Gekle joins student services

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Mr. Gekle

By Charlotte Redman
Staff Writer

Curtis Gekle is a new member of student support services at Westford Academy.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: I grew up on Long Island, NY and that’s where I [attended] high school. My college education was up at Siena College, outside of Albany, for my BA in Mathematics, and then I earned a Masters Degree in education at Lesley University.

Q: What brought you to Massachusetts?

A: Actually the career I was in – I am a career changer – So I’ve not been a teacher forever. I moved up here for my prior career, from New York to Boston.

Q: What was your previous career?

A: I was in business. I actually ran divisions of high tech companies focusing mainly on software.

Q: What made you decide to become a teacher after working in business?

A: Probably a few things. I have young kids and my job had me traveling a lot, so I was unable to see them. My position had me on a plane quite a bit, so I was away from home a lot. There was that coupled with [the fact that] my dad was a New York City teacher, and I always had teaching in the back of my mind. An aspect of my work I enjoyed was the mentoring of others and I figured teaching would be a good way of doing that.

Q: How long have you been a teacher now?

A: I am starting my fourth year.

Q: What do you consider the hardest thing you have to do in your student services position here?

A: In my present role there’s a lot of paperwork I have to do. It’s never fun, it just takes up a lot of time, and it takes you away from the students.

Q: What do you find to be the most enjoyable part of your day?

A: Being with the kids. Engaging them, helping them, and encouraging them to get the most out of their education that they possibly can, helping them reach their full potential.

Q: How does your job in student services compare to that of a math teacher?

A: Probably one piece of what I mentioned before is that there is more of a paper aspect to the job, which is certainly a downside. There’s probably more mentoring to the job too, especially in academic support classes where you’re really trying to help the individual students where they’re at in material of the content. As a middle school math teacher the focus is math, and in my job here the focus is math but it’s also the whole person. In my old position it was probably math first and then the whole person. Here it’s the whole person first, secondary to the math. There are lots of different challenges and math may not be at the top of the agenda from a student’s perspective.

Q: How different is student services to a traditional teaching environment?

A: A content area teacher’s main focus is the content, whether it be English, Math or Science. [My job focuses on] the whole person and helping them take their strengths and make them even stronger as well as and help them figure out some of their areas of development and help them in those areas. So it’s not the content, it’s the whole person and the whole person might be organization or how do I take notes, listen more attentively, or how do I look you in the eyes and greet you with a strong handshake. It can be a myriad of things dependent on who that individual student might be.

Q: Do you prefer this?

A: I’m not sure. I’m enjoying this and when I say I’m not sure it’s because I’m only my second week in to student services. So great question, we can pick that question back up in April or May something like that, when I have had a little bit more time with it. I am definitely enjoying it though, that’s without a question. As a new job with anybody you’re on kind of a treadmill just trying to keep up, so that’s what my focus is, keeping up as best I can.

Q: What are you looking forward to here in relation to extra-curricular activities?

A: What I’m really focused on right now is learning all the different aspects of student services and doing a good job relative to that. So I’m not thinking about activities just yet because this is the first year that I’m doing this kind of job and that’s where I intend to put all my energy. But after that – I love sports, I love the outdoors, and I grew up playing sports all my life.

Q: What sports did you play?

A: I grew up playing football through high school, then I played rugby for fifteen years, and I played a lot of volleyball. So a bunch of different sports and I have done a lot of camping and hiking so a lot of outdoor activities as well.