College where you graduated: Dowling College for my Bachelors and Masters.
NYS Certification: Social Studies 7-12 Students with Disabilities (Social Studies) 7-12
Previous educational experience: I have been teaching at Berkshire for 3 years. Before that I was a full-time substitute at Hoosic Valley for a year helping struggling students regain credits. I also coached Varsity Soccer for a year.
Interesting/unknown/random fact: I am left handed. I grew up on a dairy farm but went to college in the city, and I played baseball for 4 years in college.
Favorite food and why: Apple pie because I love sweets!
Favorite Song and why: Lose Yourself, by Eminem – Eminem gives a peek into just how he gets himself to where he wants to be with this pounding, marching, almost frenzied anthem that taps right into the emotional center of wanting something so badly you can’t risk not making it happen.
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? Abraham Lincoln because he is an inspirational leader who evoked major changes against a great deal of criticism. He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in and he had the courage to believe in something even though no one around him did.
What is your grand, audacious goal? What do you wish people would know, believe, do? My goals are to help people achieve new heights. To believe, almost emphatically, that they can achieve when they do not see it themselves. I hope to keep pace with the ever changing field of education and offer the best possible program available for the students in my care so that they can become responsible, respectful, productive members of society.
Ms. Elizabeth Bremer Math Teacher
Town where you were born: Riverhead, NY
College where you graduated: SUNY Cortland, B.S. Mathematics SUNY Potsdam, M.S. Ed. Special Education
NYS Certification: Mathematics 7-12 Students with Disabilities 5-12
Previous educational experience: Applied Behavior Analysis Program for students with Autism in Potsdam, NY
Interesting/unknown/random fact: Played Rugby for SUNY Cortland
Favorite food and why: Macaroni and cheese. No two versions are the same.
Favorite Song and why: Stars, by Switchfoot. It has a really great vibe to it and it takes me back to my 7th and 8th grade school trips to Boston and Washington D.C. respectively.
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? I would want to have dinner with Tina Fey because she seems to be a strong woman in comedy. Dinner with her seems like it would be a great time.
What is your grand, audacious goal? My goal is to help students achieve their goal and to prepare them for success after high school.
What do you wish people would know, believe, do? What Teachers Make, by Taylor Mali, is a great description of what I hope to have individuals believe that I do because most of it is true.
Mr. Richard Shea Social Studies Teacher
Town where you were born: Kirkwood, Missouri
College where you graduated: SUNY Oswego, B.S. Education in Social Studies The College of Saint Rose, M.S. Ed. Special Education
NYS Certification: Social Studies 7-12 Students with Disabilities (Social Studies) 7-12
Previous educational experience: I have been teaching at Berkshire for 4 years. Before that I taught at Cairo-Durham for a year. I have also substitute taught at Shenendehowa and spent a few summers as a Pre-School teacher for autistic children.
Interesting/unknown/random fact: I worked for Apple Inc. for 2 1/2 years. I have met Bill Clinton and I have seen the Dave Matthews Band in concert 24 times.
Favorite food and why: Anything Italian. But mostly Chicken Parmigiana. I love the flavors of authentic Italian food. Plus, my mom always made it when I was younger.
Favorite Song and why: “Stay” by Dave Matthews Band, because it is the song that got me hooked on the band. Plus, it reminds me of a hot summer day. Who doesn’t like to be reminded of summer living in New York?
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? I would like to have dinner with Steve Jobs. He was the Thomas Edison of our time. I would ask him about his work ethic and how he seemed to know what we wanted before we knew we wanted it.
What is your grand, audacious goal? “I want to put a ding in the universe”- Steve Jobs I will be happy with putting a ding in education reform and helping students find their potentials in life and their communities.
What do you wish people would know, believe, do? “Stay Young, Stay foolish”- Steve Jobs. In a sense, too many people get old too fast and lose the excitement of their youth. The ideas we all have on how to change the world go to the wayside as we get older. We need those ideas more as adults, and the ability to “Stay Foolish”… to be willing and able to go out on a limb and try new things in the workplace/in life, to be willing to make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes without fear. Most importantly, to have fun in life. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
Mr. Michael Spruck ELA Teacher
Town where you were born: Carmel, NY
College where you graduated: The College of Saint Rose
NYS Certification: ELA 7-12 Students with Disabilities (Generalist) 7-12 Students with Disabilities (ELA) 7-12
Previous educational experience: Student teaching internships at the LaSalle Residential Treatment Center, Doyle Middle School, and Algonquin Middle School, Teaching assistant at Questar III, Taught 7th and 8th grade in the Schenectady City School District for the 2012-2013 school year, Taught 9th and 11th grade in the Capital Region BOCES Summer School Program
Interesting/unknown/random fact: I know how to walk on stilts; I've been on four cruises in which I have traveled to Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and Tortola.
Favorite food and why: Pizza because I am Italian and I am good at making it!
Favorite Song and why: "Stand" by Lenny Kravitz because it is about not giving up and doing whatever you put your mind to.
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? Gene Wilder because I grew up watching his movies and I would love to ask him about his writing process for his old screenplays and the novels he currently writes.
What is your grand, audacious goal? My ultimate goal is to continue to teach, to have a piece of writing published, and to help as many people as I can along the way.
What do you wish people would know, believe, do? I wish that more people would believe in themselves and realize that with hard work, anything is possible.
Ms. Teresa Prisco Teacher
Town where you were born in: Bronx , New York
College where you graduated from: Fordham University B.S. in Science Herbert H . Lehman College M.S. in Special Education
NYS Certifications: Certified Special Education Teacher
PreviousEducational Experience: I taught in the Albany School District
Interesting/unknown/random fact: I am fluent in Italian and as a child I spent my summers there .
Favorite food and why: Linguine with clams that was my dad’s favorite dish and he would make it for us every Friday it reminds me of a childhood that was rich with idealism and hope something that children today often lack .
Favorite song and why: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin it speaks to thoughts and worries that a woman encounters. The themes are still present in today's world.
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? Mahmata Gandi he led a nation against their oppressors with no brute strength and they were able to accomplish their ultimate goal . The leaders of today need to look at him for strength and guidance so the turmoil that surrounds comes to a quick end .
What is your grand audacious goal? What do you wish people would know, believe, do? I believe that as a teacher I should educate , empower , and create learners for life . By empowering students you can engage them further in learning , provide a more democratic learning experience and of course ,find the most powerful resource in the classroom : the teacher .
Ms. Karen Souza School Psychologist
Town where you were born in: Dobbs Ferry N.Y.
College where you graduated from: Mercy College B.S. Psychology Mercy College M.S. School Psychology
NYS Certifications: Certified School Psychologist
Previous Educational Experience: I worked at Clarkstown North High School in a specialized program called SAIL (Student’s Attitude for Individualized Learning). This program was for students who needed additional support that weren't thriving in the mainstream. I also worked on a multi-disciplinary team for students with disabilities at the Southfield Center for Development. I wrote private educational reports and recommendations for students at Brain Builders Tutoring. Interesting/unknown/random fact: I am an avid baker who specializes in creative cupcakes. I own a bowling ball. I love trolleys. This March, I will be getting the opportunity to drive trolley.
Favorite food and why: My favorite food is Ravioli. It reminds me of the many wonderful times making it from scratch with my family.
Favorite song and why: My favorite song is “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. I feel that it’s an inspiring song to not give up on your dreams. I also really enjoy the tempo and the instrumental in the middle of the song.
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? I would want to have dinner with Andrew Smith Hallidie. He is the promoter/inventor of the first trolley in San Francisco. I would love to hear the first hand account of the day the trolley ran in 1873.
What is your grand audacious goal? What do you wish people would know, believe, do? My goal is to help students develop social, emotional and educational skills to not only be successful in school but in life as well. I would like to create positive educational experiences for all students. I would like to inspire students to reach any goals they set for themselves. I wish more students would realize that learning is part of life. Learning is a never-ending process. Everyday you can learn something new if you keep your mind opened to the possibility.
Mr. Benjamin Mueller Resource Teacher
Town where you were born: Tuba City, Arizona
College where you graduated: Valparaiso University (Indiana), B.A. in English and Humanities Humboldt State University California), Teacher Certification Program SUNY Albany, M.S. in Literacy
NYS Certification: Students with Disabilities ( Generalist) 7-12 English Language Arts 7-12 Literacy 5-12
Previous educational experience: I am in my fourth year with Berkshire UFSD as an ELA and Special Education teacher. Prior to moving to Hudson, I was completing my teacher program in northern California. I worked in an alternative community school as an AmeriCorps member.
Interesting/unknown/random fact: I was born on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona.
Favorite food and why: Pizza . Can’t go wrong with pizza.
Who is the person you would most like to have dinner with and why? Mark Twain. I’m sure he was a very humorous conversationalist.
What is your grand, audacious goal? My grand goal is to help teach literacy so students can be responsible and informed citizens.
What do you wish people would know, believe, do? I am interested in new ways to learn that help us keep pace with our changing world. We have so much technology and information at our finger tips which can be an incredible asset as well as a burden. With the growth of technology, we need, more than ever, to be able to think critically about the information that is constantly available to us. Being able to interpret and analyze information from these new sources is part of what it means to be literate today.