I grew up in a suburban town on the south shore of Long Island dreaming of world travel and adventure. I absolutely loved taking trips into Manhattan. To me, Manhattan was the coolest place on Earth. I was awed by the enormity of the buildings, how they reached up into the sky, and how different they all were. I liked to study all their intricate details. It seemed no matter how long I looked at them I never stopped discovering new things about them. I found the fancy shops on 5th Avenue dazzling and it was exciting to look inside and see their fine clothes and jewelry on display. I loved the thrill of turning a corner and unexpectedly finding a small park, or a statue, or little neighborhood enclave distinct and different from everything else around it. I never dreamed as a little girl that I would one day live in Manhattan. Today I live in Inwood, the northern-most neighborhood in Manhattan. I love to hike and kayak, so Inwood is great place for me because it is a mix between city life and the great outdoors as anyone who has hiked through beautiful Inwood Hill Park would know. As a teacher I work to pass on my passion for exploration of both city habitats and the natural environment to my students.

My love affair with Manhattan led me to attend college here. I went the Fashion Institute of Technology where I studied merchandising and delved into the dramatic arts by joining the drama club and an improve group. I also began practicing yoga while attending F.I.T. as there is the Sivananda Yoga Center right around the corner. I won a full scholarship for academic achievement and landed a job working at the New York City spring and fall fashion shows in Bryant Park during Fashion Week. Being around all that glitz and glamour was great, but I realized that working in the fashion industry was not fulfilling enough. In search of what I truly wanted to do I went to Hunter College and took various liberal arts courses. When I realized that I enjoyed classes in the social sciences the most I decided to become a history major at Stony Brook University with a minor in education. While there I learned how much I liked academic life. I graduated magna cum laude with honors and won a research award for my undergraduate thesis on the link between the development of intellectual thought during the Progressive Era and the creation of the Marshall Plan. I also won two competitive paid internships with the NYC department of Education which gave me the opportunity to live in Brooklyn Heights and teach summer school at Jamaica High School and the Adam Clayton Powell School for Law and Social Justice, respectively. I began teaching middle school in Harlem in 2006 and currently I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Studies Education at the City College of New York.

Through working with many disadvantaged children (many of whom were in foster care or lived in shelters) I’ve learned much about the challenges we face as a society in providing a quality education for all students. Such a task is very difficult as it involves a myriad of factors and requires an intensely dedicated and enlightened community of adults working together to create a milieu in which young people feel alive, empowered and motivated. I believe that the key essentials to such a milieu is providing structure to student’s daily lives, providing clear expectations and guidelines, challenging their intellect, providing critical feedback and opportunities for students to reflect on their growth, as well as holding them accountable for their own intellectual and moral development. I believe we are all capable of genius or near to it if we choose this for ourselves and are willing to do the necessary work, but we must all have mentors and guides to help us get there.

I am very passionate about student learning. I believe kids can do a lot more than we often give them credit for. I think students should be given work that will deepen and expand their intellectual capabilities by means of sharpening their critical thinking skills and analytical abilities. I also think a strong focus should be put on writing and presentation so that students learn to fully articulate their ideas and arguments.

Teaching is a very fulfilling profession for me. It gives me an opportunity to share my gifts with others, to challenge and be challenged, and to build as well as be apart of a caring community of educators, students and parents. I am very excited and honored to be apart of the CSS team!

 

Favorite Quotes:

 

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” – Maya Angelou

 

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” – George Bernard Shaw

 

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mohandas Gandhi

 

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” – Mohandas Gandhi

 

kimterranova@columbiasecondary.org