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Spotlight on History

Michael King, Lara Hovsepian, Marc Harper, Aaron Sparrow

Marc Harper grew up in Zambia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe before attending the University of East Anglia in England were he graduated with a BA Hons in Sociology and Politics. Inspired by his high school sociology teacher who opened his eyes to the potential for education to foster socially relevant critical thinking, he completed his Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and then took up his first teaching post in rural Southwest Wales. After six years he took a new job just outside London. While travelling in Vietnam in 1998 he met his current wife Layne, a native New Yorker and fellow educator. In 2001 he settled in the East Village and began pursuing his NYS teacher license. After brief stints in Westchester and Harlem he joined the faculty of BCCHS in 2004. He received his Master’s degree in history from Lehman College in 2006. Now in his twenty eighth year of teaching he still gets goosebumps when he sees tenth graders engaging excitedly with contemporary and historical issues. When he is not frequenting the independent cinema houses of Manhattan he can be found hiking or gardening in the Catskills with his wife and their Aussiedoodle Rufus.

Aaron Sparrow is currently in his thirteenth year of teaching, all at Baruch College Campus High School. Prior to embarking on his teaching career, Mr. Sparrow worked as a research assistant at two Washington, D.C. public policy think tanks, and attended graduate school in economics at Princeton, from which he holds a master’s degree. Although he did not complete his dissertation, he did co-captain the men’s ultimate frisbee team, landing a spot at Nationals for the 2000 season. (Indeed, Mr. Sparrow’s frisbee playing may be suspiciously related to his failure to complete his dissertation.) He also discovered a passion for teaching through his work as a graduate teaching assistant in several undergraduate economics classes. After a year of soul-searching on the West Coast, Mr. Sparrow returned to his native New York City with a renewed sense of purpose as a high school social studies teacher. At Baruch, he has taught every social studies class other than U.S. History. He currently teaches seniors Government & Economics and AP Comparative Government & Politics, and has a sophomore advisory. He is committed to helping young people better understand their world and their own roles, rights and responsibilities within it. Mr. Sparrow lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Rachel, and their 9-year-old son, Reuben. Their beloved dog Suki passed away last summer, but they continue to sleep with her bed close by.

Michael King decided to pursue a career in teaching after an 18 year career on Wall Street, working as a Foreign Exchange trader and a hedge fund portfolio manager. His love of history and children led him to make a switch to a more rewarding career in 2014, when he joined the Baruch team. For the first two years at Baruch, he taught 9th grade Global Studies, moving in 2016 to his current role teaching 11th grade US History and AP US History. Additionally, he teaches advisory and co-heads the NHS with Ms. Feld. Mr King holds a BA in both Finance and International Business, as well as a minor in theology from Georgetown University and a MA in Social Studies education from Molloy College. Mr King strongly believes that students must be taught how to think critically for themselves, as well as have their preconceived notions challenged. In our current polarized political world, it is more imperative than ever that students learn there are two sides to every argument and that it is possible to criticize an idea that one disagrees with, without assailing the person who holds it. Mr King lives on Long Island with his children Ryan, 11, and Anna, 9, as well as his lovely wife Lori, a marathon open water swimmer.

Lara Hovsepian discovered her love for teaching while living abroad in Beirut, Lebanon after college. There, she taught English to displaced Palestinian and Syrian refugee youth. In spite of the challenges her young students faced, Lara was inspired by their steadfast courage and thirst for knowledge. Lara’s experience in Beirut enabled her to understand the emancipatory potential of education in the lives of young people. Upon returning to the U.S., she received her MA in Social Studies Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Baruch community as the 9th grade Global History teacher. Lara is deeply committed to social justice both inside and outside of the classroom. She strives to inspire students to use history as a tool for understanding and improving our world today. Lara lives in Manhattan with her incredibly supportive husband, Glen, who is currently finishing up law school.