VAST differences in my experiences with people of color, women, LGBTQ, and others. I did not have to work for my privilege: it just was. With that understanding I believe my role as an educator is to acknowledge the inequality in my school and district. No one is immune. How can I use my voice and position to level the playing field? We must be more than kind, more than tolerant. We have to love, understand, care for others as true equals. Every single student who enters my building should have the same opportunities as everyone else. Much of our injustices and inequalities in our building can go unnoticed or treated as rare one-offs. As leaders, as educators, as human beings, we have to truly open our eyes and live with empathy. Think of the world, country, state, city, community, school we would live in if we all committed to living with empathy for our fellow humans.
We are starting with the tough conversations and there are challenges for sure. There are many who do not believe there could possibly be a problem in our school or community. Assumptions are made. Much of it is seen through white eyes and that does not complete the picture. We can’t just rely on addressing issues as they arise. That is a part of it. But we also need to look for ways to make us stronger together, respect each other, lead with empathy, and build a true community that is accepting and welcoming of ALL students; not just ones that look exactly like us.
One day, I hope that true equality will exist in our community and society at large. That all barriers and obstacles that have been built throughout our history disproportionately impacting some are removed and destroyed forever so everyone can truly realize equality. I believe this starts with the acknowledgment that inequality and injustice are real and pervasive in our country.