October Manager of the Month Says he Enjoys Teaching ‘Outside the Box’

October 3, 2017



Photo by Bobbi Jo Pennington — Chris Castilleja talks with students in his World History class on Monday. He was voted Manager of the Month in October.

By Bobbi Jo Pennington

Chris Castilleja is brand new to The ASK Academy and has already won the first Manager of the Month award for this school year. He said his 33 years of being a pastor helped him transition smoothly into teaching, and he is excited to be able to teach World History and Spanish to ASK scholars. Check out The Catalyst interview with Castilleja below.

Did you expect to be manager of the month and how did you feel?

No. As a new employee, I never even knew there was such a thing. Is there really such a thing? Everyone else is so much better than I am.

Why do you think scholars voted for you?

I think they had temporary brain damage — perhaps they studied too hard to for an exam or something?

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching pretty much all my life, in one way or another. I have only just started working on becoming fully licensed this year.

Tell us about the subjects you teach

I was initially hired to teach Spanish. When I  was a”principal-ed” in my former life, I also taught a few sections of Spanish; that’s when I started. Then they asked if I would teach World History as well, so I said, “Yeah, sure, you betcha.” Ms. Pink is helping me a lot!

What kind of student were you in high school?

I was a total geek teen. I pretty much got good grades all the time, but only because my parents threatened my life if I came home with a “C.” Can any of you relate? LOL!

Who were the teachers or people who influenced you in your life?

I had a great U.S. History teacher in high school — she was funny, smart, easy to test for, and she was hot! HAHAHAHAHA!

What do you like most about teaching?

I love seeing young people learn and grow. So fun!

What do you dislike the most about teaching?

The red tape the state makes you go through to get licensed…YUCK!!!!

What makes ASK scholars different than other students?

Most of the scholars are more committed to learning and doing well; that makes my job SOOO much easier!

What makes ASK different than other schools?

I think ASK is able to do more because they want us to “think outside the box” and challenge the scholars to be all they can be — so great!

What are your hobbies?

I love playing ROOK, Netflix binge watching, singing,  and playing racquetball. I hope to take up golfing now that I live in a more temperate climate — I came from freaking Minnesota!!!

Tell us what you do when you are not teaching.

I spend a lot of time reading and listening to music. I get to be the dad to the two most awesome young ladies on the planet. My daughters are so great and we love just being together. We totally jam in the car and sing at the tops of our lungs all the time.  We also binge on Psyche and Royal Pains. LOVE IT!!! And I just got remarried to an amazing woman who loves me for just me. Great listener, great sense of humor and an incredible soprano–wow–she’s so good!

What has been the most profound experience you have had teaching this year?

That is WAY too heavy a question to ask at this point in the year. Profound? I guess that I was elected as M of the M, crazy! Ms. Headrick is so much better than me! All the other managers are so much better than me! Yikes! (Except for Mr. Barbour maybe. Hahaha, JK!)  

What piece of advice would you give to scholars based on your experience?

It  is really important to always do/give your best. Settling for short-cuts and the easy way out really makes life harder when you’re older. You get used to being lazy and getting away with stuff and it all catches up with you eventually, especially as an adult. Character — who are you when no one else is looking — that’s huge! Do your best, give your best, be your best!


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