Five New Faculty and Staff Members Join BHS

By Caroline Adams and Isabel Schumacher
Volume 69, Issue I

There are five new faculty and staff members starting this year at Briarcliff High School. We sat down with them to ask a few questions!

Mrs. Bendlin
Where did you work before Briarcliff?
I was at Somers Middle School and at Mahopac High School.

Did you have an “Ah-ha” moment when you knew you wanted to be a teacher?
I’ve been teaching for 16 years, but I used to work for corporate, and I would get really bored. My mom said, ‘Hey, why don’t you try teaching?’ I started working as a teaching assistant, and I loved working with kids so that was when I decided I should teach.

Do you have any hobbies?
Yes! I’ve danced ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and ballroom when I got older. I used to direct and choreograph musicals at the middle school and high school level, and I’ve performed in a musical at Yorktown Stage. Other than that, I just have my kids as my hobby!

What are the best and worst aspects of teaching?
The best aspects are helping students to like math and making math fun. I guess the worst one would be…snow days? Sometimes there are a lot of them, so I can’t get everything done!

What classes and grades do you teach?
In the high school, I teach Algebra I and I have an Algebra II non-Regents class for juniors. I also teach an 8th-grade coding class.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you’d known in high school?
I wish I could tell myself to try my best and work hard in school but not let it define who I am. When I look back now, I don’t know what my grades were, but I know that I did what I needed to do to be where I am today. I think understanding concepts and learning are more important than grades.

If you could share any wisdom with Briarcliff students, what would it be?
Do the best you can in all your classes, but when you are struggling, you need to see your teacher and let him or her know. Sometimes, you need to just reach out and say, “I need help.” In high school, you need to communicate with your teachers as much as you can.

Mr. Kress
What would students be surprised to know about you?
Maybe that I’m married to Mrs. Kress!

Have you always been a security guard?
No, I’m a retired police sergeant. I was a police sergeant in Ossining for 19 years. I was a cop for 20 years and before that I worked at the Westchester County Jail.

Do you have any hobbies?
I love to read and look at birds. And I love to spend time in Cape Cod!

Mrs. McCann
Where did you work before Briarcliff?
I worked at a hospital for 21 years in New York City. I also taught at Pace University and at NYU. I worked in Yorktown Schools in the past year as well.

Do you have any advice for the upcoming flu/cold season?
Handwashing is number one. Get a lot of rest and get your flu vaccines!

What do you wish more students knew about staying happy and healthy during the school year?
In my first month here at Briarcliff, I am already seeing more emotional, social, and mental health issues than anything else. I would hope that people can learn coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress of school.

What’s the most common complaint you get as a school nurse at Briarcliff?
Stressed-out students who are having headaches or not feeling well. Also, sports injuries!

What is your favorite way to stay active?
I’m used to working in a hospital where I’m running around all day, so I feel sort of inactive here. I keep getting up and making laps and walking around. I go to the gym before I come to work, as well. I have an 8, a 10, and a 12-year-old, so they keep me active.

Do you have any other hobbies?
I like to go out with friends, I do yoga, and I’ve been weight-training. I also like photography and painting.

Mrs. Fleming
Where did you work before Briarcliff?
The majority of my career was in Mamaroneck High School. I was there for nine years and then I resigned to spend more time with my family. I worked briefly at Ossining High School and then I came here!

What was the last book you read for fun?
“Girl on the Train”

What is your favorite book to teach?
I’ve had a lot of fun with The Crucible. I love to teach Shakespeare as well.

What grades/classes do you teach?
Right now, I’m teaching 9th grade English and 12th grade Grammar and Writing.

What is one thing you can’t start your day without?
Coffee. Cliché answer, but true!

Do you have any grammar pet-peeves?
When “a lot” is spelled as one word. Also, confusing there/their/they’re. And students have gotten into the habit of not capitalizing “I”, which drives me insane.

Do you have any hobbies?
My seven-year-old twin girls have become my hobby! Other than that, reading and yoga.

Mr. Fiorillo
What classes have you taught?
I’ve taught Global 9, Global 10, U.S. History, Economics, Dissipation in Government, Sociology, and AP World. A little bit of everything!

Do you have a favorite class to teach?
I would say AP World is my favorite.

How do you spend your summer?
I like going to Long Beach Island in New Jersey two or three times over the summer. If I’m working, I’m usually working at a summer school program in some school district. The latest one was Eastchester High School’s summer school.

Do you have any hobbies?
I play tennis, I like biking, and I also enjoy reading.

If you could take your students to one field trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Ancient Rome!

Do you have a motto that you live by?
Acceptance, forgiveness, and love. I believe in those three things.

If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
I would live in France in the 1800s.

What’s the key to success in your classes?
For my students, they should be the ones doing the exploring, researching, and doing the learning. I think that pretty much moves me in a student-centered, student-driven approach.

If you could share any wisdom with your students, what would it be?
Have patience and know that you are capable of accomplishing whatever it is you want to accomplish.



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