Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Brooklyn, down on 19th street in the lower portion of South Brooklyn. It was good, because I grew up around all my family, my mother’s side of the family primarily. I grew up with six brothers and sisters, so it was a lot of fun.
Where did you go to college?
Pick one! I went to St. Francis College. I went to, for about three years, Long Island College Hospital for Nursing. I also completed my Master’s degree at St. John’s University, and I attended Queens College for my administrative license and degree.
Why did you decide to become a history teacher?
Well, I’ve always loved history, and I worked for American Express for 19 years, as an employee and then eventually as an administrator. And then I got bored with it, because I knew it well, and I decided I’d like to teach, because I used to teach some of the people in my company. So I decided to leave American Express and go back to school to become a teacher. I really enjoy it.
Where did you teach before BSGE?
Well, I’ve taught in several different environments. I taught, as I said, at the company, as a trainer, and I also taught at Catholic school: Bishop Ford High School in Brooklyn. I taught science there, based on my nursing license. I’m an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). I then worked at Newtown High School for ten years as a social studies teacher. And from there I became an AP for three years at Martin Van Buren, and now I find myself here at BSGE, which I love, by the way.
What’s your favorite thing about working at BSGE?
My favorite thing is… I love the kids, of course, but that goes across the board, I always love the kids. But here, specifically, I just feel like I’m among my natural peers, because we have the same type of work ethic. We all work hard, and we all love working hard to give the kids the best education they can get. It just feels very comfortable, like being at home. I can work at my leisure, and everyone else is working just as hard.
What makes BSGE different from other schools?
It’s smaller, I always worked in very large high schools. I like the smaller community, and the kids, everybody knows everybody, and I think that’s a good way to improve their education. Teachers know each other personally enough to head off any possible situations, where students might be faltering. We can pull together and try to help that student as a team instead of as an individual teacher.
Although you don’t teach IB, what do you think of the IB program?
I think it’s brilliant. I did interview for an IB school out on Long Island years ago. I learned alot about IB back there, to prepare for the interview. I think it’s a very rewarding diploma because it opens you up to universities across the world who accept that particular curriculum. It’s not just one New York State curriculum, it’s open to so many global perspectives and ideas, and I like that a lot.
What’s your favorite grade to teach and why?
My favorite grade is either 9th and 10th because I like to teach global. I thought I would end up teaching U.S. History but I now find it’s the opposite; I really do enjoy teaching global studies.
What is your favorite topic to teach?
World religions and philosophies. My main education at St. John’s was primarily on government theory, and I would go all the way back to Machiavelli. I like that portion where we begin to get into the political, philosophical questions.
What’s one thing students do in your class that you hate?
Bathrooms. There’s always a long line to go to the bathroom. That’s the only thing. Otherwise, teenagers are teenagers. There’s nothing I really hate. I don’t like when they don’t get involved with the information, though. When you get involved and interested in the work, it stays with you.
What are some of your hobbies?
I haven’t had any recently. I love to go antiquing. I love watching shows on how to decorate your house, those are great.
What’s your favorite type of food?
Mexican. My mother was Italian, my father Scottish and Irish. I grew up primarily with my mother’s family, and I love to cook Italian. But I love to eat hot, spicy food like Mexican food.
Not at this moment. I would love to have a dog.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you?
I would love to bring Hugh Jackman, a soda fountain, and some good books.
Favorite movie and favorite book?
My favorite movie is 1776, a musical about the American Revolution. My favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird and Who Moved My Cheese, which is a fun book.
If you could go anywhere on Spring Break where would it be?
Scotland. I would love to go to Scotland. It’s the country of my paternal grandmother’s family.
Describe yourself in high school!
I was a bit of a nerd. I hung around with the smart kids. Although I wasn’t that smart, they were. All the brainy kids. I was a bit of a dork, absolutely.
Was history your favorite class?
Actually, science was my favorite back then. History was a close second, but it was science without a doubt.
If you could give one piece of advice to the average BSGE student, what would it be?
Never give up. No matter what you do, no matter how hard it seems, just don’t give up. There’s always a way to break through.