Jarrod Sockwell, Paraprofessional from UFT
* P256@PS43, Queens
Jarrod Sockwell often had a receiving line at his table in the cafeteria at P256@PS43, a District 75 school in Far Rockaway, Queens, where he worked as a paraprofessional in grades 6-8.
“He was a magnet for forgotten students,” recalled Jennifer Monaghan, the teacher he worked closely with this year. “They’re in crisis a lot of times, but he had a rapport with them, especially with nonverbal students.”
Jarrod, 38, died on April 2.
Among colleagues at the school where he spent all 15 years of his career, the memories and tears have been overflowing for the 6-foot-3 man with an even bigger heart, affectionately called the “Gentle Giant.”
“His voice and demeanor and gestures with the kids were always gentle and kind,” Monaghan said. “I never saw him lose his temper.”
She recalled a video of Jarrod with a boy who was mostly nonverbal. “He could say a few words, and he absolutely loved Jarrod,” she said. “They did a dance together and made sounds together.” The school sent the video to the boy’s mother, who recently shared it at an online celebration of Jarrod’s life. “It was one of the most heart-wrenching things,” Monaghan said. “They were singing and jumping around together.”
Jarrod and Monaghan were a special team in their 8-1-1 classroom. He had played football at Nazareth Regional HS in Brooklyn and was an assistant coach there for the past four seasons. Monaghan played Division 1 basketball in college. “We had sports in common,” she said.
Jarrod earned a master’s in sports administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, where he was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
“Jarrod was highly intelligent. He was like having another teacher in the room,” Monaghan said. “And he had the best laugh ever, almost a Santa Claus, ho-ho-ho kind of laugh, joyful and contagious. You wanted to know what he was laughing about.”
For Chapter Leader Hans Marryshow, the loss is deeply personal.
Jarrod grew up next door to the Marryshow family in the Prospect Heights-Lefferts neighborhood of Brooklyn and hung out with Marryshow’s son. “It was a magnificent block, an Ozzie-and-Harriet type of block,” Marryshow said. “If one was doing something, he invited the other. Jarrod was in and out of the house. He was like a son to me. He called me Pop.”
Jarrod wanted to become a New York City Teaching Fellow, an alternate route to certification. “In our last conversation, he was ready to go forward toward teaching,” Marryshow said. “He is an inspiration.”
He also planned to marry next year. Colleagues celebrated his engagement with a school party on Valentine’s Day.
“Watching his kids graduate was such a big deal for him,” said his fiancée, Tamara Desrosiers. “He was so proud to see their development. And he touched so many people in his life.” That included Desrosiers’ 9-year-old daughter. “Anytime I couldn’t be there, he was there for her. They had a great relationship,” Desrosiers said.
In addition to his fiancée, Jarrod is survived by his brothers, Alphonso Jr. and Scott.
Teacher Erin McMahon said Jarrod “was dearly loved by all of us. He made everyone feel like family.”
She has started a fundraiser: Fundraiser by ERIN MCMAHON : The Life of Jarrod Sockwell