Friday, 20 May 2011 00:00
Brian Dowd, social studies curriculum associate K-12 for Massapequa UFSD, was named Supervisor of the Year by the Long Island Council of Social Studies. He will be recognized at an awards ceremony on May 24 at the Smithtown Sheraton Hotel.
Dowd, who grew up and still lives in Massapequa, has spent his entire 33-year career as an educator in the district. He became chairperson of the department 10 years ago, supervising more than 41 social studies teachers and overseeing the curriculum for each grade level in the district.
Dowd has worked to expand the Advanced Placement program, develop an interdisciplinary program between the English/language arts and social studies departments, and enhance the curriculum with new electives, such as those in law and financial literacy, which is part of the economics program. He also has been an integral part of numerous committees, including Instructional Management, AP/Honors, New Teachers and Curriculum Writing for more than a dozen courses.
Outside of the district, Dowd is president of New York State Social Studies Supervisors and co-president of the Long Island Council for Social Studies. He is now at the forefront of creating both a 5th- and 8th-grade regional exam to replace the New York state assessments that were eliminated last year.
“This is very humbling,” Dowd said. “The fact that my staff nominated me was enough recognition because the award is based on their words.”
“I quickly realized the special rapport Mr. Dowd has with his students when I began working with him in 1996,” said James Koester, social studies chairperson at Alfred G. Berner Middle School. “His mixture of responsibility, humor and impressive knowledge of content are evidence of a master teacher.”
“We have witnessed the success of Mr. Dowd’s efforts as students now enter ninth grade with better writing skills than did freshmen a decade ago,” wrote Massapequa High School teachers. “We cannot overlook the efforts of this effective curriculum supervisor, a person who is willing to enact significant, meaningful changes in order to make a program soar.”
Dowd’s administrative style is to allow teachers to do their job and to step in when needed.
“We have a phenomenal department; four of our teachers have been named ‘Long Island Teacher of the Year’ and one was named ‘New York State Teacher of the Year,’” Dowd said. “We have the best social studies department on Long Island.”
Dowd also attributes his success to Charles Sulc, superintendent of schools, and Susan Woodbury, a longtime social studies educator who retired last year as assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
“They were mentors to me,” he said. “I love social studies and I love Massapequa schools. I am extremely happy.”