2018 Blackboard Award Honoree: Jeffrey Bradley

Jeffrey Bradley

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2018 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Jeffrey Bradley
Early Childhood
ABC Merricat’s Castle School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as
a teacher.

For me, morning arrival is one of my greatest joys. The magic transition of trust begins when the parents hand off their kids to us and we assure them that we are ready with our ears for listening and our hands for greeting, hugging, and high-fiving. My challenge every year is to create new and exciting themes that all of our students can feel a part of. Using music to bring it all together has given me teaching experiences that I will
cherish forever.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

Every December we have a holiday concert that I am privileged to direct. I do not play guitar or piano, and I do not use any instruments! It is just my voice, some classic Greg & Steve and Raffi songs, and the pure beautiful voices of children. If you could imagine a stage of preschool children singing their little hearts out in front of the parents, it is quite a memorable experience.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

There is really only one answer: The kids, of course! Every day is full of helping, learning, and solving problems together. There’s no better place to be than in a school working with children, sharing their daily laughter and smiles, and discoveries and growth. Their honesty, natural curiosity, and love for learning keep me motivated and committed to being their teacher and friend.

Jeffrey Bradley with Wendy Federico (left), an educational consultant and special needs adviser and advocate at Smart City Kids, and Jonathan Moore (right), president of Family Media. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein.

What do you love about your school?

I love the relationships with students that I have developed during my 35 years as a Rainbow Room teacher. I also love the nurturing environment that is evident in all the classrooms, and the opportunity to be part of a team focused exclusively on making each day the best it can be for our students. I love that I have the chance to wear many hats during the day. At times, I’m reading with the 2-year-olds at early drop-off, then I’m leading marching band, and then also in the kitchen making potato latkes for Hanukkah!