Stephanie Hardinger

Aspire Teacher Residency Bay Area at Alder GSE

Mentor, Cohort 2018–2019
School: Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School
Residents: Antonn Lee, Jimmy Aguilar
Years as a mentor: Two

What is your hometown? Burnsville, Minnesota

What college(s) did you attend? Cornell University

What degree(s) did you earn? BA in Sociology and Spanish Literature

What inspired you to teach? When I was in high school, my best friend confided in me that she was undocumented. I grew up in the suburbs in the Midwest, loved school, and considered myself to be decently smart, but through really getting to know and understand the realities that my friend and her family faced, I came to realize that I actually knew very little about the world. My schooling experiences up until that point had not given me the knowledge or tools to make sense of realities different from my own or to advocate for change in the world. Now part of what energizes me most as a teacher is guiding my students to know themselves, each other, and our community more deeply so that they can be agents of change.

What inspired you to be a mentor for the Alder Teacher Residency Program? I decided to join ATR as a mentor because I wanted to grow my capacity for leadership and coaching other teachers without having to leave the classroom. ATR provides excellent support to Mentor Teachers and I feel really fortunate to be a part of the program.