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Meet the CityScience Staff: Alfonso Perez
CityScience depends on its talented coaches to provide the support and resources necessary to improve the quality of science education in our partnership schools. Alfonso Perez is CityScience’s newest coach for our longtime partner, New Design Middle School (NDMS)—but he’s far from new to education.
“I knew I wanted to teach right after I graduated from college,” said Alfonso. “I started taking graduate courses in library and information sciences, but I quickly realized that I wanted to be in the classroom. Soon after, I was accepted into the NYC Teaching Fellows Program and began teaching bilingual (English/Spanish) and ESL classes.”
As a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Alfonso has always been passionate about bilingual education because of his own experiences learning English as a second language. But after 11 years of teaching in a traditional classroom setting, Alfonso was finally ready to grow in new ways as a STEM educator.
“One of my former colleagues, Liz Castelli, has worked at CityScience for the past three years, and she recommended that I apply for a coaching job with the organization,” Alfonso said. “I remember checking out CityScience’s website, reading the mission statement and core beliefs, and thinking, ‘Yes, this sounds just like my own teaching philosophy!’”
Now, Alfonso collaborates with NDMS principal, Francesca Pisa, to define goals and lead professional development workshops for the school’s science department. In addition, he works directly with NDMS science teachers Sam D’Angelo, Mark Lee, and Salvador Campos, to help them improve their practice.
“Being a CityScience coach is truly an amazing experience,” said Alfonso. “Similar to teaching, my ultimate goal is to improve student outcomes and experiences in STEM classrooms. However, as an instructional coach, I’m now more focused on meeting the different needs of the teachers that serve these students. I enjoy listening to the teachers, discussing challenges and solutions, and helping them uncover their strengths and skills.”
All of this requires a lot of behind-the-scenes planning, organizing, and communicating, and yet this isn’t all that Alfonso does for CityScience.
“Aside from being a CityScience STEM coach, I’m also developing and teaching a robotics class for an afterschool program,” Alfonso said. “Once a week, I get a chance to help middle-school students design, build, and program their own robots. It’s an incredibly fun and rewarding experience that reminds me how much I love STEM education!”
If you’re interested in learning more about CityScience staff members—or joining our team!—please check out our Staff page.
If you think you can't learn and have fun at the same time, then I don't think you have a good understanding of either.Randy Pausch