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Kevin and Samantha Walsh


Samantha Walsh ’15, G’16  

BS Childhood Education with a concentration in English  and MSED Literacy Birth-6  

Third-grade teacher at Watervliet Elementary School, Watervliet, New York    

Kevin Walsh ’15, G’17  

BA Mathematics, with a minor in writing and MSED Math Adolescence Education   

High school pre-algebra and algebra 1 teacher at Hoosic Valley Junior/Senior High School, Schaghticoke, New York, and adjunct faculty at Saint Rose teaching a graduate-level curriculum and instruction course  

Fun fact: This husband-wife pair of teachers met at Saint Rose. Kevin Walsh proposed to Samantha in the Thelma P. Lally School of Education.  

What led you into the field of education?  

Samantha Walsh: I had always wanted to be a teacher. When I was in high school, I applied for the New Visions Education Program my senior year. This program allowed me to attend a class inside an elementary school each day rather than go to my high school. I would take my English and social studies classes there twice a week and the remainder of the week I was learning the art of lesson planning, completing observation hours in classrooms, and teaching small group lessons. I loved every second of it, and from that point on there was no question about what my major was going to be in college.  

Kevin Walsh: Wanting to work with others and help them improve themselves led me to education. I was also dating Sam for most of our undergrad, so that definitely pushed me in the direction of teaching. She helped open my eyes to teaching, and I’m not so sure I would be in education today if it wasn’t for her. So, I’m certainly thankful for that.  

Why did you choose Saint Rose to major in education?  

Samantha Walsh: A lot of people from my high school head to the Albany area in general and that includes a handful to Saint Rose each year. That’s how I initially found out about the school. When I looked more into the education department there it was amazing to see what opportunities they offered education majors during their time in the program, but also the percentages involving jobs post-graduation.  

Kevin Walsh: The education program at Saint Rose is very well known in the area. Even as an undergrad, I knew the program was excellent and helped create excellent teachers. During my senior year, I applied to Saint Rose for teaching, and I don’t remember setting my sights on any other school or program. Choosing Saint Rose to pursue my master’s in education was a no-brainer to me.  

What was your experience like as an education student at Saint Rose?  

Samantha Walsh: Amazing! I truly felt like I made connections with both professors and in the field from each class I took. The support from professors in the major was unwavering throughout my entire program. No professor wanted to see you fail or fall out of love with education. Your teaching and own learning style were encouraged in each project, assignment, or lesson plan.  

Kevin Walsh: It was great. I thought the professors did a great job preparing me for the world of teaching. My class sizes were small which helped me get more specific feedback to help improve myself. I learned a lot and being an education student as Saint Rose really shaped me into the educator I am today.  

How did Saint Rose prepare you for the classroom – what made it such a strong education program?  

Samantha Walsh: I think that Saint Rose exposed you to the classroom environment very quickly. I had gotten into a classroom my fall semester of sophomore year. At least two classes each semester from that point on required classroom observation/teaching time. I think it made the transition to student teaching that much more comfortable, which ultimately led to feeling confident when subbing and/or having your own classroom. Saint Rose professors also always encouraged your teaching style and personality when writing lesson plans. It helped to make you feel comfortable and confident when teaching too. Lastly, the resources available. From the curriculum library, to the supportive professors, to programs like the residency program I was in – there were always opportunities to gain confidence in the classroom and build connections in the communities around us.  

Kevin Walsh: I agree with Sam. I think the professors at Saint Rose push their students to be themselves and let their teaching style be a reflection of who they are. No teacher is the same, so it makes sense to adopt your own style, which the education department helped me form and further develop. Being in small classes further helped me develop as an educator since the professors could work with me on more of an individualized basis.  

What lessons do you still carry with you from Saint Rose today?  

Samantha Walsh: “There are a million ways to teach one thing.” – Dr. Pfister said this to me when she gave me my very first assignment involving writing a lesson plan. I could not wrap my head around the “best” way to teach a second-grade ELA standard. She then reminded me of this when I had to teach a demo lesson for Watervliet during my interview process. I don’t know if she realized how much this would stick with me, but I still think about it today when I compare how I teach something to my colleagues and then worry! Or even when I’m writing up a lesson for an observation. It really calms me down, but it is also so beyond true! Every teacher has their own teaching style and way of reaching their students. More importantly, every teacher has their own group of students with various needs compared to previous years and their colleagues’ classes. I think this quote has helped me meet the needs of each student I have had.  

Kevin Walsh: Adapt, adapt, adapt. Teaching is ever changing. Students are ever changing. You cannot teach the same lessons year after year and expect them to work every time. You have to be able to make the proper adjustments depending on who you are working with. Saint Rose equipped me with the tools to do exactly that. I learned to be a successful teacher you have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt lessons to better suit the students you are working with.  

How and when did you meet each other at Saint Rose?  

Samantha Walsh: Ha! We both lived in Lima our freshman year, so we definitely knew of each other. We didn’t actually meet until sophomore year when Kevin lived with a mutual friend we had. This friend invited me and my suitemates to his laser tag birthday party (yes, for his 19th birthday), and we showed up! I’m interested to see if Kevin has any additional details … 

Kevin Walsh: I guess it wasn’t technically our first time meeting, but it’s what led to us eventually dating was an ugly Christmas sweater party. My oldest Saint Rose friend and teammate, Jorge, invited me to an ugly Christmas sweater party he was having. I decided to go but didn’t have an ugly sweater to wear so I asked my friend Clive if he had one to borrow. Separately, he asked Sam if she had one to borrow, which I ended up wearing to the party. Me wearing her sweater led to us talking to one another and was the starting point of our entire relationship.  

What is it that you liked most about each other when you first met (and still today)?  

Samantha Walsh: Obviously, the list goes on about things I love about Kevin. Thinking about our initial meeting, though, I would say sense of humor. Not only is he the funniest person I know, but our sense of humor is honestly identical, and I knew it from our first conversation. It’s even better now though because I swear we could tell a joke to each other by just sharing a look across the room! He makes life so fun!  

Kevin Walsh: My answer is cheesy, so sorry in advance. Very early on when Sam and I were talking, and not even dating yet, I told her she was different from anyone I’d ever met. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about her that drew me to her. I think looking back it was a lot of things like her sense of humor, her stories, and her carefree attitude. Most of all, she believes in everything I set out to do. If I tell her I want to accomplish something or I have a goal, she does everything in her power to help me or motivate me to accomplish it. Her supportiveness has only grown stronger since we first started dating over eight years ago and is a driving force that makes me who I am today. I would not be a teacher if it wasn’t for her, and my bucket list would have a lot of unchecked boxes if it wasn’t for her support.  

I understand you got engaged in Lally. Can you tell me more about that day?  

Samantha Walsh: My perspective? I thought we were picking something up from Dr. Pfister, heading to happy hour, and then a movie! I should’ve known something was up when Kevin stayed in his dress clothes after work and was giving me suggestions for my outfit! I then attempted to park out front and have him run in to grab what we needed! Once he got me inside, I ran up to Dr. Pfister’s office and almost missed the sign on the door that said to “check the sunroom.” Kevin QUICKLY pointed this out to me! Once we got to the sunroom, I was very confused by the roses, champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries set up on the table, but before I could even think, Kevin was down on one knee. It wasn’t long before I heard the clicking sound of a camera, which was my best friend and college roommate, Courtney, there to capture the moment! It was absolutely perfect. Yes, we still got our happy hour and movie!  

Kevin Walsh: Saint Rose made the most sense for where I should ask her to marry me. I told her “I thought of a million different ways and places to do this, but this place made the most sense to me. We’ve had so many amazing memories here, and I wanted to create one last one with you” and then asked her to marry me. Lucky for me, she said yes!  

Were any Saint Rose faculty/alumni at your wedding?  

Samantha Walsh: Of course! One of my maids of honor was my college roommate, Courtney, and Kevin’s best man was his college roommate and THE infamous mutual friend, Clive. We had many other friends, including Kevin’s teammates from Saint Rose swimming. Dr. Pfister and Mr. Schaefer also attended. We actually had our ceremony at St. Vincent de Paul right on the edge of campus!  

Kevin Walsh: Yeah, we definitely had a handful of alumni. All of my closest friends from Saint Rose were there. Some were still in the Capital Region, but a handful of them travelled from far away. It was amazing how many of them were able to make it to our wedding. I think it showed how close we all became through Saint Rose and how we are always willing to be there for one another no matter where life takes us. Our wedding day was a great reminder of that. I’m very thankful to still be close to my former teammates and other alumni.  

How often do you talk about work at home? Do you help each other solve classroom challenges?  

Samantha Walsh: We definitely help each other, even if it is just to vent a little bit. I have the personality where I need to talk it out to feel better. Kevin does too, but usually he likes to relax a little bit first when he gets home. So, we definitely find that balance of relaxing after a long day, but also not letting what is bothering us take up our whole night. We talk it out, take suggestions, and give tomorrow our best effort! We also have opposite teaching styles, so sometimes we have to imagine ourselves as the other person to keep with the routine of the classroom, but also some of the best things I have tried in my classroom come from Kevin and his teaching style.  

Kevin Walsh: Yeah, I think we are both very different and yet effective teachers in our own way. I have the older students while she has the younger ones, so that’s certainly different. I tell her and my grad students that I’m always impressed with teachers at the elementary-school level. I think I work better with older students so that always amazes me. I think we’re also good about sharing stories to laugh about even on the rough days, which is also important. Some days in the classroom are tough for both of us, but I think we’re good at laughing at our own mistakes and helping each other overcome obstacles.  

What was your early career like – what did you teach, where, etc.?  

Samantha Walsh: I was a building substitute for Albany City School District while I worked on my master’s degree, which was one calendar year. The summer that I finished my master’s degree, I interviewed at Watervliet and got the job! Six years later, and I am still loving my position there.  

Kevin Walsh: My first teaching job was at Brown School, which is a small private school in Schenectady. I taught a range of math courses, and it marked the first time I could fully apply what I learned in grad school, which was very exciting. There was definitely a learning curve, but I think it taught me a lot about the profession and opened my eyes to the world of education. After a year at Brown School, I started working at Hoosic Valley Junior/Senior High School, where I’ve been teaching pre-algebra and algebra 1 for four years now and have continued to grow as an educator.  

You’ve likely worked with many Saint Rose graduates. How can you spot a Saint Rose-made teacher?  

Samantha Walsh: I am currently hosting a student teacher in my classroom, and she is such a hardworking teacher candidate. She goes above and beyond to “jump in” to the day-to-day life of a teacher. I have complete trust in anything she is teaching and how she teaches it. I would say that I notice the same qualities in Saint Rose graduates in the field. They are hardworking, go above and beyond in whatever position they are in, and are prepared each day with engaging lessons.  

Kevin Walsh: Saint Rose made teachers care. From my experience, they form great relationships with their students and have great empathy towards their students. Teaching is more than just being in the front of the room dictating lessons. It’s about forming relationships and connections with students. I think Saint Rose-made teachers showcase how to be great role models and strive for their students to not only feel successful in the classroom but heard as well.  

What keeps you in this field – even with all of the challenges?  

Samantha Walsh: I love what I do, and I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. I love working with kids, I love being a “performer” each day, I love that no day is the same and I love that every year I get to call a new group of students “my kids.” Even teaching through a pandemic taught me that I am right where I am supposed to be. Even when I had to figure out how to provide intervention without a carpet/table, teach virtual and in-person students simultaneously, or spend six hours with a mask on – I never wanted to give up and my brain was constantly thinking about how to do it all. That’s how I knew I am still right where I am supposed to be.  

Kevin Walsh: I’m not going to lie to you; teaching is tough. Sometimes lessons don’t go as planned, and you simply have a rough day. It’s common with any job, really. I think it’s important to remind yourself that you’re making a difference. Teaching during the pandemic where I had to juggle in-person students along with fully online students and hybrid students wasn’t easy. There were a lot of days last year when I would come home absolutely exhausted and not feeling great about how lessons went. I had to remind myself, with the help of Sam, that even though I had my rough days, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The teaching may look different than it did a couple years ago, but I do believe I’m still making a difference in my students’ lives and that keeps me going through all the challenges teaching presents.