2010 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Creator and Director
Increase the Peace
The son of two teachers, Bruce Castellano grew up in a learning environment. So it should be no surprise that at the tender age of 10 he was asked by his fifth-grade teacher to help teach a classroom of younger students. This set the course for the rest of his life.
He pursued a career as an English teacher and retired from Mineola UFSD after 35 successful years there. Interestingly, it was a group of Mineola students that sparked Castellano's second career. Upset about a race issue, these students came to Castellano first simply to vent. But during their discussions, one of them suggested taking action. With Castellano in the lead, these students became part of the first incarnation of Increase the Peace.
After he learned how to hold workshops and present information on human rights himself, Castellano taught his students. As enthusiasm grew, he decided to create a series of high school courses on the topic. Soon his students were visiting other schools in the district, and Castellano recognized the need to share this knowledge beyond Mineola.
Today, many school districts throughout Long Island look to Increase the Peace for help in creating their own human rights programs. Castellano, now serving as an adjunct professor at Adelphi University, also is teaching the next generation of educators how to incorporate this information into their curricula.
A self-described advocate, he serves on the boards of the Nassau Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network. He also volunteers at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County and the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights.
Castellano earned a bachelor's degree at Adelphi University and a master's at Hofstra University.
He and Gerald Anders, his partner of 23 years, live in Sea Cliff, N.Y.