Teacher of the Month: Ed March Reply

Where did you grow up?

I was raised in Brooklyn, New York.

What was your previous job?

My last job was working as loss prevention for Prada in a mall.

What kind of student were you in high school?

I was kind of this odd under-achiever; I could’ve done better, but besides that, I did pretty well. More…


Teacher of the Month: Ms. Beane Reply

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.

What type of person were you in high school?

I was, and this is actually true to this day, I still have friends who say, ‘you didn’t belong in any one group’ and so I had friends in lots of different groups. I was a dancer, I used to dance in the high school musicals. I was the editorial page editor for my school newspaper. I was a swimmer, I was the captain of the swim team when I was a senior.

Was there anything that influenced you to work with students with special needs while growing up?

That’s an interesting question. My interest in teaching was really cultivated by my high school history teacher. She helped me really turn around because I wasn’t really doing well in my tenth grade year. I had her for my junior and senior years and I just became a much better student because of her, and so that’s where that began. As to working with special needs, my brother has done that for a very long time… at first, it was very difficult and I wasn’t sure I made the right choice, but now I’ve adjusted and I really really love it. Like I don’t know, if somebody said to me ‘would you like to work in general education English,’ I think I’d miss my kids that need extra help. I’ve gotten too attached. More…

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Tramantozzi Reply

Where did you grow up?

Yonkers, NY.

Have you always been interested in art?

I think even when I was very young, I always really liked drawing and I always liked making things (like projects or anything that I could make); but I think I began to think seriously about it in high school when I started getting positive feedback. I started to get recognized for doing art from my friends, some teachers, and my dad. I didn’t think that it could be something I could pursue in my life until someone said that I could. I didn’t even know that it was a major in school because I didn’t have it in high school. It definitely came from people’s encouragement (like from my friends and family).

What made you enjoy art making so much?

I don’t think I ever had to think about that, but I think that when I discovered that it could be a language that I could use to communicate that was different than words, art became more interesting for me. So, I might have been shy when I was younger, and having this other language to express myself was something that was very interesting to me. Then when I learned about other artists and saw the ways that they would express themselves that were different from me, that caused me to become more and more interested. More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Yanek 3

What is your cultural background?

I am a New Yorker, through and through.

Where did you grow up?

Franklin Square, New York.

If you could live in any other place in the world, where would it be and why?

New York is my first choice, but if I couldn’t live in New York I think I’d be pretty happy in Mexico City. It’s like New York, but it has public toilets. It seems like enough of a big city for me and it has a good vibe.

What type of kid were you in high school?

I got good grades, but deep down I was a fool.

If you were a student and had yourself as your teacher, would you meet the standards you hold for your students?

With a vengeance. More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Mac Reply


IMG_4112What were your favorite sports in high school? Why?

I enjoyed golf and tennis because they were individuals sports where I was competing against myself or one opponent, but I also loved playing basketball too for the team experience.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rhode Island, which is about 40 minutes south of Boston.

Other than sports, what other interests did you have as a kid?

I truly fell in love with taxidermy. Have you ever stuffed a dead cat? It’s a passion of mine! More…

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Meifen Xia Reply


Ms. Xia is the new Chinese teacher at BSGE and she teaches eighth, tenth, and eleventh graders.

Where are you from? Shanghai, China. I was born and raised in the city.

What did you parents do? They are in China now. My father is a chemist and he was like a magician; he was able to answer any questions I had. My mother is a designer and she didn’t speak a lot, but she would take care of us. I grew up with two older sisters.

What was school like when you were in high school? I went to a specialized high school about 30 years ago. I remember taking a math test every Monday after school, because my teacher didn’t want to waste teaching time in class. It made me unafraid of any test. Also, the classroom was much different because girls could not sit with boys. We were not encouraged to date in high school. I knew only one couple in high school who secretly dated and no one found out until college. More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Matt Anderson

IMG_2812Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the South Bronx.

What type of student were you? How would you describe yourself as a kid?

I was inquisitive, I liked school, I was interested in the origin of everything. I felt like I was pretty athletic and I would ride around New York. We would go to Central Park and do a lot of athletic things. A lot of my life was built around that, being athletic. I did a lot of work after school, I did ballet, basketball and other things. My high school was somewhat of a performing arts school. You had to choose the talent you had in 5th grade. They had theater, dance, orchestra, they also had a glee club. I decided I wanted to be in the dance class. A big motivation was that there was a girl in the class that I liked. However, I liked the class too. More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Laskowski Reply


Mr. Laskowski wearing an Iron Man mask even though he says his favorite comic book character is The Hulk

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Buffalo, NY which is about 20 min. from Niagara Falls.

What were you like as a kid?  What did you like to do?

I liked playing sports, I went outside and played every day. I also loved playing video games on the weekend.

When did you develop your love for science?

My 12th grade teacher was really inspiring but he was very passionate about physics and it showed in his work. He also looked like Albert Einstein, his hair was really frizzy, and I think he purposely styled it that way.  More…

Teacher of the Month: Darlene Bullock Reply


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. More…

Teacher of the Month: Gretchen Schwarz Reply

A page of Ms. Schwarz's artwork from her artist's book

A page of Ms. Schwarz’s artwork from her artist’s book

Where did you grow up?

My family moved around a lot, so I grew up in a couple of different places.  I was born in Pennsylvania.  I grew up in mostly small towns; Indiana, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. But for high school my family moved to a bigger city, to Milwaukee.

Was it a big transition from living in a small town, to living in a bigger city?

It was, I actually went through a major culture shock.  City kids are a lot more savvy, and they have a sense of maturity that rural kids don’t have, so it was a big change for me.  But I ended up liking Milwaukee a lot, and I realized I like bigger cities better than small towns.

What type of student were you in high school?

I was a good student.  I was quiet, I don’t think I participated a lot during discussions.  I preferred to develop ideas in my head, and I was a little shy.

When did you begin to discover that you had a love for art?

I was pretty young, I was maybe around ten or eleven years old when I realized I liked to draw.  And it was through regular school art classes that I decided that I liked it.  When my classmates came over and admired my drawings, or when my parents noticed that I was spending so much time with it, they put me in specialized art classes outside of school. And I went to art schools for both middle and high school.

When did you realize that you were an artist?

When I was in high school I realized that this was something I really wanted to do, and I knew I wanted to move to New York to go to art school.  The art world has been centered in New York for a long time, and the more I learned about artists and studied art history the more I wanted to come to New York.  I spent my entire senior year just daydreaming about what it would be like to live in New York and to go to art school.  I moved here after high school, and I went to the School of Visual Arts.  More…

Interview with BSGE’s Business Administrator Krystal Weiss

Where are you from?

Queens, New York.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC?

I love to do brunches with my friends, go to movies. I’ve recently gotten into mud runs, I’m going to a zombie run next week!

How would you describe your job at BSGE?

My job mainly consists of assisting Ms. Johnson with operational matters and administrational matters. Any other assistance, I’m usually the person that people call.

What is it like day to day as the business counselor for BSGE?

I email a lot! … I really do.

A big thing I deal with is compliance, and a lot of follow ups, I make sure we follow all the rules with the DOE. I handle the bank accounts, and the incoming money from things like bake sales. More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Stone


Where did you grow up?

Right here in NY, Manhattan.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had a lot of good teachers who I admired as a student. I like talking about history, I like working with kids, I like working with other people. It’s a pretty good line of work to be in.

Where did you go to college? Major?

I went to Bowdoin College. I majored in history and concentrated in European History.

Where and what did you teach before you came to BSGE?

Well right before I came to BSGE I was in graduate school at Teacher’s College in Columbia. Before that I actually taught everything in an elementary school for a couple of years.

Why history?

I think it’s a fun subject to teach because there are always points of connection More…

Staff Member of the Month: Virge Ramos Reply

UnknownWhat is your cultural background?

I am of Puerto Rican descent and was born and raised in New York City. You can call me a New Yorican.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Queens, Jackson Heights.

Have you ever been to Puerto Rico?


How do you like it?

I love it.

What are some of the most remarkable places in Puerto Rico?

There are many beautiful places there. One remarkable place in particular is a surfing town called Rimcon, located on the West Coast. It’s very small and there are no big hotel chains. There are a lot of surfing going on. It’s a very beautiful place.

Do you like to surf?

No, I’m not very good at it.

Do you have any siblings?

I have two older sisters and two younger brothers.

How did it feel like to grow up as the middle child of the family?

It was a lot of work. You get beat up by the older ones, and you have to beat up the little ones, so you’re right smack in the middle.

What languages do you speak?

English, Spanish, Japanese

What did you dream of becoming when you were little?

Rich and famous.

Did you ever imagine yourself working at a school?

No, but I imagined being a superstar More…

Staff Member of the Month: Tim David-Lang Reply

photoWhat are your plans for the future?

I don’t see any major changes in my life.

When did you realize you wanted to work in a school?

My first job with kids was when I was 15, in a summer camp. Then, during college I participated in a summer academic program and I realized that I wanted to pursue this career after college.

What were you like as student?

I definitely liked school a lot. I was a very active in classes and in extra-curricular activities. I didn’t enjoy math and science. But I got good grades in all of my classes. I was a curious student and I More…

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Julie Hunter Reply

Ms. Hunter Skydiving

BaccRag: Where did you work before you came to BSGE?

Ms. Hunter: At another school, in New York.

What do you think of BSGE so far?

It’s really great, it’s a really special place. The students are really good, the building is really clean, the staff is really good, my boss is good, the neighborhood is good. I really love it here, I really like this school.

Was math your favorite subject in high school?

Yeah, it was.

What kind of math?

Well, it’s kind of hard to remember high school, even though it wasn’t that long ago. We didn’t learn things in the same order as you guys. I really liked algebra, actually. And geometry.

When did you decide you wanted to teach math?

When I graduated during the Recession, and I had trouble finding a job, I went back to school to become a teacher, because both my parents were teachers, and I figured – why not. More…

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Clarkson-Farrell Reply

photoOkay, so for starters, what is your first name, Ms. Clarkson Farrell?

 Alright, finally… Here it comes, dun dun dun! So many people have been asking me throughout the years, it’s Theresa. Theresa Clarkson Farrell, people call me Terry.

 Finally! We find out. So, what would you describe your position at BSGE?

 Oh my goodness, I wear many hats. I do the library, I am the librarian. I oversee the 10th grade personal project elective; sometimes I call myself the 10th grade personal project cheerleader. Urging you on, “Yes, you can do it!” Also, this term, I am covering the Human Rights class for Peter, this is the first time I’m doing that.

 So, you’re teaching the class?

 Well yes, I’m teaching the class, but following Peter’s curriculum to the best of More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Mehan Reply

1.) What is your cultural background?

I am actually fifth- or sixth-generation American. My mother is working out the specifics but I do know that I have mostly Irish ancestry with a bit of English/French thrown into the mix.

2.) Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a very small town, Stillwater, in Upstate NY outside of Albany/Saratoga.

3.) What was your childhood like?

Since it was a small town, everyone knew each other, much like BSGE. We spent a lot of time just hanging outside at bonfires/cookouts, playing games, or just sitting on the banks of the Hudson (it’s much narrower up north). I ended graduating with 75 others in the only high school in town.

4.) When did you decide to be a teacher?

I remember during playing school when I was little and ‘teaching’ imaginary students (4th grade history/geography). My sixth grade math teacher, Mrs. Alston, helped increase my More…

Staff member of the Month: Mildred Velez

How would you describe your role in BSGE?

Well my title is school aide. I do a few things. I’m in the cafeteria for all the lunch periods. Then after the lunch periods are over, I do what the staff… If they need supplies, I get the teacher supplies, I do filing, I make copies, I take care of the copying machines, I order supplies for the copy machines… And basically anything that comes up.

How long have you worked at BSGE?

I believe it’s going on for 5 years.

So you’ve been here the whole time Ms.Johnson was the principal?

Yes, the whole time she was principal and I believe one year before she was the principal. When Mr. Stroud was the principal.

Why did you choose to work here?

Well I didn’t choose, they chose me. Because the Board of Education sends  More…

Staff Member of the Month: Ms. Vanessa Rabines Reply

Where are you from? What is your background?
I’m Peruvian American. I guess that’s what you would technically call it. My parents are Peruvian and I was born here.

Do you have any siblings? how many? do you get along with them?
Yes, I have two siblings. An older brother and an older sister. We get along very well.

Really? Are you lying?
Yes, really and no I’m not lying. I mean me and my sister used to fight, not me and my brother when we were younger, but we’re adults now.

How would you describe the kind of music you listen to? Favorite band?
I don’t think I have a favorite band, I like to listen to chill music: r&b, soul, something that’s pleasing to my ear nothing raunchy or loud.

What would you consider to be ‘raunchy or loud’?
Something that I can’t understand basically most of the music from now.

Why did you choose to work here?
I technically didn’t choose to work here, I had worked at queens vocational for a year, then got laid off, then when I was reassigned back to the board of ed I was sent here.

What do you think of the students? Be honest.
To be honest, I enjoy working with this group of students because if More…