Townsend Harris welcomes new history teachers

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As yet another school year unfolds, Townsend Harris High School welcomes several new faculty members in the history department. 

New AP World History teacher Nancy Badum currently teaches alongside Ms. White and is thrilled to be teaching in THHS starting this school year. Prior to THHS, Ms. Badum taught at the Queens Gateway for Health Sciences secondary school in Jamaica.

Ms. Badum explained that she became interested in teaching when her mathematics teacher in high school believed in her, pushing her to complete the course. “He never gave up on me, and he really put in the time to make sure I passed his class. He… was that person who made me want to become a teacher.”

Ms. Badum is happy to be teaching at THHS and to see students join different activities, run their own clubs, and perform in school productions. She is eager to see what students develop and create throughout the school year, and she says “[she] came from a building that had no activities, so to come here and there’s so much, [she doesn’t] know what [she wants] to visit first!” One of her goals while teaching is to “create great relationships with [her] students and colleagues, and to help [her] students love learning and want to come to [her] class.” 

Additionally, new AP US History, AP World History, and Writing Process teacher Blayne Gelbman joins the staff at THHS. Before working at THHS, he was a permanent substitute teacher at Farmingdale High School, a dean at Van Buren High School, an assistant principal at a school in the Bronx for six years, and he worked at a transfer high school in Jamaica.

Mr. Gelbman explains that he had a long journey before becoming a teacher, as he first worked as a corporate trainer for restaurants and then started to volunteer as an assistant soccer coach. In both places, he had to teach people, which allowed him to realize that he enjoys teaching and loves working with children. 

At THHS, he wishes to build on the strong culture and possibly create his own club in which he would bring students to the mountains and go skiing in the winter. One of his ultimate goals is to “give an educational experience that is not a traditional classroom experience that prepares [students] for the real world.”

Frank McCaughey will also be joining the Social Studies department as a U.S. History and Government teacher. 

He attended Fordham University for both his undergraduate and master’s degrees. In his early years of teaching, he worked at Middle School 67, the Bronx Lab, and Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School in Brooklyn

Mr. McCaughey knew he wanted to become a teacher since “[he] was always the ‘bad’ student in class. However, [he] knew [he] always loved history class and had a history teacher who cared about him.” This changed his perspective on school and thus, he decided to pursue education.

Mr. McCaughey is also a volunteer fireman and was a two-time finalist for the Big Apple Teaching Awards. Like Mr. Gelbman, Mr. McCaughey is also very excited to see the culture at THHS, especially the clubs. He explained how he saw that there seemed to be a myriad of clubs when he went to the club fair and how he wishes to expand on that culture.