Leading Tomorrow’s Leaders

Social Studies Teacher and Student Council Advisor Mr. Jeffrey Kusniez wins a top state award for his work



Mr. Jeffrey Kusniez receiving his 2016 Linda Greb High School Advisor of the Year award for his work with Student Council.

Mr. Jeffrey Kusniez is arguably one of the most dedicated teachers at BASH.

He teaches three time-consuming classes: Concurrent Enrollment Government,  AP U.S. History, and Honors World History, putting in “maybe 50 to 60 hours” a week by his estimate.

He also spends about 10 more hours each week working as the adviser of Student Council (the group that plans mini-THON, assemblies, Homecoming Week, Wish Week, and takes a trip to the state Student Council conference every year).

His pay for the hours spent on Student Council comes out to “like a dollar and a quarter an hour”, he said.

But, for him, it’s not about the money.

“It’s the experience,” he said. “You’re having fun with your job and you’re enjoying what you’re doing.”

That passion and connection to his students is what led to him winning the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils’ 2016 Linda Greb High School Advisor of the Year award. He was chosen from advisors nominated from 13 different student council regional districts around the state. He received the award at the state conference at Deer Lakes High School in Cheswick in November.

Student Council President Senior Cecelia Howald said she went through all the work of nominating Mr. Kusniez — including writing a recommendation and recording different events over a year’s time — because of the way he develops students.

“He goes above and beyond to make sure that we grow as leaders and learn from mistakes and get better as we grow,” she said. Also, “he puts up with us, and that’s a lot to put up with.”

Another Student Council member, Junior Owen Carroll, says Mr. Kusniez was the perfect candidate.

“He is always willing to devote his time to help our student council events succeed,” he said.

So, where does all Mr. Kusniez’s dedication to BASH come from?

He did attend as a student, graduating in 1994. However, he said he was not involved in student council.

“I did TSA, something called JSA, which is like Model YN or Youth and Government, like we have now. And that was it,” he said.

The school was good, he said, but  “like a lot of students, I definitely didn’t appreciate it when I was here as a student.”

And, like a lot of students, coming back to Boyertown was the last thing he thought he’d ever do. But when he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a teaching degree (he also has a Masters from Alvernia University), BASH gave him the best job offer. That was in 2001.

“I couldn’t refuse it, and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

In addition to all he does for BASH, Mr. Kusniez is also the father of a newborn baby, and a 4-year-old daughter.

“My family is wonderful,” he said. “I couldn’t do a fraction of what I do without my wife’s help.”

He also is able to juggle all his duties because of how much support he gets from student council students.

“I have a great set of student leaders and they run everything,” he said. “You say that I run it, but I don’t. They do. I just oversee it and make sure they are being ethical, moral, and following the school rules.”

Owen definitely feels Mr. Kusniez has taught him to lead in his own way.

“Mr. Kusniez gives us the freedom to create new events and improve previous events,” he said.

Seeing students develop as leaders is why he does what he does, Mr. Kusniez said.

“I get to influence a lot of young leaders and watch them grow and evolve and as a teacher,” he said. “That’s what you’re supposed to be doing.”