Comerford: Nonnewaug’s Belinsky Masters Many Roles


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Agriscience director Ed Belinsky, center, stands with FFA students at the Connecticut state capital. (Woodbury FFA)

Kevin Comerford, Ag/FFA Reporter

WOODBURY — His role has changed many times, but he continues to succeed in his teaching career.

Ed Belinsky originally joined the Nonnewaug faculty as an agricultural mechanics instructor, and since then Belinsky has also been a quick study to become NHS’ incumbent veterinary science teacher, an experienced natural resources teacher, and the program’s agriscience director. 

I taught mechanics for 11 years here at Nonnewaug,” Belisnky said, “and the class material is definitely close to my heart. I had fun every day working with students in the shop and watching students learn by doing was very rewarding.”

Regardless of the course he is teaching, one constant remains across all of Belinsky’s classes: his positive impact on the lives of his students. 

“Mr. B was an exceptional teacher when I had him,” says Alex Gibbons, a junior in ag mechanics. “I didn’t have him for too long, but he was genuinely a nice man and a good teacher with the way he taught my freshman class mechanics.” 

A View from Inside Belinsky’s Classroom

Speaking from experience, Belinsky is a very informative teacher with knowledge that sets him apart from the rest. During our freshman year of high school, when we were all required to take a mechanics class, we were fortunate enough to have had Belinsky. He taught us how to drive tractors, operate vehicles with both safety and efficiency, weld, and work on small engines.

“I think I have adapted pretty well,” says Belinsky, “especially since it is very rare in the state of Connecticut for an ag teacher to have taught so many different subject areas.”

Ed Belinsky’s talents as an instructor largely stem from his ability to communicate clearly and inspire his students. (Woodbury FFA)

There’s no question, the stark differences between teaching courses like veterinary science, agricultural mechanics, and natural resources management couldn’t be any more pronounced. Despite the learning curve, Belinsky continues to inspire kids, all while serving as the program’s director since 2019.  

“Mr. B was kind of learning alongside us in a way,” says Vicky Koether, a junior vet science student. “He always found a way to teach the class even though it’s not really the subject he normally teaches.”

Belinsky said he originally most comfortable with the content of natural resources since his background is in that area.

 “Interestingly, natural resources was a subject that I had the most knowledge of,” says Belinsky. “My undergraduate degree from UConn was in natural resource management and I have worked as a forester, wetland scientist, and biologist.” 

Despite Belinsky’s impressive credentials, he only had the chance to teach natural resources at Nonnewaug for one year in 2022, and while he enjoyed doing it, he instead needed to fill the role as program director and veterinary science instructor. 

Currently, Andrew Zielinski is teaching the ag mechanics program, and he’s taken Belinsky’s former position for the last four years. 

“My position as agriscience director is very time intensive and restricts the amount of classes I am able to teach each day,” Belinsky said while addressing the many responsibilities he has as program director. “My responsibilities include interviewing and enrolling new students, accessing grants for expansion, budgeting, hiring and running the program as a whole.”

Although Belinsky has been teaching a lot of different classes, and has played a big role in the Woodbury FFA, he still has a place in his heart for the mechanics course at Nonnewaug. 

“I would love to teach mechanics again someday,” says Belinsky.

While Belinsky may not be teaching mechanics anymore, it’s irrefutable that he’s welding together something equally as special: a department that continues to accumulate accolade’s and national recognition.

This is the opinion of Kevin Comerford, an ag/FFA reporter for the Chief Advocate.