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An elementary school boy sits in front of a computer in his special education school while holding up a page of autographs.



A Day in the Life of a Special Education Director

A Day in the Life of a Special Education Director

Gary Flanagan is a Special Education Director at New Story Schools Throop, PA campus. Learn more about what a day in the life as a Special Education Director is for Gary.

What was your career trajectory? How did you arrive at New Story Schools?

I started working as a teacher in a psychiatric hospital after I graduated college. We had a private school there, and I figured it would be a temporary position, but I was there for 37 years. However, they ended up closing the hospital, so I started looking for a job and I saw a New Story Schools advertisement. The position was for a school director, which is what I was doing at the hospital. I applied and really liked the people that I met through the interview process.

What is your day-to-day role like as a special education director?

Every day is different. We have eight classrooms, about 38 staff members, and 57 students. The first thing we do is get the students into the building. On a day where there isn’t much going on, then I would be either doing paperwork or my job duties, but also try to make rounds to get to the classrooms and see how the teachers and students are doing. We have different kinds of meetings throughout the day, such as Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) meetings with the district. At the end of the day, we escort the students to the vans. There is always something new going on and things always pop up. Some days are a challenge, but it is a very rewarding job.

What is something you look forward to everyday?

I look forward to seeing the students. We have some neat students and I enjoy spending time with them. My favorite part of the day is getting to go around the classrooms, seeing the students, and knowing how they are doing.

What has been your favorite memory so far working at New Story Schools?

The first event I was a part of was Halloween, where the students and staff came to school dressed up and we got lunch for the students. We did the same thing at Thanksgiving. All the staff made food and we put on a Thanksgiving dinner and served the students. Another great memory was the winter dance. We filled up the gym with these white balls of yarn that looked like snowballs. We had music, food, and a snowball fight at the dance. Those have been the most memorable things so far.

What makes you proud of the work you do?

A lot of it has to do with our team. Working in this field takes a certain temperament. We have some really dedicated people and I think we do a good job. The team here works hard and thinks nothing of it. And to see things go well for them is the most rewarding part.

Is there any advice you could give to someone who is also looking to pursue a career in special education?

It’s a rewarding career. You never know where you’re going to end up or how things are going to go, but it’s worth it. If you like helping people and teaching students, it is very rewarding. I’ll see a lot of good things happening with the students. We’ve had a lot of them who, even in the short time I’ve been here, have done very well and were able to transition back to their districts. That is the ultimate goal, which is why we work hard to help them deal with their behaviors and coping. A few of our students have been so successful here, they returned to their public school. Hopefully, that speaks well about what we’re doing here and what we’re trying to achieve.

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