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Disciplined mind opens doors

Shaker High School teacher went from dropout to academic achiever

— Finsel was quick to add he wouldn’t be able to complete his doctorate in education administration without the help of scholarships and the G.I. Bill. His newest scholarship will help pay his remaining tab for school, and help to extend his benefits from the G.I. Bill, he said.

“I know that if I didn’t have any G.I. money I couldn’t have accomplished any of my educational pursuits,” Finsel said.

When he first joined the Marine Corps, Finsel loved the training and discipline aspect and upon becoming a teacher, he wanted to bring that to the classroom. He had been deployed to Iraq and then moved to North Carolina, where he decided to get back into the educational system and was able to earn two associates degrees and a bachelors degree. After leaving active duty, Finsel was able to use funds from the G.I. Bill and found himself back at Binghamton for a masters in history and teaching social studies.

With his degrees under his belt, Finsel moved to Colonie. He began teaching economics and U.S. history at Shaker High School, where he’s been teaching for the past seven years, and also became the summer school principal.

As a firm advocate for the value of education, Finsel still couldn’t sit still and with the encouragement of others, began pursuing his doctorate in education administration at the University of Albany.

“I’m a big believer in growth,” he said. “For me, education is really important. It’s something I took for granted.”

Finsel said he brings that sense of discipline and inspiring growth straight to his classroom.

“I try to apply real world practicality and emulate good leadership qualities. I try to instill a sense of responsibility to the kids … I’m a big believer in interdependence,” he said.

His passion comes out not only when Finsel is in front of a class, but also when he is in it.

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