[ OUR SRPs ]

Getting to know … Henry Epps

Henry Epps

School monitor Henry Epps is a member of Greenburgh-North Castle United. He was interviewed by Latoya Alvarez, a union liaison and member of Greenburgh-North Castle United and a member of the NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee.

Tell me about your job and why you love what you do.

My duties are to maintain a safe and structured environment for the students to learn by monitoring student behavior and providing therapeutic interventions. I also make sure they transit to and from their classes in a timely manner, keep hallways clear and help students deal with issues and challenges that arise throughout the day. I like to use conversation as my therapeutic method to de-escalate a situation, but I am also trained to provide physical therapeutic methods as necessary for the student’s safety.

I love what I do because I am able to reach kids outside of the classroom. I can relate to a lot of my kids because oftentimes we come from similar backgrounds and even when we don’t, they know there is no judgment passed upon them. I love knowing that I can make a difference by turning a bad day into a better one.

What does belonging to a union mean to you?

Being a part of a union is like being a part of a team. I love knowing that if I need any help I can reach out to another teammate for guidance. Solidarity is not just a word, it is who we are. As a football player, I know a lot about being on a team and this is what my union is to me.

How do you make a difference?

I make a difference by being a friendly, caring authoritative figure. I listen to them when they are angry, happy or sad. I speak to them about life and breathe encouragement into them.

Sometimes just my presence, due to the rapport I have built with the students, helps to get them back in class. I am one of the first faces they see when they come into school, so it’s my job to take a temperature check to see where they are at the moment. I also let the students help me help them. When I listen to them, I begin to learn them and that makes a difference in that student and our school environment.

Tell me about your community engagement.

I am an assistant bowling coach and assistant track coach. I have been playing football since I was a child and playing semi-pro going on 18 seasons. This helps me relate to my students because they know I’m not just instructing them on what to do, but I am also instructed by my coaches and also have to follow directions. I show them how they can redirect anger and energy through team sports. There are very few limits to what they can achieve.