Hope Township School would like to congratulate Mr. Brian Grennan
as our 2006-2007 Teacher of the Year!
School/District: Hope Township School
Education: Bachelor of Science, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Teaches: Mathematics, Pre-Algebra I & II, Algebra I
It is amazing to me that a place I would casually pass everyday on my commute to work would become such an important part of my life. When I stop to think of it, my life has been formed by many seemingly casual decisions at the time.
As a rather introverted student in college who couldnít commit to a major, I casually dismissed a professorís suggestion to become a math tutor in the collegeís tutoring program. It wasnít until a semester later, when the same professor physically dragged me in to the tutor lab that my teaching experiences began. I quickly realized that the feelings and rewards I received from helping other students was very rewarding. It became clear to me that teaching was my calling. A major in Mathematics was chosen more for a love a teaching than for a love of Math. I dedicated myself, for the first time, to the goal of becoming a teacher.
Upon graduating, I was able to find a teaching position, and I enjoyed a very rewarding experience working with the students of Lincoln Park, New Jersey as a teacher and a coach. At the same time my professional life was developing, my personal life was changing. I married shortly after taking the job and my wife and I decided to relocate and build a home in the Poconos. We tried to convince ourselves that the commute would be fine, we were wrong. After one particularly bad commute on route 80, I casually picked up the paper and applied for the one job that was listed, Hope Township School.
When I received a call from Hope School requesting that I come in for an interview, I didnít even realize that the school was located off the exit that I passed everyday. My time in Hope has been very rewarding. I like being part of the small town environment of Hope. I have tried very hard to create a class where students feel comfortable and confident. My goal is to have the students get past the typical feelings of anxiety often associated with Mathematics. I teach in a very straight forward manner in order to ensure that the kids are well prepared for the questions they will encounter. Once a student experiences success, they begin to believe and expect that success will follow and are therefore more motivated to learn new things and stretch their minds. I strongly believe that in todayís world keeping the students motivated is the true key to success. I teach in such a way to prevent the type of student I was when I was in school. As a student, I was very lazy and unmotivated and therefore I create lessons and assignments that are important and relevant to the students. I try to present lessons in an easy to understand format and inject humor wherever possible. Some of the lessons that I am proudest of have had very little to do with mathematics. The lessons about life and how to be the best they could be are the lessons that many students come back and say that they never forget.
As an educator there is no better feeling than seeing a student grow and progress as a person. I feel that my greatest rewards come from seeing a student progress in life and knowing that in a small way I have made a difference in their life. When a student or parent comes back and thanks me for teaching them it is the best feeling.
In closing, I would like to thank the administration, faculty, students and community of Hope Township School. It is my pleasure to work with the staff and students of Hope School.
Recently I attended the Grant Wiggins program at Warren Tech regarding assessment. While listening to Grant speak about "student transfer of learning" and the "meaningful problem solving skills" that students need to succeed. The more I heard, the more I knew he was describing the practices of Brian Grennan.
I have had the privilege of working with Brian for the past 5 years. In that time he has earned my respect as a master teacher, dedicated professional, and team player. He is genuinely regarded by his colleagues, current and former students, parents and community members as an exceptional teacher. Brian is always prepared for his lessons and extends himself to reach each and every student. He challenges the gifted, motivates the less than inspired, and supports the less able to achieve success. This success each student has experienced and valued. Brian finds connections for students to understand and value the importance of the subject content and promotes the transfer to their real lives. They truly find out what they can do, learn and accomplish which, in turn, develops their character and self-esteem. Brian also puts the needs of his students first. Through his actions and responses, our students know that he cares about them and is committed to their success.
Brian has been our lead teacher on the evaluation and development of our mathematics curriculum. He has also developed and updated our mathematics grade level outcome assessments (GLOA) for grades 6-8. Brian religiously uses the data from these assessments to diagnose studentsí strengths and needs and to develop appropriate future lessons. He provides weekly after school support for students grades 5-8 in mathematics and our gifted mathematics program for students in grades 3-8. He also helped start an academic summer school enrichment program for students in grades 4-8, and is our solar car advisor for grade 6-8 students.
As an administrator I respect and admire Brianís direct manner and hard ethic. He does not rest on his laurels and the past success or that of his students. He seeks to have students achieve more because he strives to do the same. The evidence of Brianís teaching success is exemplified by his studentsí exceptional performance on the standardized tests in mathematics. Brianís students traditionally score a significant percent in the advanced proficiency range. However, the real evidence of his impact is in the number and sincerity of his former students who return to visit with him at Hope School. They valued his instruction and guidance he had shared with them. It is evident they have transferred their learning by their responses.
I am genuinely proud to have Brian Grennan represent the outstanding teachers and staff at Hope School.
Alfred J. Annunziata