Ms. Gleizer to replace Ms. Brand while on maternity leave

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This fall, alumna Nicole Gleizer is substituting for social studies teacher Siobhan Brand while she is on maternity leave. Mrs. Brand began her maternity leave on September 13, and Ms. Gleizer, who has just begun her second year of teaching at Townsend Harris, has now taken charge of Mrs. Brand’s AP government and politics classes.

Last year, Assistant Principal of Humanities, Rafal Olechowski, chose to hire Ms. Gleizer because “She’s an alumna who graduated five years ago, has experience as a student, and is able to help others who are in need. Also, she has strengths in social studies.” Since Mr. Olechowski knew Ms. Gleizer, he thought it would be a “better decision to hire someone who was familiar to us than to hire a stranger.” 

Mrs. Brand said, “I am happy that a Townsend alumna will be taking over my classes. Ms. Gleizer’s experience with the election simulation and school environment will be extremely helpful while I am on leave.”

Ms. Gleizer’s main goals this school year are to “create an environment in which students are really taking command in their own learning” and to “empower students to really [take an] interest in what they’re doing.” Ms. Gleizer intends to achieve her goals by using Mrs. Brand’s advice “to really learn from the students what they are interested in. Start with their interests and then build from there.” 

Ms. Gleizer said that “going into somebody else’s classroom and taking it over is always a little bit nerve-wracking because it’s a partnership and you want to ensure that everybody is being equally respected.” 

“It’s not really taking over and filling in [Ms. Brand’s] shoes, it’s working with her to ensure that [they] do what is best for the students,” she emphasized.

Senior Angelina Jimenez described this transition as “smooth” since Ms. Gleizer began the year by co-teaching with Mrs. Brand so that she could step in as soon as she left.  

In the meantime, Ms. Brand is focusing on her new child. “My plans are to spend time with my baby, Aidan, and enjoy every moment with her,” she said. “I am so grateful to have a happy and healthy baby. I am not sure how I will feel about returning to work just yet. I assume it will be hard to leave Aidan, but I will enjoy every moment I have with her until then.” 

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