From Vocal Major to FSSA Assistant Principal
His office looks like any ordinary assistant principal’s office: The wooden desk, the big comfy spinning chair, the big bowl of Lifesaver mints, and pictures of school events. He wears his business casual outfits that consist of khakis or dress pants and a striped shirt. However, what the students of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School do not know, is that Mr. Gideon Frankel, AP of Administration, was once just like them: A performing arts student.
Mr. Frankel was raised in New York City and attended public school like most FSSA students. In fact, Mr. Frankel attended the infamous Fiorello H. Laguardia High School as a vocal major. Like many students at FSSA, Mr. Frankel even once dreamed about taking his talents to another level.
“Not many people know this, but in 2005, I auditioned for American Idol,” Mr. Frankel said.
However, he did not pursue a career in vocal music. Instead, after graduating from Syracuse University, Mr. Frankel pursued a career in film/broadcasting for seven years. He worked in many popular broadcasting stations such as NBC news and The Today Show. Even though Mr. Frankel was living anyone’s dream who wanted to thrive in the film/television industry, he found his calling when he went back to school to earn his Masters in education.
“During my student teaching, I realized I really enjoyed teaching teenagers,” he said. Mr. Frankel worked at FSSA as a film teacher for two years, left to become an assistant principal at a school in the Bronx, and came back to pick up where the former AP of Administration, Bill Stevens, left off.
Mr. Frankel’s background in the performing arts helps him become as involved as he is today with the school’s students.
“I love my job because I get to be a fly on the wall in the classroom and I get to see the amazing work in the arts and the academics that are going on,” he said.
Many students can see the dedication and interest Mr. Frankel has toward the students and their art form.
“He really encourages us before and after a performance even though we aren’t at our best. He makes us actually feel like an important and relevant studio,” Tara Conte, a senior instrumental major, states.
In fact, Mr. Frankel’s mission is to make sure every student or school accomplishment gets recognized. Since today’s teens are such big fans of social media, Mr. Frankel helped begin FSSA’s twitter page, @fssanews, where he posts school updates. He is also known for taking group selfies at the end of every concert, show and assembly with his well-worn iPad.
Although there is controversy in using social media for school purposes due to cyberbullying and other problems, Mr. Frankel is confident that the school’s Twitter page brings nothing but positive outcomes to the school environment.
“I have found that Twitter has been a really good way for those who want to know and keep up to date with what is happening. Parent’s like to see it, some students want to see it, even teachers. It’s a good tool to help show what the students are accomplishing,” Frankel states.
One of Mr. Frankel’s goals with the school’s Twitter page is to get them involved in the school community and with each other. He strongly advises students to send in pictures of any school event or activity they are involved in to his email, email@example.com.
From expanding his talents at an performing arts high school, to taking his chances on American Idol, and then finding his passion in teaching, Mr. Frankel is a prime example of how anyone can persue a career revolving around the arts.
Mr. Frankel continues to influence and bring positivity to the students at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts by continuously reminding them of their achievements, especially since he was once in their place.
– by Jakelin Jerez ’17