We had the fortunate opportunity to interview one of STAC’s favorite early childhood education professors!
Q: When did you start working at STAC, and what is the best part about your job?
A: I began teaching at STAC in 1995 after teaching in the Bronx for 27 years. I had been a
classroom teacher with all grades 1-6, a reading specialist, and then a literacy coach who
taught teachers. The best part of my job is being passionate so I can motivate and engage
students and support their learning in every way possible.
Q: What was your favorite and least favorite class in college?
A: My favorite class at Harpur College, now Binghamton University, was a political science
class I took with a Visiting Professor from the University of Minnesota. His name was
Mulford Q. Sibley and he had written a number of books on nonviolence and passive
resistance. He became a leader of faculty against the Vietnam War. I was the student
government president and I led students against the Vietnam War, so we worked closely
together. He asked the question that changed my life: What do you want to do with the
rest of your life that will make a difference in the world? That was when I decided to
become a teacher.
My least favorite class was Organic Chemistry. I went to college thinking that I would
become a medical doctor, but this was the only class I ever failed. In fact, the professor
failed about 80% of us. It was the last science class I ever took.
Q: Favorite college memory?
A: My favorite college memory is leading students in a huge march against the Vietnam War
in Washington. We felt we were changing the country. I also have a very moving
memory of giving a speech as student government president the day after Dr. M
Martin Luther king Jr. died.
Q: First job?
A: My first job was teaching fifth grade in the Bronx. I had found my “calling.” I had many
struggling readers and writers who hated school and I was able to change their lives. I
still hear from a few of them.
Q: You just sold your tech start up for 10 million dollars! What’s the first thing you do with the money?
A: Ten million dollars? WOW! Truthfully, I would start a school and hire my graduates
from our MSEd. Literacy Program. I know it would become a national model for
teaching and learning.
Q: Out of all the classes you teach, do you have a favorite?
A: I really love every class I teach. I mean it.
Q: If someone made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you?
A: Probably George Clooney. I think he would be able to represent my passion.
Q: Any hobbies that people don’t know you have?
A: I used to be a photographer who showed my work in galleries and museums. All my
work in pre-digital times was in black and white, and I had own darkroom to process
film. My photographic heroes were W. Eugene Smith, a photographer for Life
Magazine, and Ansel Adams. I also am a morning jogger who has completed four New
York City marathons.
Q: If you were a candy, what candy would you be?
A: Sorry, I wouldn’t be any candy. I only eat healthy foods. Most of my diet is vegetarian,
so I would be any vegetable.
Q: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A: I come back to Mulford Q. Sibley’ question: What do you want to do with the rest of
your life that will make a difference in the world? That was his advice in the form of a
question. I have never looked back. Cheers.