Mustang of the Month; Robert Converse, Josh Higby, John Hoke; November 2023

The PBIS Leadership Team is proud to announce our Mustang of the Month award recipients for the month of November. Congratulations to Robert Converse, Josh Higby and John Hoke Sr.! 

Our first Mustang of the Month is Robert Converse, a teacher at Mount Markham Elementary School.

A local to the area, Robert Converse grew up in Syracuse, NY and received his higher education at St. John Fisher University (formerly St. John Fisher College) in Rochester.

Converse’s favorite aspect of working at Mount Markham Elementary is the collaborative atmosphere and the open minds of his colleagues and administrators.

Converse credits much of his success to being a good team player, having a willingness to help others, and being kind to others.

 Outside of work, Robert Converse enjoys camping and spending time on the lake. Converse also enjoys spending time with his family, and he has four children and two grandchildren that he is “extremely proud” of.

 Our next Mustang of the Month is Josh Higby, a Social Studies teacher at Mount Markham Middle School.

 Josh Higby was born and raised in Lowville, NY, and he received his education at Utica University (formerly Utica College) for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 2004, Higby began teaching at Mount Markham Middle School while he was finishing his masters, and he has remained in the district ever since.

 A major cornerstone of Higby’s success is the positive relationships he builds with his students.

 “In order to inspire the students, you have to make connections with them,” Higby said. “The connections can be made by being actively involved in the students’ daily lives, asking questions and giving compliments when appropriate. The concept of building bridges with students increases the teacher's legitimacy and constructs an atmosphere that favors learning and growth.”

 Many of Higby’s students have noted his efforts to establish connections.

 “I believe that Mr. Higby should be recognized with the Mustang of The Month Award because he never failed to make learning fun and easy,” one student said. “He supported me through lots of tough times, and always has the best jokes! He totally deserves this award!”

 When he is not at work, Josh Higby enjoys spending time with his family.

 Our final Mustang of the Month is John Hoke Sr., a custodian at Mount Markham High School.

 John Hoke Sr. is a local to the area; he attended Waterville Central School, and all his children were educated in the Mount Markham Central School District. Several of his grandchildren are either currently attending school at or have graduated from Mount Markham Central School District. Before he came to Mount Markham High School, Hoke worked for many years as a truck driver.

 John Hoke Sr. likes everything about working at Mount Markham, and he enjoys the company of his coworkers and colleagues.

 Hoke’s coworkers appreciate his positive attitude and willingness to help.

 “Every afternoon when he comes in, he greets every person he sees with a smile and asks how they are doing,” a teacher at Mount Markham High School said. “He takes great pride in ensuring the building looks good and ensuring events go smoothly on his end, and we appreciate that!”

 Mount Markham High School Principal Victor Zampetti also noted Hoke’s diligent work ethic.

 “John is consistently going above and beyond to help keep the building in great shape,” Zampetti said. “He is always helpful when events are going on and is available to take care of anything.”

 John Hoke Sr. values making people happy and is often known to crack jokes to make people laugh, especially when they are having a bad or frustrating day.

 Hoke greatly enjoys working, and between his work at the high school and work around his home, it is rare to find him not working. However, in his downtime, John Hoke Sr. enjoys sitting around a campfire at night, and spending time with his wife, his children (Amanda, John Jr., Steven and Brittany) and his grandchildren.