2020 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Patrick A. Silvestri
Nassau BOCES Adult Learning Center
Since the first days of his career as an educator more than 30 years ago, Patrick Silvestri has demonstrated the traits of a born leader. As a naturalist in the Nassau BOCES outdoor education program, he helped develop award-winning field experiments, research projects and curriculum for the agency’s Program of Alternative Comprehensive Education. He went on to develop interdisciplinary, hands-on lessons for at-risk special education students, creating individualized behavior modification programs for them.
Throughout his career, Mr. Silvestri has developed a reputation for his hands-on approach, treating everyone with the same individualized attention, from students to faculty and staff. He is a firm believer that no task is too menial when it comes to getting the job done, and is as ready to scrub and mop a classroom floor as he is to work through the administrative issues of an academic program.
Mr. Silvestri sees each of his students as an individual with complex needs and challenges of their own. He recognizes that adult students have adult problems, and is always available to listen and to lend advice. He counsels with patience and understanding, and is willing to help with every facet of a situation, from creating a plan for academic success, to navigating out of a bad life situation.
Under Mr. Silvestri’s supervision, programs at the Nassau BOCES Adult Learning Center (ALC) have grown and become increasingly successful. Student enrollment is up and course offerings have expanded to accommodate that increased enrollment. Part of the ALC’s success comes from Mr. Silvestri’s effective use of technology to meet the educational needs of 21st-century adult learners. He has facilitated the implementation of leading-edge teaching technology, including internet–based instruction and smartboards in every classroom.
While Mr. Silvestri embraces the use of technology in education, he is also a believer in the fundamental principles that unite us. One example of this is a gardening project that he initiated at the ALC. Students worked together to cultivate the garden, from which they took home plants of their own and eventually brought back the literal fruits of their labor to share with the ALC community. Everyone at the center was involved with the project, which became a symbol of the nurturing, caring environment Mr. Silvestri fosters at the school.
“Patrick Silvestri is a hands-on educator who is always willing to get down in the trenches and do whatever needs to be done to help his students become successful,” wrote his award nominator. “His leadership combines kindness and sincerity with enthusiasm and a genuine gusto for learning. His ideas are refreshing and always get everyone involved. His honesty, integrity and perseverance are truly inspiring. He brings out the best in everyone around him.”