Spreading optimism across the world
JOHNSTOWN — Dr. Brandon Beck of Westchester County thinks everyone — literally every human being walking the face of the Earth — has untapped potential.
And the 2000 Johnstown High School graduate hopes his new book that’s currently climbing up the Amazon charts helps them realize that. Mixed with stories of famous people and personal anecdotes, the publication is catching people’s attention.
“I try to cast as wide a net net as possible,” the 39-year-old Beck says.
In December, the Sleepy Hollow teacher published his first book — “Unlocking Unlimited Potential.” Beck is currently a fifth grade dual language English teacher for the Ossining Union Free School District. He is also a professor at Manhattanville College’s Foundation of Bilingual Education.
He comes from good education stock himself — both of his parents, Ron Beck of Johnstown and Carolyn Beck of Pleasantville — each taught more than 30 years for the Greater Johnstown School District.
The Johnstown district Board of Education in January publicly recognized the publication of ” “Unlocking Unlimited Potential” during the “congratulations and celebrations” portion of its meeting.
Superintendent William Crankshaw held up a copy of the book, noting that Brandon Beck is a “nationally, board-certified teacher.” He said that Beck — a student of his, a national trainer and a “fantastic singer” — wants both students and teachers alike to believe in themselves.
“We’re just very proud of Brandon as an alumni,” said Crankshaw.
Ron Beck, a current Johnstown Board of Education member, said his son had ADHD growing up and could be the “poster child” of a successful person achieving so much despite that disorder. He said his son wrote a “phenomenal book,” a pageturner of sorts that has much to offer the public. It was suggested he might want to speak to local educators.
“He would love to talk to the teachers,” Ron Beck said. “It’s really unleashing the potential of students and teachers.”
But mother Carolyn, who has read the book several times, says “Unlocking Unlimited Potential” is not just for types in a scholarly setting. She said it applies to everyone.
“I really enjoy his book,” she said. “It’s a combination of motivation, insight and methodology.”
Following graduation from JHS, Brandon Beck received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry. He received his Master of Science in teaching literacy birth to sixth from the same college. He received his Ed.D doctorate in educational leadership from Manhattanville College in Purchase.
Beck, a longtime soccer coach, has worked for the Ossining district and in the Bronx, and has a wealth of experience as a trainer and consultant. He has made presentations to Yale University, been involved in various professional development settings and has traveled the world.
He said his book — “Unlocking Unlimited Potential” — was released on Dec. 22 and is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as Codebreaker Inc. in Canada. He said the book grew out of his defense of his discertation in May 2017 at Manhattanville College. His discertation was on the influence of professional development on teaching and the English language.
“I wanted to turn some of this into a book,” Beck said. “I discerned a lot about self-efficacy.”
Beck said his writings and his presentations made him realize a lot about himself and the experiences inspired him to grow. He said the concept of the book is that inside all of us, as educators and human beings, is an untapped reservoir in which a person can learn to “harness and control” positive thoughts.
“It spreads like wildfire,” Beck said of human potential.
Beck has not only published a book, but also has a Podcast, “Unlock Unlimited Potential Stories,” as well as a YouTube channel with inspiring stories through a blog and videos.
“Everything kind of spun off of COVID,” he said of his original inspiration.
Beck said he had thought about writing his works for about three years, but COVID-19 provided more alone time to crystalize his thoughts. Through Twitter, he was able to communicate his thoughts to others even further and found a publisher who took notice.
He said his book has already enjoyed “hot new release: status from Amazon, and is aiming toward the Amazon bestseller list. .
“I’ve done a couple book clubs,” he said.
Beck’s story is one in which his parents are proud of him, but he is also proud of his parents. He said they were “amazing teachers.”
“I continue the family business,” he said.
Beck said his book takes the reader through various inspirational stories from himself to Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, to UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. He said he tried to simplify the verbiage and make his book fun.
“It’s an enjoyable read,” he said.
Beck and his wife, Stephanie, have three daughters — Lyla, 10; Mave, seven; and Gemma, three-months-old.