State and City of Residence:
High School English Language Arts Teacher
Why do you work in education?
I am an educator because I am passionate about my students and their future. Ever since I was a young man, I used to play teacher with my cousins. I discovered my future through my high school science teacher, T. Shawn McGrath, who saw the talent in me. Because of him and my passion, I pursued my educational path and became a teacher to be a supporter, mentor, innovator, and guidance to ALL my students.
Tell us about something that you have done in education that you feel has made or will make a big difference for your community?
Just this year, my students and I were asked to build the climate and culture of our school. In the past several years, our climate and culture among administration, staff, and students began to dwindle. Therefore, my students and I surveyed our school and community; we allowed students and staff to elevate their voice; and heard both the positive comments and their concerns. With this data, we established a campaign to rebuild our climate and culture. We implemented our plan and began to bridge the gap in steps. Even after only a few months of implementation, in small incremental steps, we are beginning to see some bridging occur.
What’s your favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow?
As an America Achieves fellow I have many great moments of learning and growth. I would say the overall best part of being a Fellow is the Personal Learning Network I have established and the discovery of being an empowered educator for my students and community.
If you could change just one thing about our current education system, what would it be?
If given the opportunity to make a change within our school system, I would strive to have the best professional development opportunities available for ALL educators nation-wide. And, when I say nation-wide, I mean making it available to ALL at no cost so that best effective practices are available to all schools from those in small rural areas to those in large metro areas. Also, building the profession so that ALL students have great teachers available to them.
What is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration has been my parents, Fred and Josie Rivera. They love and believe in me in all I do.
What is one fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
During my studies in India, I visited and experienced the Taj Mahal.
What’s the best thing a student ever said to you?
You are really passionate about being a teacher and you never give up on us. You really do care and are positive all the time.
What’s your dream vacation?
Visiting and experiencing the rich history and lands of Greece.