High School Spotlight Staff honors the amazing people working in the building and gives you a chance to learn a little bit more about them! The High School Spotlight Staff for February 2021 are the Social Studies Department!
Not all of the Social Studies Department Staff had a chance to submit their information, which is why you will not see all of them listed below. They are no less worthy of Staff Spotlight, though, and the whole department is awesome!
Scroll past names for some Spotlight Staff pictures and see previous High School Spotlight Staff here.
Bob Allard, Global History 9R/Economics
I am in my 4th year at ICC and 1st year teaching History. Previously, I taught in the Technology Department. I’m also Co-Advisor for the Model UN Club with Mr. Sanger.
I’ve been in the field of education since 2001 where I worked as a TA at Berkshire Farm Union Free School District. Since then I’ve been in and out of education spending time at New Lebanon CSD as a Substitute and Coach, at LaSalle School where I taught a variety of classes, and was Program Director for New Lebanon’s Summer Youth Program. Outside of education I’ve worked for a member of the NYS State Senate and for a member of Congress. I also spent a number of years as a carpenter restoring historic houses across Columbia County.
Outside of work, I’ve spent 17 years as a volunteer FireFighter being a part of two departments, the Lebanon Valley Protective Association and Valatie Fire Department. I’ve worked on a number of political campaigns from local to national elections. I’ve worked at both state and national conventions.
My favorite time is with my family. My wife Jennifer, who is also a Social Studies Teacher, and our daughter Olivia who is a student here at ICC. We have lived in the Village of Valatie since 2014 and love our town. We also love our vacations. Our current top spots are Walt Disney World and Cruising to CastAway Cay.
I entered the field of education because it is the family business. My parents were both teachers, my wife is a teacher, along with many other family members who were or are currently educators. While I have dabbled in other professions they always lead me back to teaching. It is that opportunity to not only inspire others but to be inspired by the students. A partnership in learning. To provide others with the chance to express themselves and see the ways they can create the future they want to see.
Jodi Gajadar, History Teacher
This is my eighth year at Ichabod after working towards my lifelong dream of teaching math. Somewhere along the way I realized that teaching history was much more fun.
When I’m not reading about the past I can be found knitting or baking. Thankfully, my students and colleagues are always willing to dispose of the cakes and cookies that come from my kitchen.
I think that understanding history is a crucial part of shaping our identity, yet all too often it is perceived as a bland list of facts. I became a teacher to help students connect to the stories and humanity in history so that they are better equipped to shape their own story.
Randy Goold, Global History 9H/AP World History/Global History 10R/US at War in the 20-21st Centuries
I’m currently in my 22nd year of teaching at ICC. I have also coached baseball, football, and advised Habitat for Humanity and Military modeling clubs here. While in college, I substitute taught at Chatham and ICC, coached football and baseball at Chatham, and was a camp counselor at Camp Adirondack on the northeastern shores of Lake George in Putnam Station, NY for two summers.
I have always loved reading, and history, and tend to go driving around looking for historical places to visit my entire life. Growing up in this area has its historical benefits to a student of history. I also enjoy anything involving the outdoors and sports – hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, motorcycling, scuba diving, etc.
My wonderful wife, Mrs. Goold is also a teacher here in the High School. Yes, I married the girl next door, and I couldn’t be happier because everything happens for a reason. We currently have a 6-month-old daughter Emma and hope to have 1-2 more kids in the near future. I love them both to the moon and back. They and the students here bring me happiness and joy every day.
When I was in school, I remember taking those interest inventory tests in middle and high school and they always said that I should be a teacher. At the time I said, “yeah right”. When I went to college at HVCC, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be. At first, I thought, maybe a pilot or engineer, but then quickly realized my math skills were lacking. After being placed on academic probation as part of the Honors Engineering program at college (which I couldn’t stand), I realized then that I needed a different path. I then turned to something that I always loved and had a great interest in – History, and then had a complete 180 in grades, and enjoyed what I was learning. I transferred to Cortland and had many great history professors there that pointed me toward teaching. I even helped teach a 300 level women’s history course as a Junior. As part of the program at Cortland, student teaching was next and I loved it. Every minute of it was fun and rewarding, and it pointed me where I needed to go in my life. I’m still having that fun today 22 plus years later, although it’s much different in a Covid world.
Patrick Sanger, US History/APUSH/Modern America Through Film/Participatory Government
I am teaching in my seventeenth year here at Ichabod Crane. I have spent my whole teaching career here at ICC after graduating from Siena in 2004. I’ve also coached JV and Varsity football, Modified Basketball, and Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field. I’ve also been an advisor to the Model UN Club and some classes. I love coaching track & field and being the Model UN advisor because it gives me another way to connect with students and see their unique abilities at work. Some of the best moments of my teaching career have come from watching the work kids put in on the track and seeing them blossom in front of four thousand other kids at the Harvard Model UN Conference.
I am a teacher because it’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do. I grew up in an area where the history of the American Revolution was all around me, and that, as well as some really terrific social studies teachers in high school and history professors in college, fostered my love of history and education. I continue to teach social studies and civics because it matters. In the turbulent times in which we live, it’s more important than ever to help the next generations understand where we came from, how we got here, and what they can do to make a positive difference in our nation and our world.
I am the lucky father of two, Lincoln and Luke, and married for ten years to my wonderful wife Lyndy (this feels like a Wheel of Fortune introduction now.) Lincoln is almost 6 and in Kindergarten, and Luke is 3 going on 16. I love to watch movies, read, and spend time playing with my kids. I am a huge comic book fan, having over five thousand in my collection, collecting since I was a kid. I still read and collect and have passed that love on to my boys. I love the St. Lawrence River and try to spend as much time there as humanly possible during the summer.
Brian Smith, Global 10 USH
I’m the new teacher most of you have never heard of. February is only my second month here at IC filling in for Ms. G. I have, however, spent the past 12 years teaching Global 9 and Global 10 at Cohoes High School. Cohoes is where I grew up and where I graduated from before returning as a teacher and a soccer coach for years. I did coach against IC several times – sorry.
I am an avid fan of not growing up. Whether it’s sports, music, art, learning more, trying new things, or being around my children as well as high school students – this will keep me young. I’m a huge sports fan and a life-long fan of the Buffalo Bills, NY Mets, Notre Dame football, Duke basketball and sadly, even the Knicks. I love hiking, swimming, fishing and camping. I enjoy daily crossword puzzles and watching Jeopardy each evening with my wife. One of my favorite things to do while I’m relaxed or stressed is to draw and/or listen to great tunes. I’m a huge fan of The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and many, many others.
As I mentioned I am married to my amazing wife, Lisa who teaches 3rd grade at Mohonasen. Cute story alert; teaching is a second career for both of us and we met in the final course of grad school at St. Rose before we began student teaching – awww. We are so blessed to have two wonderful, silly children: Tommy and Maggie. They are 5 and 3, and a whole lot of energy! In June, we added the newest member to our family adopting a 3-year-old, Plott Hound/lab mix named Sandy. She’s an 80lb “lap dog” that is just the perfect pal to all of us.
I’ve always wanted to teach social studies. The influence came from a few great teachers I had. As I stated, teaching is a second career for me and I believe that’s just given me so much more perspective about what I’m passionate about and there is no place I’d rather be than standing up in front of a classroom of students putting on the show. Aside from that, (to quote Gandhi) I want to live like there’s no tomorrow and learn like I’ll live forever. That means seeing the world. I’d love to travel the world, meeting local people, trying local foods, experiencing various local customs and celebrations, as if I were the host on some Travel Channel/Food Network series. Please learn that with passion comes purpose. Once you discover your true passion, you’ll understand its purpose.