posted November 16, 2016 - written by Matthew Hahn, SOE Graduate Assistant
Samantha Brody knew she made the right decision in attending Buffalo State.
Brody had specific conditions that needed to be fulfilled by the school she was to choose, and Buffalo State met those requirements. “At the time, I was looking for a distinguished education program and Buffalo State clearly met that criteria. Secondly, I knew I needed to attend a college that wasn’t too large in size, yet also offered an urban environment,” she said. In addition, as a native of Rochester, New York, Buffalo was a convenient location to be far enough - yet not too far - from her parents.
She knew that she wanted to pursue education, she knew she desired a university that was well known for having high-quality education programs and instructors, and she knew that Buffalo State was her best option for achieving these dreams.
At Buffalo State, Brody was presented with many opportunities that could help prepare her for teaching. She began taking advantage of these opportunities even as early as her freshman year, when she became one of seventeen founding sisters of a local sorority. “By our junior year, we became a national sorority, which is now Alpha Epsilon Phi. I was extremely active and held many leadership roles within AEP, as well as the Inter Greek Association,” she says. Brody believes that experiences such as these helped her develop the leadership skills that she consistently uses in her teaching.
One of the most important aspects of being an educator is building relationships with your students and helping them become their very best. Brody did just that when she was student teaching. Through that experience she became convinced that she wanted to work in an urban school district and provide opportunities for students who may not usually receive support.
“While completing my student teaching experience, I met a first grade boy who, to this day, I consider a member of my immediate family. With Brandon I witnessed firsthand the ways that some teachers mistreat, misunderstand, and give up on certain students. I realized the importance of recognizing the good in all children and the importance of helping them reach their maximum potential.”
Brody helped her first grader confront the expectations pushed on him from other teachers who did not see his true potential. “I really can’t think of the appropriate words to describe how proud I am of Brandon. He beat all the odds…all of the odds,” she says.
For some students, having teachers who believe in them can make a world of difference, especially when others don’t look for or foster those students’ abilities, or feel they are a lost cause. Knowledge of this problem is a driving force for Brody.
“If I had to pick one thing that really motivates me in my career, it would be making positive changes in the lives of others,” she said. “This role continues to be incredibly important to me because the students I support (and their families) need me. They need me to educate them, believe in them, guide them, advocate for them and, most importantly, love them. I take tremendous pride in fulfilling these responsibilities for each student I serve.”
Samantha Brody is inspired by her students, but she also points to a former professor who made, and continues to make, a positive difference. “I really had no idea that 25 years later I would still have an exceptionally close relationship with my academic advisor, Dr. Sharon Cramer. Not only did she inspire me while I was a student, but she has continued to be an intricate part of my professional and personal life.”
In her current position as the Coordinating Administrator for Students with Special Needs for the Rochester City School District, Brody is responsible for conducting Manifestation Determination and CSE meetings for students with special needs who are being recommended for long-term suspension. Prior to this, Brody was a special education administrator at Rochester’s School of the Arts, before which she completed 20 years as a special education teacher at School Without Walls Commencement Academy. She is working on her doctorate degree at St. John Fisher College, hoping to open herself to more administrative opportunities in the field of education.
Brody has achieved great progress in her career, and much of it she attributes to her experiences and time spent at Buffalo State, and the three people who inspired her the most on her journey. "Because of Buffalo State, Dr. Cramer , Brandon and my roommate Amy Friedman, have influenced my life in ways I never would have imagined."
She says that, “commitment, patience, empathy, passion, creativity, and most importantly love,” are the personal traits that bring success to educators and, based on Brody's stories and her career thus far, this certainly appears to be the case!