On Tuesday, December 7th, Brian Marrero walked through the doors of Jamesville-DeWitt High School for the first time — or at least for the first time without needing a “visitor” pass. On this day, he began the career of Hall Monitor at J-DHS, a new employment opportunity instated by administrators to strengthen safety protocols at J-D. Students were initially skeptical of the position, but quickly warmed up to Marrero after meeting him.
Raised in New Jersey, just a few hours outside of New York City, Marrero has always cheered on NYC’s sports teams, from the Knicks to the Yankees. Sports consume the majority of his time, whether playing or watching them. When he was younger, Marrero played football and basketball, even winning a High School State Championship and participating in multiple pro-league teams for the latter. Even today, every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 11:45 p.m., Marrero can be found entirely occupied by a marathon of sports games on his television.
“I love sports because sports build character,” says Marrero.
Marrero is also a fan of history. Marrero is fascinated by social studies, specifically when it comes to the history of the United States, especially World War II. In Marrero’s high school days, when he wasn’t playing sports or socializing with his friends — who were the “jocks” and, of course, the “cool kids” — he diligently studied history, absorbing every piece of information that he could get his hands on.
When it comes to safety, no one has a better background than Marrero. He started in retail security, beginning as a store detective and then moving up to become an investigator at a corporate level. Before retiring on August 21 from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, Marrero served as a law enforcement officer, primarily policing inmates in jail. He is familiar with the school environment in the sense that he, too, was an educator as an instructor at a police academy and regional academy, specifically for officers interested in serving in justice centers and penitentiaries. Marrero also spent six years in the Coast Guard and three years in the Air National Guard.
Connections continue to run strong throughout J-DHS, even in this case. Marrero first heard about the opening of the Hall Monitor position from Language Department Chair and Spanish teacher Maria DeJesus, who he has been friends with for many years. “There was no reason not to want the job,” says Marrero, who had no hesitation in applying for the position. After completing this application, Marrero interviewed with a team of administrators — Principal Gasparini, Assistant Principal Nylen, and Assistant Principal Johnson — and ultimately was hired.
“Looking at it from the law enforcement side, if I can come in here and shape a young mind so that they might not end up in jail, then that’s what I am going to do,” says Marrero. Marrero, who is 64 years old, maintains his youth by surrounding himself with young people. Marrero looks forward to interacting with students and building new relationships with them. He says with passion visible in his eyes, “If I am able to lift someone’s spirit, make their day easier, give them some good advice, lead them in a right direction — that’s what’s important.”
With his experience serving in justice centers, Marrero knows that this world can be a bad place, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to change it. “Children are our most precious resource, the only way that our world is going to change is that we have to instill that in [children, they are] the future,” Marrero adds.
Marrero is extremely grateful for the opportunity to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of this position, and even dip into other ones. He says, “I just want students to know that I appreciate being here, and that I’m accessible. If you need me for something or want to talk about something, you can come to me.”