I went to college at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and dual-majored in English and psychology. Upon graduation, I received a job working at Scholastic Books in lower Manhattan. I left Scholastic after a few years and began working with film and television production crews as a production assistant before picking up a full-time position at HBO.
And then the Columbine shooting happened. I became extremely disturbed and worried about typical school life. I started thinking about how schools should aid adolescent development and thought that we had really dropped the ball. So I went down to the Board of Education and began seeking a teaching job. I became a science and English teacher in a special education program in Brooklyn, with absolutely no faculty support. I was pointed towards a book closet and told, “Teach what ever books you’d like. You can do what ever science you want with these students. They won’t pass the Regents exams, so just control them until we can find a way to get them out of our system.”
I became disillusioned with the public school system. I found that experience to be so disheartening and felt that the dysfunction in the system was larger than anything I could fix. Friends alerted me to an opening at Packer School in Brooklyn Heights, and soon thereafter I was offered a position teaching high school biology. At the time I didn’t know anything about biology, and I worked rigorously for a few years to teach myself some very sophisticated material.
A few years later, I met my wife, got married, had children, and headed to Millbrook School. I immediately fell in love with teaching in the boarding school environment. My career path has been quite interesting, and I think that it’s very important for students to know that life’s not always going to be a straight line.