I was born in East Orange, NJ, in 1966. Later, mom and dad moved the family to West Orange, very near South Mountain Arena and the Turtle Back Zoo. In fact, the whole of South Mountain Reservation was a playground for me and my brother for most of our childhood. For grades 3-8, I attended St. Joseph Elementary School in West Orange (gone the way of too many Catholic grammar schools, it closed years ago).
I attended Oratory Prep, in Summit, NJ from 1980 until graduation in 1984. There, I had some wonderful teachers who made enormously positive impacts on my life in many ways, the most obvious of which would be in my choosing to become a high school teacher myself. Here's to Mr. Fava (English), Mr. Horan (history/writing), Fr. Langdon (religion) and Fr. Manning (math) in particular! I think Fr. Langdon bet hard money that I'd become a priest.
I earned my Bachelor's degree in English from Fordham University (Rose Hill, of course) in 1988 and was fortunate enough to be hired as an English teacher at Aquinas High School, an all-girls Catholic school run by the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary (Sparkill, NY). I learned so much teaching at this school and remain ever-grateful to Sister Margaret Ryan, the principal who took a chance on a wet-behind-the-ears kid just out of college.
Later I pursued a Master's degree in Literature while attending graduate classes at CUNY Lehman, SUNY New Paltz, and Iona College.
I joined St. Joe's in September of 2005. I have taught English, French, Spanish, and history classes.
New Windsor, NY
I love literature because of the insight it gives us not only into the mysteries of the human soul (things like greed, or mercy, or ambition, or grief, or personal fortitude) but also because of the way it lets us see into the past. It really DOES matter that the Green Knight (the embodiment of druidic paganism who challenges the budding Christianity of King Arthur and his knights in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) wears gold spurs. This fact PANICS Arthur's knights: this rude visitor is SO skilled at riding (a virtue held most highly by medieval warriors) that he doesn't NEED spurs to control his giant horse, but he does like the way they look.
Anyhow, if I could bring one iota of my passion about literature to my students, I will consider myself successful.
My goal is to provoke curiosity or spark creativity by exposing my students to literature that some people consider dead - or at the very least, useless. My happiest teaching days are those when the students walk out of my class discussing or - even better - arguing about something we experienced in literature that day.
When I'm not in my classroom you can find me....
... wandering the trails of the Hudson Highlands, where we live. From the switchbacks of Storm King Forest to the Mid-Hudson walkway in Highland, I love being outdoors and enjoying the nature that surrounds us. JK ; ) I've been way too sedentary lately to be able to claim this, but it IS what I WANT to be doing. I'm getting right on it!
Ask me About...
... my five kids. Kathie, my wife, and I are SO proud of them and their accomplishments! Or, you can ask about our three dogs. We love our dogs almost as much as our kids.