Being an educator for the last twenty-four years in the Broome County community has made me the person I am today. I grew up three hours away in Erie County, Hamburg, New York. I had never even been to Broome County until I applied for jobs after college. I won the lottery when I was hired at Maine-Endwell High School!
I received my undergraduate degree in education from Ohio University. I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher. I went in studying pre-law and changed my major part-way through.
Career paths are not necessarily straight; if I had closed the door to what I love now, I would not be as happy or passionate about my work.
My love for history, politics and the economy was instilled in me by my own high school teachers, and my father, who was a 4th grade teacher and loved history. I always naturally gravitated to the subject. Having inspiring educators throughout my life made me realize that I could provide the same support I received from my teachers.
Now, I’ve taught thousands of students, in nearly every social studies class offered at Maine-Endwell.
My favorite part of being a teacher is being there for the kids – instilling a sense of community and mindfulness, while watching them grow. Over the years, my students have shared that they are anxious about graduating and choosing a career path. I remind them that while they might not know yet, or their path could change, it’s okay!
I get to school about three and a half hours early every day to do some quiet work. I miss the kids when they aren’t hanging in my room for lunch, to talk about their lives, their academics, their futures, and to ask questions.
To me, every voice matters in education, including the students! I always tell my students the secret to a happy life is helping somebody in need, without thinking about it. Even when there is no benefit to you, you are actually helping yourself.
A good life to me is living a life of purpose and passion. Helping students be best prepared for life, post-graduation, is really the best thing we can do, as teachers.
For this reason, I’ve continued my education throughout my career, obtaining my Master’s Degree from SUNY Binghamton and attending nearly 65 EdCamps (professional development events designed for teachers, by teachers).
The education field has changed since I first started teaching; it was truly different my first fifteen years as a teacher. We did not have computers at the school then. The amount of change up until now has been awe-inspiring, and the opportunities that come with change are going to transform the kids and their futures.
It is important to note that educators are having that same sort of movement. Teachers are taking on their own learning, through EdCamps or conferences, to help students capitalize on amazing new opportunities provided by the district.
Students aren’t aware of all the opportunities available in Broome County. They take it for granted, saying there is nothing to do – yet, it is amazing to see kids leave and come back because Broome County is home to great schools, a strong community, a sustainable cost of living and an overall tremendous place to raise a family.
With all four seasons, fresh air, and a breathtaking natural landscape, Broome is beautiful! Broome’s central location also offers the flexibility to be almost anywhere in the state within three and a half hours, and almost anywhere in the City of Binghamton within fifteen minutes.
Broome County is so accessible – and we are only getting bigger and better!
Being the recipient of the New York State Teacher of the Year Award for 2020 was an honor and incredibly humbling. “Teacher of the Year” is more about being an ambassador to represent all the teachers in the region, as well as community members and leaders, and all of their hard work that supports our district and students.
Building my teaching career here at Maine-Endwell has enhanced my experience as an educator. I am grateful to have such a supportive administration and community, who provide an environment where educators can steer students toward new and exciting initiatives.
The community makes the Maine-Endwell school district amazing – the community’s generosity and support from all levels never ceases to amaze me. When looking for assistance, someone will always step up and offer their help, from finding beds for a family or providing folks with healthy food to eat.
Community leaders, like County Executive Jason Garnar, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, and Senator Akshar, have visited my classroom, inspiring students to stake their claim in our community.
The message is we never limit ourselves to “This is how we have always done it.” Instead, we push forward and develop new strategies to provide an environment where kids feel safe to make mistakes, grow and learn.
I am proud to be a part of the mission to give the kids in Broome County opportunities they need to pursue a good life!
Maine-Endwell High School, and the M-E School District, is part of why #Broomeisgood.