New Staff, 2019
With just a few weeks of classes under their belts, first-year students were settling into their daily routine as they came and went to classes at the Center for Career Services. Joining them were some new staff members are also developing a routine of their own
Mike May, TV/Video Production
Mike May, the new TV/Production teacher, felt right at home when he walked into his classroom in Building B. It was the same classroom where he had spent two years as a student learning about video production under the direction of recently retired teacher Tony Ely.
“Twenty-two years ago when I was here as a student, I was an arrogant, know-it-all kid. Tony took a chance on a young, impressionable, creative kid,” Mr. May said. “He prepared me.”
Mr. May has kept ties to the campus, such as coming in to speak at Career Days.
“I feel very natural, as I always do, walking in here,” he said of stepping into his former classroom. It has provided him with a sense of calm as he embarks on his first teaching experience.
Mr. Ely served as a mentor to Mr. May since he graduated from the Center for Career Services, and the two remained friends through the years.
Mr. May hopes to use his personal experience in the industry — he has worked for Liberty Studio in New York and went on to develop his skills in news broadcasting and music video production. He even produced his own short films, opened his own production house and worked on television shows such as “House Hunters International.”
As much as he loved his work, Mr. May said he reached a point where the constant travel and personal issues that developed inspired him to make a change.
When Mr. Ely encouraged him to come back to the center as a teacher, Mr. May was ready.
Like many of his students, he picked up a video camera as a child and video-taped anything and everything. As a student at New Rochelle High School he was frustrated there was no video program. When his guidance counselor suggested BOCES, his reaction was, “Sign me up.”
Mr. Ely soon taught him that the video production business involved more than just recording, and there were a multitude of skills necessary to be successful.
“From that day forward I respected the process of this business,” Mr. May said.
“I want students to know the sky is the limit, if they are willing to work,” Mr. May continued. “I want to give them a good foundation, a place where they have my ear,” he said.
“I think we are going to have a good time,” Mr. May said of his classes.
Monica Johnson, School Counselor
Monica Johnson is no stranger to Southern Westchester BOCES as she has been with the organization for 11 years working for the Ceneter for Special Services in Irvington. This year she has a new role as a school counselor at Career Services.
She said her former position related to ensuring students met New York state academic requirements. Now she will be working with students to help ensure they find the right program for them from the more than 20 available.
As an example, she recently worked with a second-year Careers student who was having doubts about the program she had selected. Ms. Johnson let her sit in for a couple of days in another program. The student then determined that the original program was where she felt most comfortable and was happy to return.
Ms. Johnson has spent time each day as students are being dropped off at the center greeting them and introducing herself so students are aware she is available to help them. She has also been getting to know her colleagues.
“I love the center,” Ms. Johnson said. “It’s a very warm, friendly and professional environment.”
Students are welcome to bring their concerns to her, or a teacher may recommend a student speak with her.
“It’s all about seeing what we can do to make it a fit,” Ms. Johnson said.
As someone who is new to this position and the campus, Ms. Johnson said she feels she has an unique perspective on how students may feel. Like them, she is also settling into a new role in a new place.
“It helps me give them that patience and support they need,” she said.
Michele Hamilton, High School Equivalent TASC and English Consultant
For 14 years Michele Hamilton taught English in the New York City Public Schools in the Bronx. Her main goal there, she said, was to ensure the content she taught was relevant to her students.
“One of the reasons I came here is I really do believe truly students learn better when they have a concrete appreciation for what they are doing in the classroom,” she said.
During the morning session at the center she assists students who are working to earn their high school equivalent. In the afternoons, she is helping students with their English work.
In some instances students may be referred to her by a counselor. Ms. Hamilton will work with students one-on-one or find the appropriate support for them at their home school.
“My job is to find out what they need and bring them up to speed,” she said.
“I’ve been made to feel very welcome,” she said. “It’s not easy to be the new person, but I’ve been made to feel I belong here.”