Manager of the Month: Garcia Says He’s Waited 8 Years for Award

November 8, 2017

Culture, News

Photo by Bobbi Jo Pennington — Edward Garcia has been at The ASK Academy for eight years, since the school’s existence.

Compiled by Bobbi Jo Pennington

Edward Garcia, who teaches U.S. History and Government and Economics at ASK Academy, has been a manager since the first day the school opened its doors eight years ago. He has a passion for history and politics, and refuses to comment on whether he coerced his scholars into voting for him for Manager of the Month. Check out his interview with The Catalyst.

Did you expect to be November’s Manager of the Month?

Every month I wait for the announcement of the winner of Manager of the Month, and every month I am left devastated with my defeat.  In staff meetings there used to be an award given, if I remember correctly it was called Employee of the Month, and I never won that, either.  That Employee of the Month award lasted for about a year, and after most people won it twice, I just learned to accept the darkness of defeat.  This victory though, was such a surprise, and I want to thank to the scholars who overcame the intimidation and found the courage to vote for me.  It is about time.

Why do you think scholars voted for you?

Who knows?  I am Manager of the Month, though, and no one can take it from me.  November will be great month for all who voted for me.  The month-long celebration will begin when this is posted!

At what point in your life did you decide to become a teacher? How did it happen?

When I was in high school I thought about being a teacher.  In college, I decided on criminal justice as my major because I wanted to work in law enforcement. In my junior year in college I changed my major to history and began working on a minor in education.  At the time I did not complete the minor at Hofstra. When I graduated, I moved to New Mexico and found work in retail and later banking. I hated banking so much though, that I decided to go to CNM and complete the requirements to get my teaching license. Funny how it works out, not only did I get my teaching license at CNM, I met one of my very best friends, Ms. Del Curto, in the program.

What do you teach and why?

I teach 11th grade History and 12th grade Government/Economics.  I have always had a passion for history and politics.  

What kind of student were you in high school?

I was an average student at best. I was really good at the subjects I loved, like history, and I survived math and science.

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

The best teacher I ever had was Vince Leogrande, who taught 12th grade English. He taught me how to think, ask quality questions, and research. For my entire life, though, my parents have had a huge influence on me. My father teaches me every day how to be a good father and friend.  My mother, on a daily basis is my biggest fan and her support plays a large role in any success I have.

What is the hardest part about teaching high school?

The Project Manager meetings are difficult.  No offense to those that plan these wonderful meetings, though.  Good stuff.

What do you like most about teaching?

On most days, the scholars are what I like most about the job. When that fails, I always have the summer to look forward to.

What do you dislike the most about teaching?

One thing I dislike most is seeing some of the struggles my students have to deal with in their personal lives or the classroom.  School is hard enough, add in the addition of social media and the stress that comes with it — I wish scholars would have a better experience.  High School is such a limited amount of time in your life.  I want to do everything possible so that they can enjoy it more.

What makes ASK scholars different than other students?

I have only taught at ASK, so it is hard for me to compare. One thing I noticed is that most scholars work to create an inclusive environment so that all students feel included.

You are the only teacher that has been around since the opening of ASK eight years ago, back when the school’s campus was in a church. Tell us what ASK was like that first year.

It is hard to believe how far we have come!  Nothing like going to meetings as a first year teacher and finding out there will be a delay of the opening of the school year! You begin to worry if any kids will ever show up.

Our first home in the church was something else.  With no learning spaces I taught in a big open room with three other classes going on at the same time. It was insane. We survived though. In that environment you learn many things quickly, to say the least. The Academy has achieved things I could never have imagined, though, and I am lucky to have been here since day one.

What makes ASK different than other schools?

The people that work in this building are special.  The commitment I see every day from our staff, the genuine care and concern for our students is something special.  Education can be pretty boring.  To see the things going on in spaces, Mrs. Vasquez and her great art projects, Mrs. Lemons and her dedication to making PE and health engaging, Ms. Shimada and her tireless commitment to getting our seniors ready for college, or Ms. Wright, and her dedication to the early intervention process; no one in this building just goes through the motions. That is what makes ASK special.

What are your hobbies?

I love the New York Mets and Notre Dame Football.  If I have hobbies, that would be it.  My kids take up all of my time.

Tell us about your family.

I am married and I have 2 wonderful boys, Michael and Aiden.

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

One of the most profound experiences from this year so far was the profiling project we did in Government.  Great to see scholars engage in the lesson and see what it felt like to be profiled.

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

My only advice to scholars is to not care what others think about you. Good or bad, everything is only temporary. Also, take a minute and appreciate everything going on around you. You never know, one day you could win a prestigious award like this.




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