Special-Ed Teachers Join Midwood Family

By Yasmine Brown-Williams ‘14

Droves of new educators have arrived this fall, and they are now nestled in our school’s community. Whether they are relatives of current employees (or alum) or not, they’ve become settled in, with the help of their department colleagues and the school administration.

Among the latest additions are two special education instructors: math teacher, Ms. Michele Rudolph and, math and science teacher, Mr. Adam Lechillgrien.

Ms. Rudolph, an algebra teacher, has been teaching for two years. Previously, she taught mathematics to students with learning disabilities at a Manhattan school. Her students there had different learning disabilities than the ones she currently teaches, she said.

“A lot of the students [I’m now teaching] get bored or restless more easily [than my past students],” said Ms. Rudolph. “So, I’ve had to modify my teaching style.”

If she could modify her position, Ms. Rudolph said she would teach the same subject but change the students’ age group. However, after a long thought, she couldn’t envision any career as a substitute for being an educator.

“I don’t know what I’d be doing,” she said exasperatedly. “Teaching or bust!”

Ms. Rudolph isn’t just a new member of the school family, she has also added to the number of relatives who work here; she’s the daughter of the payroll secretary. She said, however, that having a family member in the building doesn’t take away from the difficulties of being a recently-hired instructor.

“It’s challenging,” she said, “and all change takes getting used to; however, I feel I’m gradually adjusting.”

Mr. Lechillgrien, or “Mr. L” as his students call him, teaches a cross between math and science. He began teaching science a year ago but has been teaching for four years. Mr. Lechillgrien started his teaching career in a high school then moved to a middle school. He said he wanted to get back to a high school environment.

“I love the school and the location,” said Mr. Lechiilgrien. “So far, the students are good; I have different learners and different levels. It’s great!”

Mr. Lechillgrien’s father graduated from the school, which he said partially influenced his decision to apply for a position here. Had he not become a teacher, he said he would most likely be in the business world doing something in marketing; he minored in business and economics. He was also a musician for a  number of years.

Like most educators, Mr. Lechillgrien prefers not to describe the shortcomings of teaching as “difficulties”.

“Adapting lesson plans has always been a challenge,” he said. “I was teaching special needs before so I’ve adapted.”

What both teachers seem to have in common is they appear to have become well adjusted in their individual departments and are now acquainted with the school.

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