Richard Czyz is Director of Curriculum & Instruction in the Stafford Township School District in Manahawkin, New Jersey. He is passionate about engaging all stakeholders in meaningful learning. He is co-founder of the Four O’Clock Faculty blog, for educators looking to improve instruction and learning for themselves and their students.
i am ME. Statements
i am a leader. i am involved. i am passionate.
GETTING TO KNOW RICHARD
What is one thing that makes you unique as a leader in education?
My ability to focus on relationships.
When and why did you decide to be a leader in education?
I graduated with a political science degree but I knew I wanted to make a difference. I went back to school to receive my certification to become a teacher. Years later I realized leading colleagues was also something I enjoyed.
What about teaching today gives you the greatest fulfillment?
Being able to see the things I am working on implemented in the classroom.
Please share with us a simple connection where you feel you made a long-lasting, powerful impact on a student.
Over ten years ago, I had a student who had autism. My co-teacher and myself really wanted to build a relationship right away to help him as much as possible. He was very good at math so that was something we bonded over. Recently, he reached out to me and told me how he is going to school for teaching.
Tell us about a challenging situation that could have resulted in a bad outcome, but because you persisted — and perhaps made tough decisions, the now painful memory serves as a great lesson?
I sat through a year long training program that was not relevant to what I was teaching in the classroom. Since I didn’t get that much out of the training, I vowed to implement programs where the teachers have voice and choice to see what these programs will look like.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
What one strategy would you suggest teachers in personalized learning environments apply everyday that would result in powerful outcomes?
Really get to know your students on a deep, personal level.
Imagine you are standing in front of a room full of educators — just like you when you started your personalized learning journey. They too have fears, worries and doubts as they struggle to find their footing. What are two to three key things they should focus on to ensure success?
To be prepared to meet the needs of all students.
i am ME.
Can you share with the i am Me. audience one thing that makes you GREAT?
I am not afraid to ask questions.
CONNECTING WITH RICHARD