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Welcome new faces to BKW Secondary School

If you see these new faces around BKW's Secondary School, be sure to say hello and welcome them to the district! Here are the four newest members of BKW's secondary school staff...

 

Darnell Douglas, School Counselor

Darnell Douglas joins BKW as a School Counselor for the Secondary School. After studying at Manhattan College and Sage Graduate School, Douglas received his professional certification for school counseling in September.

Douglas has wide range of experience working with adolescents as a coach and counselor. He mostly recently served as a PREP School Counselor of Schenectady High School, working with parents and school administrators to help inner city at-risk youth deal with social and emotional issues, increase their attendance and achieve their academic goals in preparation for graduation. As a resident of Delmar, NY, Douglas serves as the Assistant Varsity Track Coach for Bethlehem Central High School since 2007 and is the current Head Track Coach for the Delmar Track and Field Club.

What are your goals for your first year and beyond at BKW?

“I’m looking forward to working more with the community and parents,” said Douglas. “Involving them more with the students and ultimately bridge any gaps between the community and district to help make student life as good as possible.”

What have you learned so far in your career and how does it apply to counseling students?

“I’m a fan of Malcom Gladwell [author],” explained Douglas. “I’ve become a big advocate for his theories on teaching students how to turn perceived disadvantages in life into advantages. As a school counselor, I want to help our students do this.”

 

AJ Ferris, Foreign Language Teacher

AJ Ferris joined BKW’s Secondary School at the beginning of January as a part-time foreign language teacher, where he will be teaching Spanish.

Since graduating from SUNY Potsdam a little over a year ago with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle and Secondary Spanish Education (minoring in French) Ferris has served as a Pre-K teaching assistant in Watervliet and as a substitute teacher for Capital Region BOCES. He has student taught in local school districts, including Shenendehowa and Bethlehem, and served as an Assistant Supervisor and Counselor for Colonie Youth Center.

What are your goals for your first year and beyond at BKW?

“To make language fun,” said Ferris. “I want all my students to go from thinking about foreign language as fulfillment of a graduation requirement to something they enjoy doing.”

What have you learned so far in your career in education?

“That teaching is hard!” Ferris laughed. “I have learned you have to be yourself. You can’t mimic what others do and expect that it will work the same way for you that it did for them. You have to be who you are to get students to connect and learn. That’s the greatest challenge – finding where you as a person fit into the teaching and learning.”

 

Ryan Larson, Physical Education Teacher and J.V. Basketball Coach

Ryan Larson joins BKW this winter as a Physical Education (PE) Teacher for the district’s Secondary School. He most recently served as a Substitute PE Teacher for both Capital Region BOCES and Washington-Saratoga BOCES. In addition to this, he remains the Program Director for a full-day summer camp called Camp Malta.

Larson holds a Bachelor’s in Education from SUNY Cortland and a Master’s in Sports Administration from Canisius College. He has student taught and coached numerous sports in various districts, including Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa and Greenwich.

What are your goals for your first year and beyond at BKW?

I’m excited to get situated and get to know the kids, parents and staff,“ said Larson.
“I’d really like to increase the quality of the great physical education program that BKW already has, find ways to keep it fresh and grow it in a positive direction.”

What have you learned so far in your physical education career?

“As a teacher and coach I’ve learned that it’s important to acknowledge that all students learn differently,” Larson explained. “You have to find new ways to connect to the students and to adapt your teaching style to the differentiated ways that each student learns.”

 

Nick Spanswick, Foreign Language Teacher

You may have seen Nick Spanswick around the halls since the beginning of the school year, as he has been teaching Spanish to the BKW middle school students part-time. At the beginning of January, Spanswick joined the district full-time continuing to teach Spanish, but to a wider array of students.

Before joining BKW, Spanswick taught Spanish and tutored French classes for a year at The Adirondack School of Northeastern New York in Greenwich, NY. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from SUNY Oneonta and a Master’s degree in Teaching in Adolescence Education from SUNY Oswego. During his studies he spent a summer living in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was able to immerse himself in the culture and language of the area, an experience he loves to share with his students.

What are your goals for your first year and beyond at BKW?

“I want to bring more interest to BKW’s language program – make it bigger and better,” said Spanswick. “It’s important to me to help parents and students grow their awareness around the value of foreign language as it relates to the globalization of the world, and how language will help the students be a part of that globalization.”

What have you learned so far as a Spanish teacher?

“I’ve learned to never undervalue the connections that I’ll make with students, parents, administration and colleagues,” Spanswick continued. “In my efforts to prepare my students for the real world, these relationships will be the key to continued success in my effectiveness as a teacher and to the success of my students.”