MSEA ESP of the Year and career-changer Brad Fisher came to education because he wanted to do something more meaningful in his professional life, but banking’s loss is proving to be education’s gain.
Fisher’s move to education has not only showcased his professional skills as both a paraeducator and now administrative assistant specializing in finance, it has also unleashed his creativity and leadership skills. Brad, currently an administrative secretary lll at Shady Spring Elementary, is a member of the Education Support Professionals of Baltimore County (ESPBC).
During his time as a paraeducator at Elmwood Elementary School, Fisher founded a student mentor program called Boys to Men. The program was designed to provide young male students tools and strategies to be productive and kind citizens. “I’m a firm believer that self-reflection paired with honest conversations can shift the outcome of a person’s demeanor,” Fisher says. “When you are a child, you only know what you know. The mentor group was an opportunity to see different perspectives. In fact, I was learning right along with my students.”
In creating both Elmwood’s and Shady Spring’s first-ever Black History Month programs, Fisher supplemented the academic program with activities spotlighting role models of color. At both schools, an end-of-month celebration showcasing student projects was attended by families, friends and neighbors, and local leaders.
“I felt it was especially important given the school’s population that students were exposed to role models that looked like them in areas where they may have career interests,” he says. His passion for equity for all students is critical to the students at Shady Spring, where the student population is about 60% Black, 25% Latino, and 15% a mix of Asian, Native American, and white.
Boosting students’ confidence by showcasing their unique talents led Fisher to build up the annual Elmwood Elementary Talent Show and sponsor Shady Spring’s Step Squad, which allows 4th and 5th graders to learn and practice new skills through music and movement. “It’s gratifying,” he says, “to foster the artistry of our students.”
As his school’s building representative, Fisher has used his expertise and leadership skills to serve as a facilitator at the joint ESPBC/BCPS Professional Development Conferences. During the pandemic, Fisher continues to lead countywide job title meetings with more than 200 other elementary school office professionals, giving important updates and answering questions about working conditions and members’ rights. His skills as an organizer helped BCPS office professionals come together to successfully advocate for their employment rights during the pandemic.