Humans of UCHS

Photo and interview by: Daniela Alvarez Class of 2020

Q: Did you always envision yourself becoming a Dean?

A: Yes and no.  I always wanted to work in a school either in the main office or teaching.  Teaching was my primary goal but, my first experience with real life education I quickly realized that I didn’t want to be in the classroom. I wanted to impact more more students than just the 100 I would teach in a day,  Being in the classroom made me felt kinda like trapped in a sense where you only see kids for 57 minutes

Q: What parts of your job do you wish you could change?

A: I wish kids understood how much I cared.  I don’t know if my words always carry the weight that I want them to, so the part of my job I wish I can change is having a better or more effective response to things I deal with on a daily basis, other than violations, phone calls, sitting in a office. I wish there was a more effective response to some of the things we as Deans deal with

Q: What do you want students to take away from having you as a Dean?

A: For me, this is like my life’s work.  My life motto is “enter to learn, depart to serve”. This work is my rebellion to everything that happens outside of this building, so if students understood that, I think it would help in a lot of conversations and quell a lot of tensions and backlash that we get, as teachers and staff members, from students.  Sometimes these conversations come across as we just want you to do the things because we are the adult. It’s not necessarily the case for me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I approach this work as all students are family to a degree because we share so many connections.

Q: What does it feel like working with majority white people being a black man?

A: Firstly, representation matters. Having a staff that is majority non-people of color is not a priority for me be successful at my job. But for our students and nation wide, there is a dire lack of educators of color. With that thought, I sometimes compare my time in public schools in Brooklyn to that of the students I work for. I think of all the amenities and opportunities afforded to them that never seemed to be a thought more than a decade ago. The educational landscape is changing, and while I am grateful to see so many students reap these benefits, there’s a slight resentment to these newfound resources. As much as I champion representation, I see beyond the politics of it all. I think back to James Baldwin, who I quote in my email signature. “For these are all our children. We all shall profit by or pay for what they become.” This can not be more true than for those in the education field. I am on the side of anyone who carries these same sentiments for these children from these Brooklyn neighborhoods.

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