2017 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Francis M. Ferrara
Special Education Teacher, Career Preparatory High School
Francis Ferrara has been teaching for more than 40 years, the last 30 as an educator for Nassau BOCES. He is currently a special education teacher in the Career Preparatory High School’s REBOUND program, which he designed and launched 20 years ago. The program delivers hands-on, project-based learning in a supportive educational setting to meet the academic, emotional and behavioral needs of students with severe conduct disorders.
For the past 30 years, Mr. Ferrara has dedicated his summers to the students of Nassau BOCES Carman Road School, working as an adaptive physical education teacher. He ensures that every student is included in every activity. He oversaw Carman Road’s school-wide BBQ Lunch program and created the Staff vs. Students Sports Competition, featuring wheelchair basketball and hockey. He initiated Adapted Field Day, which includes those students with even the most severe physical disabilities.
At Carman Road, he also forged a lifelong relationship with a student named Chris. An outstanding individual who has struggled his whole life to overcome physical challenges, Chris serves as an ongoing inspiration to Mr. Ferrara through his courage, tenacity and spirit.
For more than 20 years, Mr. Ferrara served as an award-winning coach in the Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, for which he earned Conference Coach of the Year and the Nassau County Team Sportsmanship Award. He also served 10 years as president of the Nassau County Softball Coaches Association. His former assistant coach Richard Bizelia said of him, “Mr. Ferrara left an indelible mark on his players. He gave his heart and soul to every kid he ever coached. He molded them into the leaders of tomorrow.”
Mr. Ferrara volunteers his time to Philemon Fellowship Mentoring Program, where he counsels formerly incarcerated men. He helps them develp a plan of personal growth and teaches them responsible decision making.
“Frank Ferrara has made a difference in so many of his students lives, beyond as well as within the classroom,” wrote his award nominator. “He is always giving of himself to others, and his passion and dedication are unparalleled. Mr. Ferrara is a role model for his colleagues, peers and the community at large. He truly exemplifies the spirit of educational partnership.”