by Terrence Echols
For the past few months, Jamesville-Dewitt High School Spanish teacher Mike O’Brien has had a different identity. To J-DHS students, he has been known as an intern administrator. He has worked closely with current J-DHS administrators, Principal Paul Gasparini and Assistant Principals Will Dowdell and Dave Nylen. “He’s done a fantastic job helping us with everything from data management to the discipline of students,” said Mr. Nylen. To the students of Tecumseh Elementary School he was known as Principal O’Brien for a week. He has been juggling both jobs this year in pursuit of gaining his degree and possibly becoming an administrator.
Mr. O’Brien recently completed the Educational Leadership program at Syracuse University that certifies him to become a building administrator or take any administrative position. He needed to complete 10 courses in order to be certified. The final course of his certification is his internship at J-DHS. He was able to supplement the internship with a take over as principal of Tecumseh because of a weeklong absence of their principal, Jill Zerrillo.
Mr. O’Brien decided to take this course because he loves to learn and teach. “I believe in lifelong learning,” said Mr O’Brien, “I think you should learn everyday for the rest of your life.” Mr. Nylen also sees Mr. O’Brien as a man of learning; “I believe he’s going to continue to learn and get better at (becoming an administrator).”
Over the course of his time at TES and J-DHS, Mr. O’Brien has gained both knowledge and experience. “I've seen really good administration (that I can learn from),” he says of his time as an intern administrator. “The kids are a lot smaller (at Tecumseh), so it was a different educational environment because learning was taking place all over,” he said. He says it was interesting to learn how the different schools operated. One of his favorite parts of his experience was building relationships with colleagues to work towards a similar goal of learning. Mr. O’Brien is open minded as to what else he will do in the realm of education since all he had to say about his future was “we’ll see.”