Faculty Friday: Ramón Nicosia

Each school year, the faculty at Nichols School provide tremendous guidance and encouragement to help their students learn and grow. Our faculty members are empowered to craft the curriculum as they see fit, to make learning relevant and rewarding for every child.
The Faculty Friday series shines the spotlight on the outstanding teachers of Nichols School, digs into the work they do to support our students and our community, and showcases a different side of these familiar faces.
This summer, Ramón Nicosia returned to Buffalo after more than two decades in Miami for school and work. He is beginning his first year at Nichols as history teacher and Assistant Dean of Students for the Upper School. He talks about his background as a teacher, his experience as a student at private schools in Buffalo, and what he’s excited to discover at Nichols and across Western New York this year.
How long have you taught prior to joining Nichols School?
Almost 18 years.
How did you discover you wanted to teach history?
Of all the subjects I studied throughout my own school-aged years, history, the various humanities courses, and English were the subject areas that really dominated my attention, but especially history. I was also very lucky to consistently have wonderful teachers in those subject areas. 

What excites you most about joining Nichols and taking on the role of Assistant Dean of Students in the Upper School?
Well, I am very excited to be at Nichols first and foremost. Given my professional background in teaching and school administration, any area that the leadership of Nichols feels that my professional experiences could be of service to the students and families, I am more than happy to serve. Something that I am looking forward to is getting to know the students and their families. 

What was your experience like growing up attending private schools in Buffalo?
That’s a great question! I had a great childhood in Western New York, and a large part of that has to do directly with the education that my parents were able to provide. From St. Mark’s to Canisius High School, to Canisius College, I will never take for granted those opportunities. I feel really fortunate. 

As someone who has studied history, a large aspect of the teaching trade-craft lays in storytelling. I think as educators we are all storytellers to a certain extent, and history has proven a great vehicle for me in that regard.
Are there any aspects of that private school experience that stick with you today?
Of course…too many to list in fact! What stands out is the formation aspect of things, and not just within academics. 
Within the Jesuit schools I have attended, as well as the Jesuit school I served in Miami, that formation piece is an integral part of the experience for every student. It comes down to meeting the student where they are and being certain to really form the entire person; academically, health-wise (on and off the playing fields), and their spirit. This is something that Nichols also does very well, and there is tremendous amount of room for scaffolding to take place between my background in education and the excellent experiences Nichols provides.
What parts of Buffalo are you most excited to rediscover this year?
All of it! I have been back in the area for roughly a month, and there is so much to reconnect with and re-discover, and all manner of new things in the area that I need to catch-up on.  Looking forward to the autumn and doing a lot of outdoor activities throughout the region.
I will always cherish my South Florida experiences, the different climate was great, and it forced me to engage with the outdoors in a different way. I am excited to be back in Western New York and excited for this next chapter of life.
Why do you enjoy teaching?
Generating positive student learning outcomes, first and foremost. I really love what I teach and I love the tradecraft of teaching. I love the action that a school environment provides and what I mean by that is a school campus is engaging and it’s alive. There are always a dozen or more things going on. 
What gives me energy is the energy the students come in with, and the energy that comes from the team spirit of working with great faculty and staff. Nichols seems to have it all.
What do you like most about Nichols School so far?
The people, and I apply this in equal measure to the full faculty and staff, the leadership of the school, and the students. What a great community! Without people, a school is just a building. I think everyone experienced this feeling, to varying degrees, during the height of the pandemic. The amazing humans on campus give a school life. Everyone couldn’t be nicer, and the experience thus far has exceeded all expectations.