Long Beach, California
Car enthusiast, middle school English teacher
How did you end up modifying cars on the weekends?
My husband surprised me with a 2001 Ford Mustang GT. Modifying it was something fun we could do together.
How do students react to your weekend hobby?
It’s a great way to connect with students who assume they have nothing in common with their girly-girl teacher.
I’ve been alerted by campus monitors that there’s been an incident involving my car, only to walk out to the parking lot and find students taking cell pictures of it.
Ever had students or co-workers show up at a car show?
Yes! When they show up I spoil them with exhibitor goody bags and a VIP tour. They also get to meet all the celebrities, like Courtney Hansen from Spike TV and Chad McQueen, Steve McQueen’s son.
Any interesting car stories?
I came out of the grocery store one time to find the late comedian Bernie Mac admiring my ride. And some college students once asked to film me doing a burnout for a film project.
Radio DJ “Rev. Cool,” K–3 literacy specialist
You’ve been on the air for more than 25 years. How do you avoid burnout?
The history of American music is one of constant change, and I’m always finding new and exciting things to share with my listeners. My focus these days is a mix of upbeat and high energy music from around the world.
How did a White guy end up helping expose Dayton to hip hop, punk, and reggae?
I try to keep an open mind and an open ear.
Are you really a reverend?
Yep, legally ordained and licensed to perform marriages.
If stuck on a desert island, what three artist’s albums would you want with you?
Bob Marley, Hank Williams, and Tito Puente!
Ever use your work as Rev. Cool in the classroom?
Actually, I use a lot of what I learn in my classroom to make my show better.
Brooklyn, New York
Magician, elementary physical education/health teacher
What gave rise to “The Great Benjilini”?
My mother attended a magic show in Israel while pregnant with me. The magician performed the “linking rings” trick, then flung the rings into the crowd. One hit her. From then on I’ve been a magician!
Do you incorporate magic into your classes?
Every day before my students leave the gym, I perform a trick. They love assisting me because it makes it real to them.
Where else do you perform?
Other schools, hospitals, fundraisers, and for politicians. From birthday parties to entertaining my fellow magicians at our annual conventions. In short, I have tried my best to make people smile!
The “Linking Rings,” of course!
Send Us Your Story
We’re looking for members with unique hobbies or ways of passing their time. Tell us about your pursuits outside of school at www.nea.org/tools/talk.htm.
Photos from top: Jason Van Fleet, John e. Johnston, Norman Y. Lono