by Rick Pezzullo –
Since he was a young boy, Bernard Mithieux wanted to be a teacher when he grew up.
“I always loved to teach and to be with kids,” he said. “I think it’s a way to do something that counts. Not a mission, but you want to be helpful.”
Mithieux is the new coordinator and head teacher for the Lyceum Kennedy French American School, located in the Village of Ardsley in a former Catholic school off Ashford Avenue and Sprain Road. It is his first job in the United States after arriving from France in August, and he’s focused on helping the school, which serves students from preschool to fifth grade, grow and have a greater presence in the surrounding communities.
“My job here is to make some changes and also be part of that change,” he said. “To try to make it better, and see where we want to go together. The teachers here are great. They know what they want to do. They want to help children grow and learn.”
Lyceum Kennedy follows the National French guidelines and is accredited by the French Ministry of Education (l’homologation). It is also registered by the New York State Board of Regents and follow the New York State educational requirements for all grade levels.
The school, which offers a unique bilingual and bicultural education, has a low student/teacher ratio, with two classroom teachers (one French and one English), which Mithieux noted allows for more individualized classroom instruction and parental involvement.
“With a small school you can really work with each student to see what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses and what we can do to help them,” Mithieux said. “I think it’s a real team and the parents are a big part of the team. Parents have a lot of opportunities to speak to teachers directly. It’s like a small family.”
In France, Mithieux, who worked as a vice principal and an elementary school teacher, dabbled in theater as an actor and playwright and has introduced a theater club to Lyceum Kennedy.
“I love to be creative,” he said. “You have to keep the children’s attention and find new ways to teach things.”
Mithieux said he was looking forward to the new playground that will be soon be built on the spacious grounds where children often explore as an extension of their classroom curriculum.
A formal open house at Lyceum Kennedy is planned for Wednesday, January 24, but tours can be scheduled any time by calling (914) 479-0722.