Fleck takes up Simmons’ mantle


Ian Major

Kevin Fleck

JSC’s new learning specialist for students with disabilities is looking for people who could use his help.
Kevin Fleck is taking over this semester as the learning specialist in JSC’s academic support services. He replaces Richard Simmons, who retired last May.

As JSC’s learning specialist, Fleck works with students who have learning and physical disabilities, to help them get reasonable accommodations for classroom activities and their learning in the classroom.

“Basically, if a student has a diagnosed learning disability, or they have a need for an interpreter for someone with sign language needs, they would come to me and I would help them get the accommodation organized,” said Fleck.

Fleck said he hopes the students he sees have a great interaction with him and that he can help them attain the things they need to be successful. “I would also like to have other students who aren’t sure if they qualify for accommodations, or who might just be having trouble with some sort of learning disability, come in and see me as well,” said Fleck. “I want to be very open and ready to accept more students.”

Coming from Johnstown, Penn., Fleck received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, majoring in English literature and English education. Fleck then worked as a computer and English teacher at a small school in Johnstown.

“Throughout my time in Johnstown, I was also working on vocational rehabilitation with students who were blind and visually impaired at a summer camp,” said Fleck. “I kind of wanted to go back to school and help students transition from high school into college with disabilities.”

Fleck attended the University of Pittsburgh for his graduate studies, where he graduated in April with his M.A. in education and higher education management. “I started looking for jobs; my wife and I really loved New England so we decided to look for jobs in Vermont,” said Fleck. “We saw that JSC had a position open that helped students with learning differences and disabilities. We decided to go for that one and I got the job.”

Starting at JSC this past July, Fleck got married, went on a honeymoon and then moved to Vermont within two weeks’ time. “It was kind of hectic but I really like the JSC community. Everyone is very welcoming and I’ve already had a lot of good interactions with students, as well as staff and faculty, which goes to show how important student success is to all of us,” said Fleck.

Karen Madden, director of JSC’s academic support services, noted that when Fleck’s application showed up, she was delighted. After a Skype interview and an in-person interview with former JSC Academic Dean Dan Regan and JSC President Elaine Collins, they gave Madden the go-ahead to make Fleck an offer.

“He came to us with a lot of knowledge about disability services and working with students who were blind and visually impaired,” said Madden. “We have some visually impaired students here at JSC, so he was pretty confident and familiar with that aspect of things here.”

Madden noted the Fleck is in the process of learning how Johnson works, like any new employee anywhere. “He will be doing some mentoring for us so he will need to understand our advising system, so that’s the majority of what he has left to figure out,” said Madden. “Mainly all the stuff outside of disability services.”

During his spare time, Fleck likes to play guitar, bass guitar, the keyboard and the didgeridoo. He enjoys reading, and he and his wife like to refinish wood furniture.

Madden noted that Fleck is doing a great job already, and that he seems to be keeping up and meeting with students and doing well.

Fleck says that he is really happy to be here and he hopes to become more familiar with the campus and all of the people that make up JSC.