This school year, Herkimer Central School District is focusing the Spotlight Q&A feature on Herkimer CSD alumni who are giving back to the school community by working in the district as teachers or staff.
Spotlight on: Paul Valasek
Special education teacher
“I enjoy seeing students improve. When the ‘light bulb’ goes off, it’s special.”
Q. What year did you graduate from Herkimer?
Q. What’s your favorite high school memory?
A. Playing Legion and varsity baseball.
Q. What led you to become a teacher?
A. I struggled with school when I was young. I wanted to come back and help kids learn and enjoy school.
Q. What else have you been doing between when you graduated from Herkimer and now?
A. After high school, I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with my bachelor’s degree and the College of St. Rose with my master’s. After graduating, I worked at Fort Plain as a self-contained teacher for four years. After Fort Plain, I started teaching at Herkimer as a special education teacher. At Herkimer, I have coached modified, JV, varsity, Legion and Babe Ruth baseball; varsity and modified basketball and JV football. I live in Herkimer with my wife, Courtney, and my son, David.
Q. Did anyone from Herkimer Central School District influence you in becoming who you are today?
A. I had some really good teachers at Herkimer. Ms Miller, Mr. Spinner and Mr. Kaplin always pushed me to do my best in the classroom. Coach Zaleski helped me to succeed on the sports field.
Q. What makes you most excited or most fulfilled about working at Herkimer after previously going to school here?
A. I enjoy seeing students improve. When the “light bulb” goes off, it’s special.
Q. What advice do you have for current Herkimer students?
A. Leave the area for a while and see what the world has to offer. You can always come back to Herkimer.