Mr. Timothy Regan works each and every day to improve special education at Eastern

Instructional Advisory Committee’s (IAC) initiated a new Random Acts of Recognition (RAR). The purpose of this recognition initiative is to highlight and recognize the contributions of one faculty and one staff member, from our learning community, each month, beginning April 2021.

Mr. Regan catches up on school work during his Expression 7 prep. To the special education teachers of tomorrow, he says to “stick with it, stay patient, and try to better yourself for the future.”

 Approximately 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome.

  The younger brother of special education teacher Mr. Tim Regan is one of those people. After graduating from Monmouth University, Mr. Regan was hired at Eastern as a special education teacher and sports coach. Fifteen years later, he hasn’t looked back.

  But what has his journey to the present day looked like, and what are his plans for the future? That’s what I found out over a Zoom call on a Wednesday afternoon in March.

  Mr. Regan, 38, grew up in Berlin, New Jersey, and attended Eastern as part of the Class of 2001. Both of his parents are also Eastern alumni and graduated together in the Class of 1974.

  A three-sport athlete for football, basketball, and baseball, Mr. Regan was a linebacker on the phenomenal 1999 football team, which featured superstar senior Adam Taliaferro and advanced to the state final at Rutgers University. 

  Mr. Regan still remembers the exhilarating atmosphere that accompanied the Vikings’ magical season.

  “It was definitely a very exciting season; we had packed houses. Our games were basically sold outstanding room, all the bleachers were filled,” he said.

  Some staff members from his high school days still remain at Eastern, including two of his football coaches, Mr. Worthington and Mr. Dawson.

  But after the field lights dimmed, Mr. Regan was faced with a tough decision: what’s next? He knew that he wanted to coach athletics, as well as teach. But after a conversation with Eastern superintendent Dr. Barry Galasso, his future came into focus.

  “When I left high school, I talked to our superintendent at the time Dr. Galasso, and he guided me to special education. At the time there weren’t a lot of male teachers in the field, and he said that it would be the best route to go. So, I took his advice and ran with it,” he said.

  Mr. Regan’s prior experience from living with his brother validated his decision, and after graduating from Eastern, he double-majored in elementary education and special education at Monmouth. Right out of college, he was hired at Eastern in the special education department, as well as on the sports field. He coached football for thirteen years, boys lacrosse for eight years, and has remained in special education.

  As a special education teacher, one of Mr. Regan’s main focuses is the Life Skills program. On-the-job training and independent living skills are provided for students with disabilities, who may need assistance with adapting to life after high school. Regan’s brother went through the program and was able to become successful as part of a community.

  Regan spends about half of his day in Life Skills, and the other half in general education classes such as Personal Finance, where he works as in-class support. But last year, he added an additional responsibility to his career at Eastern.

  Beginning last year, Mr. Regan became the site supervisor for activities and athletics. During the fall and spring, he works under Mr. Picot, the Director of Athletics and Activities, and helps out with various tasks. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of his responsibilities now deal with ensuring the safety of all athletes, coaches, and staff.

  “A lot of it is COVID-related now, so helping out with temperature checks at the front when everyone enters the building at 2:00 P.M, screening referees and umpires when they come in, getting vouchers set up and getting games started, and just helping out with whatever Mr. Picot needs throughout the day,” he said.

  Aside from his duties at Eastern, Regan’s personal life is also filled to the brim. Married for nine years, he lives in Marlton, New Jersey with his wife Lauren and their three children: six-year-old Annie, and four-year-old twins Beau and Faith.

  The kids’ active lifestyles take up a lot of their time, but Mr. Regan still enjoys his hobbies on the side. In addition to fishing and playing guitar, a certain golf-loving math teacher at Eastern has been helping him improve his game.

  “I just picked up golf recently, and I’ve been trying to get better. Mr. Brown is pretty good, and he’s been helping me a bit,” Regan said.

  While he’s been playing the short game in golf, Mr. Regan has been planning out his long game for life. In the coming years, he’s aspiring to become an administrator. However, he said that he’s hesitant about pursuing his dream, as he would “lose some of that direct connection with the students.”

  As of right now, he’s content with the state of his life and is working each and every day to improve special education at Eastern.

  For the field of special education as a whole, Mr. Regan knows that it’s not always trouble-free. Some people say that it’s easy to get burned out and exhausted, but instead, he emphasizes the importance of always improving and learning as a teacher.

  To the special education teachers of tomorrow, Mr. Regan said to “stick with it, stay patient, and try to better yourself for the future.”