Sileo marks 24 years teaching


by Christina Howie, Copy Editor

This school year marks Ms. Sue Sileo 24th year teaching physical education in Glen Rock.

Sileo grew up in Cliffside Park and throughout high school, she played tennis, basketball and softball. Participating in sports helped Sileo develop an interest in health and physical fitness.

“I knew I was going to be a physical education teacher in 3rd grade,” Sileo said. “My physical education teacher in elementary school made me a squad leader and we were doing relay races with the little scooters and I was the squad leader and I said, ‘This is the best thing in the whole world, I could do this’ and from that moment on it’s all I ever wanted to do. “

Following high school graduation, she attended West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

“Believe it or not, a ton of sciences are needed to become a physical education teacher,” Sileo said.

Most physical education majors need to take classes including anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, applied physiology and chemistry. Additionally, general education classes and activity classes such as fitness, swimming, gymnastics, dance, archery, and racket skills are needed as well.

Once she graduated college, Sileo started teaching in September 1992. She spent a year at an elementary school in Perth Amboy before arriving at Glen Rock.

“I saw an advertisement in the paper for Glen Rock, applied and as they say, the rest is history,” she said.

School curriculums are constantly evolving and physical education is no exception.

“It has gotten bigger. We have expanded our curriculum to obviously include a lot more fitness,” she said.

“I think the general philosophy of the department is obviously fitness but also lifetime sports as far as being comfortable to be able to go off to college or work in corporate America and if there’s a softball team you could join,” Sileo continued.  “If there’s a football team or a little law firm against that law firm in a powder puff game, you’ll be able to partake and feel confident.  I think that really is our goal.”

A pressing topic throughout school systems is why advanced gym classes are not offered to students.

“If I could change one thing, I would love for it to be like an honors program because I could have the number one singles boys tennis player in the class and I could have someone who has never really held a racket before,” she said.  “It becomes difficult for each of them to feel successful in the class.  In other fields in the school, you don’t put somebody in advanced calculus if they haven’t passed algebra yet.  So that’s always a challenge.”

Despite challenges, the physical education department always makes it work and ensure that every student feels successful.

“She’s an amazing gym teacher,” said Anna Brogan (’16). “I remember freshman year she always motivated my class to work hard and she threw us a pizza party at the end of the year.”

“She always is willing to help out and joke around,” said Jack Boscoe (’16). “She is always positive and happy to be there, which helps keep students motivated.”

When she isn’t teaching, Sileo enjoys traveling, working out, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.

Next September, Sileo will begin her 25th year teaching.

“It has gone by very quickly.  It’s an interesting concept in the aspect that I went to college, I got a job right away, I entered into a high school environment relatively quickly; I started teaching at 22 and entered high school teaching at 23,” she said. “I still feel like I’m in high school.  I feel like I’ve never left and that helps keep me young.”