1. What is your background and what do you teach?

I went to Auburn Community College in Cayuga. I work at Cicero-North Syracuse High School as a teaching assistant to students with special needs. I also coach the varsity football team and field hockey. Other sports I have coached are track, lacrosse and basketball. I have worked with some of the top athletes in the country. I have worked with Special Olympics, done some motivational speaking and have written an autobiography.

2. You were recently been selected as the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Congratulations. Can you share what this honor is about?

I didn’t even know what this award was until I was nominated by a student I had for field hockey. It was tear-wrenching. It is a nomination by a student who you’ve changed their life and motivated to do better things. I like to dedicate my time to students outside of school, as well, if it helps to push them to do bigger and better things.

3. It looks like you have been involved in a number of different sports. Do you have a favorite?

That’s hard because I have traveled around the world. I have worked with kids in all different sports, those now in the NFL, WNBA and professional baseball. In terms of my favorite, I just want to change lives and make these kids believe in themselves when no one else does. I want them to know that they can do big things.

Know an educator who deserves a mention? Email courtneyk@familytimescny.com.

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