Schoolteacher brings his experience to the classroom

Former stockbroker invests time in kids

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Ron Ferenczi's teaching philosophy comes from more than 15 years as a stockbroker, owner of an investment firm, and award-winning investment columnist: Take full advantage of every opportunity.

Ferenczi turned to teaching when his wife Linda told him that the school where she teaches math, Bishop Borgess High School, a Catholic school in Redford Township, needed a teacher.

That was in 1996. By 1999, Ferenczi had been voted Teacher of the Year by the Catholic Association of Secondary Administrators. Today he serves as an algebra, geometry, and chemistry teacher at Borgess. Ferenczi also serves as the school's director of development and marketing, sharing students' success stories with the community and with potential students. This year, Ferenczi began surveying parents on school performance issues, and asked for suggestions on how to improve programs and offer a better education to students. He says the survey was a great success, and parents appreciated the attention given to their opinions and suggestions.

Ferenczi's students say he has an excellent teaching style, is easy to understand, and provides plenty of one-on-one assistance to students. Ferenczi says, "I enjoy being able to show a concept to somebody and see them understand." He takes pride in the school, and the fact that nearly 100 percent of its students go on to college.

The school currently enrolls about 200 students, many of whom receive scholarships and commute from other districts including Detroit.

Last summer, Ferenczi was one of only 40 teachers chosen from across the nation to participate in the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Scholarship summer institute for Environmental Science, a three-week program sponsored by Princeton University. The program assists teachers in creating new learning strategies for environmental topics and allows them to continue their own science education through hands-on projects and field trips. Ferenczi enthusiastically encourages other teachers to get involved with the program, which has a web site at www.woodrow.org/teachers.

Ferenczi also participated last summer in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Teacher at Sea program, spending 18 days on the Whiting, a 163-foot research vessel, helping NOAA to chart the ocean floor. The data gathered on his trip will ultimately be incorporated into NOAA's nautical charts-documents used by military, passenger, and fishing vessels around the world.

And this past March, the U.S. Army's Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion hosted Ferenczi and other teachers on a tour of Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., a self-contained city with over 17,000 military personnel and nearly 30,000 family members and civilian workers. The schools at Fort Sill train army soldiers and marines. Ferenczi's "Educator Tour" provided attendees with a five-day tour of the city and an opportunity to see how recruits are trained.

Ferenczi has been able to use these experiences in his classroom, using ocean charting examples in math class, helping fellow teachers with environmental topics, and providing information to students interested in entering the military.

Ferenczi says the best thing about teaching is seeing students enjoy the learning process. By bringing his professional experience to bear, continuing his own education, and seeking new and innovative ways to teach, Ferenczi serves as an excellent role model for students and teachers alike.