Nik White

Aspire Teacher Residency Bay Area at Alder GSE

Mentor, Cohort 2018–2019
School: Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy
Residents: Jonathan Orellana, Vitalis Obidi
Years as a mentor: Two

What is your hometown? San Antonio, Texas

What college(s) did you attend? San Francisco State University and University of the Pacific

What degree(s) did you earn? BA in Education and Ethnic Studies, MA in Curriculum and Instruction

What inspired you to teach? I have always wanted to work in a social justice field, and during my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to work as a correctional officer in a penitentiary in Texas. One conversation that stood out was with an inmate who told me that if I wanted to do some good, it wasn’t going to be in jail. It would be working with youths.

The conversation really resonated with me and at the same time I saw a quote by Frederick Douglass that said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Thinking back to my own experiences, I didn’t really have many male or black teachers growing up in San Antonio, Texas. Then I thought about the positive role models, like coaches and camp counselors, and the impact they had on me. I’m just trying to have the same impact on my students.

What inspired you to be a mentor for the Alder Teacher Residency Program? For me, being a mentor serves two purposes: First, it allows me to hold a critical lens to my practice by reflecting on the instructional, behavioral, and cultural moves I employ and either defend or adjust them as necessary. Secondly, as an alumnus of ATR Cohort II, I believe that ATR and Alder GSE are the best teacher prep programs in the country because of the training and mentorship that residents receive from Day One. Quality teachers are in short supply and I’m inspired to change that narrative for the youths we serve at Aspire Public Schools.