Caroline Segarra, a seasoned New York City teacher, joined BFS as the Lower School Learning Specialist but that wasn’t enough to calm this distance runner’s racing mind. In summer, 2014 she also became Program Director of Horizons at BFS.
“I’m somewhat of a jack-of-all trades,” said Caroline Segarra. “By day, I’m the Kindergarten and First Grade Learning Specialist, and during the summer I’m the Program Director of Horizons at BFS.”
Although it’s a nationally known organization, Horizons wasn’t initially on her career agenda. “After graduating with a BA in Psychology from SUNY Purchase, I was dead-set on becoming a clinical psychologist,” Caroline said, “but God had other plans for me, and I worked as a substance abuse counselor in homeless shelters, then as a Program Assistant for a mentoring organization. Then, I joined the New York City Teaching Fellows program in 2005 and taught across numerous elementary grades as either a special education co-teacher or head teacher at public and charter schools in Brooklyn.”
Having spent years working with underserved students in Brooklyn’s public schools, Horizons seemed to this Brooklyn native a natural fit as it strives to serve a slice of the same population. After joining BFS as the Lower School Learning Specialist, Caroline jumped at the chance two summers ago to co-teach a Horizons at BFS summer class. Soon, Horizons at BFS Executive Director Rachel Webber approached her about a program leadership position. “I was initially hesitant,” Caroline admitted, “as I knew the position would be incredibly demanding, and would require me to lead and oversee a staff that included many of my friends.”
This past summer, she made the transition and passed with flying colors. Working closely with Rachel and an extraordinary group of experienced teachers and team of dedicated volunteers, Horizons at Brooklyn Friends School took off in spectacular ways this summer. Younger students took field trips to farmers markets and cooked healthy meals in class. Second graders focused on aquatic life in New York Harbor and joined the educational fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Rove the Cove program. Fourth and fifth graders got their first Brooklyn Public Library cards and made regular trips to the Cadman Plaza branch, while sixth graders focused on biology, engineering and computer programming. “They built models of the digestive system, completed a K’Nex set of amusement park rides, and bravely conducted interviews with passersby on Fulton Street to gather data on breakfast and eating habits.” They even created their own video, Healthy Horizons 2014, which is now on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oE_eqXSMbM).
Now that she’s fully acclimated, Caroline’s already thinking about next summer with Horizons at BFS. “My goals are to strengthen the relationships with our families, inspire our students to challenge themselves and their convictions, and to deepen our partnerships within the downtown Brooklyn community.” In the meantime, she’ll have plenty throughout the school year to keep her busy as a Learning Specialist.
When she’s not focused on her workload at BFS, Caroline explores her other passions. “Born and raised in Brooklyn, I have a passion for New York City history and for the neighborhoods of my beautiful borough.” A dedicated runner and a marathoner-in-training, she also enjoys salsa dancing, travel, and openly admits to a love of Karaoke. “My favorite books to read are non-fiction memoirs, and I also have a strong passion for public education policy work.”