Meet Our Adult Literacy Instructors helping you succeed!
To sign up for an orientation session call: (518) 581-3555.
Like many literacy instructors, Krista Conrick began teaching adults by accident. She started working with BOCES Adult Education when her mother-in-law told her about an aide vacancy. Later, when an instructor position became available, she began teaching her own class. She was hooked. That was in 1991.
“Adult students are so much fun to teach!” Krista says. “They are in class because they want to be. They love to learn and often make big changes in their lives as a result of school. Helping them as they grow is an amazing experience. I can’t imagine a better job.”
Teaching in the TASC program (formerly GED®) is definitely challenging. Instructors handle five subject areas and manage classes with multiple ability levels. It’s a lot like an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse, very challenging. The system works well, though. Instructors develop individualized study plans for each student. Then students work at their own pace along with teacher assistance and the support of their classmates. Krista makes sure that the atmosphere in her class is stress-free and fun.
Krista’s class meets on Monday and Wednesday nights in Glens Falls. She also oversees BOCES’ Adult Literacy as Program Manager. Outside of BOCES, Krista takes care of her elderly mother and enjoys catching some quality time with her two grown children.
“This is the first time they have enjoyed learning,” said Frank Finch, an adult literacy instructor, when describing his experience helping adult students study for the TASC™ exam.
Frank began working for the WSWHE BOCES TASC™ program at the beginning of the 2014-15 School Year. “I love it and we’ve seen great results,” he said.
He works with students on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Saratoga Springs.
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™ exam, 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 is the daytime class adult literacy instructor for the WSWHE BOCES TASC™ program for both Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls. 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 different level students. 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™ exam, which is given several times per year in this area, pointing out that one of the things students need to be aware of is how much time they spend on a question.
Mrs. Gillani has years of experience in education. She was a teaching assistant, substitute taught for 10 years, taught an after-school program and in a library.
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.
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.
As a retired BOCES Special Education Teacher who enjoyed every grade level and population, Susan Trentecoste was excited in her new role to teach part time and reach out to a new group of students, share life experiences and help prepare them for the TASC. Sue said that “This is a very dynamic experience for me and I am learning a lot!”
In order to prepare students for the TASC, she works with them to provide whole group, small group, individualized instruction and independent work assignments. Her teaching philosophy embodies a mindset whereas each person uses a unique combination of multiple intelligences as his/her preferred learning style. Tapping in on someone's learning style, can offer opportunities to present and learn information in ways that are most effective.
With numerous moments throughout her teaching career that were very satisfying, some that stood out include receiving a note or call years later from a prior student thanking her for her help. Receiving cards and letters is something she cherishes, because a teacher may never know how she might have helped someone, until you see it much later. She said that makes teaching worthwhile!
Sue said “I love being a teacher because it is one of those professions that truly defines who you are. I am a teacher on and off duty as well as a lifelong student. The Adult Literacy Program, for me, is another chance for success for our students. I am honored to be a part of that!”
To sign up for an orientation session call: (518) 581-3555.