High School Equivalency Instructors
Meet Our High School Equivalency Preparation Program Instructors helping you succeed!
“This is the first time they have enjoyed learning,” said Frank Finch, High School Equivalency instructor, when describing his experience helping adult students study for the TASC™ exam.
Frank began working for the High School Equivalency Preparation Program at the beginning of the 2014-15 School Year. “I love it and we’ve seen great results,” he said.
Establishing a bond with his students by sharing a laugh with them along with helping them to relax and take risks are a few of the tactics he uses in the classroom. “I do whatever I can to get them to learn and enjoy it,” said Mr. Finch. “I think education is empowering, especially for the older students.” He teaches students from 18 years old to 50 and older. Frank creates a learning family atmosphere where he acts as a coach inspiring them to keep going. “With half of them, it’s a confidence issue. They need a confidence boost.” Students work individually, with a partner, and as a team.
While Mr. Finch runs a successful financial advising practice during the day, at night you’ll find him teaching. In addition to teaching for the TASC™ test, he also teaches financial planning classes in a college setting and in nearly a dozen suburban high schools in the Saratoga-Albany area.
Frank has years of experience in the education world. An advocate for life-long learning, he earned a graduate degree in education and taught social studies at Fayetteville-Manlius and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill School Districts. Mr. Finch was included in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” He was the director of Education Services International in Asia and the Mediterranean and was a college instructor in Illinois, where he pursued additional graduate study in the social sciences while on a fellowship at the University of Illinois.
A native of Queensbury, and resident of Saratoga Springs, Frank likes to hit the gym daily, ski, travel, Latin dance, serves as a trustee for the Shriners, and is past Area Governor for Toastmasters International.
Shazima Gillani began working for the High School Equivalency Program at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Providing open communication and creating a bond with her students, Mrs. Gillani said of her position, “I love it. I have the opportunity to work with a variety of students at different levels. I’m constantly assessing and changing my teaching methods and using different strategies for student success.”
In addition to teaching content, Mrs. Gillani assists students in preparing for the TASC test. Her goal is for students to enjoy their learning experience and help them achieve their maximum potential. She also added, “we have an excellent staff and I enjoy working with our team.”
Mrs. Gillani’s many years of experience in education include being a teaching assistant, substitute for 10 years, after-school program teacher and a library teacher.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in childhood education grades 1-6, English grades 7-12 from Stony Brook University, a master’s degree in literacy from SUNY Plattsburgh and a special education certificate from the College of Saint Rose.
Mrs. Gillani loves to exercise regularly and enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is also a volunteer at the Saratoga Springs Figure Skating Club and participates in many community fundraising events.
Lynn Larli is certified in Elementary and Special Education. She taught in various Special Education settings which included private school, public school and adult-day programs.
Her teaching philosophy is one where she believes each student is unique and everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way. When she can, she uses multiple teaching strategies (project-based learning, differentiated instruction, and a teacher support model) as well as methods (linguistic, visual, auditory, kinesthetic) to reach students where they are and to help move them forward. She loves watching the progress a student makes, no matter how big or small that is. Lynn said, “I appreciate that I can be a small part of that as well as a witness to their success."
“I listen to people’s stories about why they are in this program and I get excited to translate some of my professional and home-educating to adults. I want to help them in achieving success both academically and career-wise.”
Lynn wants to ensure students are prepared and feels there is no better way than to ensure students have their material specifically picked out and tailored to exactly what they need to be working on and at a pace that is appropriate to them individually.
Lynn is an avid reader of psychological thrillers & mysteries and she loves photography and Disney.
When talking about the changing times everyone has had to work with, Sharon said “we are equipped with online programs that enhance on-site instructional delivery and connections at home. The students are friendly, responsible adults working hard to earn their diploma to open more opportunities in their life.”
As a life-long learner she is always interested in knowing more about the past, present, and the curiosity of what our futures will be. Sharon said she has always been an educator at heart and she loves to learn and loves to teach.
Sharon’s teaching focus for the TASC test and HSE program preparation is “First it is important to share with adult students, as teachers, we understand that life is a balancing act and we are available for support. For me, to know each student's ability and interests allows me to design curriculum programs with their input. They have ownership of their learning progress and TASC test preparation with my guidance and expertise providing direction to where they want to be.” She wants to help them integrate work-place skills such as communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and organization because she knows this helps better prepare students for a variety of job prospects of their choice.
Sharon lives in Queensbury with her husband and their energetic black lab. They have three adult children and many grand-pets. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, biking, reading, and relaxing by a warm outdoor fire.