In 1986, shortly after his mother passed away, Bernard began his teaching career at Public School 40 in Jamaica, New York. Two years later, he transferred to Boys and Girls High School (BGHS), where he taught English and computer literacy. After several years as a high school teacher and a brief attempt to start a computer consulting business, he returned to teach at Intermediate School (IS) 59 in Springfield Gardens, New York. While teaching at IS 59, he completed his second master’s degree in education administration and supervision at Baruch College. Shortly after, he became an assistant principal at Junior High School 192 in St. Albans, New York. Six months later, in 1994, he transferred to Far Rockaway High School to become the first African American assistant principal of pupil personnel services.
In April 1997, Bernard was assigned and later appointed to be the first African American principal at Beach Channel High School (BCHS). After his first year at BCHS, he was the recipient of the New York State Title I Distinguished Educator Award. In 2001, the Queens Borough President’s African American Advisory Council selected him as Queens Educator of the Year. He also received an award for Educator of the Year from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in that same year.
In July 2003, Bernard was assigned as the senior superintendent for Alternative Schools and Programs in New York City. He was also selected as a Revson Fellow at Columbia University in that same year.
In June, 2005, Bernard resigned and authored his first book, Reflections of an Urban High School Principal. In 2007, Bernard began doctoral studies at Columbia University’s Teachers College, where he earned his third master’s degree.
In 2009, he answered the call and returned to BGHS as the principal to “continue to fight the good fight for children.” Bernard resigned as principal in 2014 to complete his doctoral studies. Bernard earned his doctorate in Education Leadership from Columbia University in 2015. He is currently an author, child advocate, and educator.
Bernard’s most cherished role is being the father of a wonderful and inspirational daughter, Atiya.