Retired Teachers Association awards grant to law enforcement educator at BOCES
MEDINA – It is customary for the Central Western Zone of the Retired Educators of New York to recognize active educators who have shown exemplary service and leadership in their school and community located within the Central Western Zone.
On Thursday, Frank Berger, president of the Orleans County Retired Teachers’ Association, presented a Barrie Fleegel Memorial Active Educator Grant Award to Dudley Gilbert, security and law enforcement teacher at Niagara/Orleans BOCES.
Fleegel was a resident of the Central Western Zone who accomplished great things and also strongly believed and acted on his dreams. He was a family man who deeply loved his wife and daughters and son-in-law. He adored his grandchildren and was involved in many activities at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church.
Fleegel began his educational career as a science teach in Marion in 1955 and was also curriculum coordinator during this period. He became high school principal in 1971 and two years later, he was elevated to the position of Marion superintendent. After retiring in 1995, he immediately became a member of New York State Retired Teachers Association.
The then served as Wayne County president and Central Western Zone vice president from 1998-2000. He was elected zone president from 2000-2003, then moved to the position of NYSRTA senior vice president.
In spite of his busy involvement, Fleegel also supervised student teachers from Oswego State College until his illness in the fall of 2005.
Gilbert, a resident of Buffalo, has a bachelor’s degree in African-American studies from the University of Buffalo. He has taught security and law enforcement at BOCES for the last 4 1/2 years.
A condition of his employment requires him to take six mandatory classes. He took the first five at Buffalo State College and is completing the sixth class there.
Gilbert said he did not receive any financial aid for any of the classes. He has awards for perfect attendance and is tenured.
He has been involved in extracurricular activities at BOCES, including Skills USA, a craft fair which is a major fundraiser for the organization. He employs his student volunteers to act as traffic security officers, which he supervises on his own time.
With commuting 100 miles a day to BOCES and taking extra classes, Gilbert said he is not able at this time to be involved in community service. However, in the past, he was involved with the Boys and Girls Club of America and the African-American Heritage Corridor in Buffalo/Lewiston/Niagara Falls.
He was previously a state trooper, and upon completion of that career he wanted to do something that kept young people out of the back of a troop car, he said.
“I also wanted to teach them not only lesson in my curriculum, but also lessons for life,” Gilbert said. “Every year on the first day of school I write the number of days remaining in the year. If it is 180, I tell my seniors, ‘This is how many days you have remaining in the program. But my real job is to prepare you for day 181.’”