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Getting to Know You - June 2015

Getting to Know You is an ongoing series of mini-profiles of your TC faculty, staff and union colleagues. “Getting to Know You” focuses more on the lives that TC community members lead when they’re away from West 120th Street.

“No Sweat”: TC’s Environment Owes Everything to 50-Year Veteran Wavely Cannady
You may not see him as you walk across campus or even know his name, but for the past 50 years, Wavely Cannady has made a direct impact on every single faculty, student and staff member at TC. That’s because, as Lead Person Boiler Engineer, Cannady has been providing the entire block of TC buildings with heat, hot water, and mechanical wisdom since the days of coal-powered plant operations.

“It seems like I just started yesterday,” says Cannady, who led the President’s Procession at the third of TC’s three master’s degree ceremonies at Commencement in May. “TC is just the greatest place to work.”

Cannady started out as a custodian in 1965 and has stayed on through the tenures of the five Presidents, from John Fischer through Susan Fuhrman. He has a collection of appreciative letters from all of them, as well as from a series of deans, vice presidents and comptrollers, including one that calls him a “blessing.” Fischer and his wife, Norma, occasionally lunched with him and repeatedly sought his advice on college and household repairs.

Cannady’s fondest memories are from the ‘60s and ‘70s, when the College was a smaller place and employees socialized more away from work and even held weekly barn dances in the cafeteria. But you don’t last 50 years in a job without being adaptable, and Cannady has continued to captain the boiler room even as the number of technicians dropped from seven to just two. He’s witnessed enormous fixtures being lowered into the TC basement by crane, through the ceiling of the Russell Courtyard, and seen technology migrate from high-pressure, hand-over systems to gas-driven and now computer-operated ones.

“If you can operate something one way, you can always operate it, regardless of the changes,” says Cannady. “No sweat! It’s the same principles, regardless of how they run, and there’s always a manual side of operations that requires logic.”

Outside of work, Cannady attends conferences and workshops as a member of the Masonic Society. He’s also a proud grandfather whose grandson, who will be attending college in Virginia this fall, has clearly absorbed his core philosophy.

“My motto is, ‘Do your job and do it well,’” Cannady says.

Learn more about Wavely Cannaday in “TC at Work: Wavely Cannady.”

Exploring the Larger Issues: Jeanne Bitterman
For Jeanne Bitterman (Ed.D. ’83, M.A. ’80), “social activism” isn’t just a catch phrase reserved for the progressive classroom or research papers. It’s a lifestyle that led her to her current position as Senior Lecturer in the Adult Learning and Leadership Program.

Over the years, Bitterman, who holds an M.A. Counseling from NYU, has worked on the front lines of movements ranging from Civil Rights to the United Farm Workers boycott led by Cesar Chavez. During the Vietnam War, she was a student leader for the Student Mobilization Committee and worked as a draft counselor. During the Biafran Genocide she worked for Amnesty International in a Save the Children Campaign. These experiences, along with such union development jobs as an adult education liaison with the Civil Service Employees Association and as a Coordinator of Basic Education, GED, ESL and JTPA for the New York City Department of Education, inspired her to enroll in TC’s Adult & Continuing Education Program.

Bitterman became a part-time member of the faculty in 1983 and a full-time member of the Adult Education faculty at TC in 1997. Among the many courses she teaches is a unique three-part sequence on Learning Communities. She was also the team leader representing Teachers College in a module for adult learners adapted from TC’s “Teaching the Levees” social studies curriculum about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Spike Lee and HBO.

“We have a responsibility to explore these larger issues,” she says. “After all, what is the value of research or an institution if it doesn’t serve an agenda of equity, social consciousness, or a greater purpose?”

Bitterman describes herself as a devoted wife, parent of three accomplished young adults, and also a loving pet owner. She likes to travel and read fiction, particularly works from other cultures. To date she has helped 65 doctoral students prepare their dissertations for defense.

“I really care about my students’ growth and how they experience new ways of thinking about the world and what’s important in the world,” she says. “I value most the relationships I’m able to build in the classroom and through doctoral sponsorship.”

Right Place, Right Job: Peter Simpson
“The opportunity to be constantly interested in what you’re doing is rare,” says Peter Simpson (M.A. ‘12), of his position as Assistant Director of TC’s Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership.

Simpson worked in some other fields, including brief stints banking and sales, but when he landed a chance gig as a high school boys’ choir director he realized education was his true calling. He taught in two innovative independent schools, Park School in Boston and Journeys School of Teton Science Schools in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and eventually enrolled in the Klingenstein Center’s Summer Institute for Early Career Teachers.

“It was such an outstanding experience,” says Simpson. “It really got me excited about teaching and learning” – so much so that he decided to return to TC to complete a master’s degree in Private School Leadership at the Klingenstein Center.

Simpson has worked at the Center since graduating in 2012. His core duties include overseeing admissions, recruiting, and financial aid for the Center’s programs, instructing students, working with school leaders on student projects, pursuing opportunities for new programs and recruiting outstanding faculty and instructors. Simpson also serves as Chair of TC’s Professional Staff Executive Committee, which he says, “really allows me to get out and about in the TC community. I encourage all of our professional staff to take advantage of the professional development opportunities and funds offered to them.”

Away from job, Simpson pursues his passion for music as a member of The Choral Society. He’s also a licensed boat captain and enthusiast of both skiing and rugby (with the knee injuries to prove it!). But he clearly enjoys coming to work.

“The best part of it is building relationships with the students, alumni and coworkers here, who are just outstanding and inspiring. Working with them and watching them find success is amazing, and it allows us to focus on the bigger picture: developing leadership and improving schools.” – Kelsey Rogalewicz

Published Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015


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